To begin, choose the stool below that looks most like your baby’s.

  • Greenish Black Sticky
  • Yellow Seedy
  • Tan Thick
  • Greenish Brown
  • Watery Brown
  • Dry Brown hard
  • Pinkish Red
  • Dark Green
  • Bright Green
  • Red Streaked
  • Black
  • Chalky White
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Greenish-black and sticky baby poop

AKA: Meconium

Looks like: Licorice or tar

A thick, dark substance that fills your infant’s intestines before birth, and is eliminated as stool after birth.

What does it mean?

Meconium stools are the first stools your baby will have after birth, and it is perfectly normal. It appears greenish-black because it contains bilirubin, a yellowish-green breakdown of red blood cells. The colostrum in your breast milk acts as a laxative and helps your baby pass the meconium in about three days.

What should I do?

There is no need to worry. This stool is normal, healthy, and temporary. (If it lasts more than three days, check with your doctor. He might want to check to make sure your baby is getting the feedings she needs to move this through her system.)

The information in this section was derived from the following:
Abbott Nutrition. Parents Guide to Infant Stools. March 2009.
McGrail A, Metland D, Murray L, et al. The BabyCenter Essential Guide to Your Baby's First Year. July 2007.
Nathanson LW. The Portable Pediatrician. September 2002.

Yellow and seedy baby poop

AKA: Breastfed-baby poop

Looks like: Yellow, curdled milk

Your breastfed baby's stools will look like this until you supplement with formula or begin feeding your baby solids.

What does it mean?

This stool is normal. Breastfed babies' poop has a mild smell (and might come with loud sound effects).

What should I do?

Don’t worry. Your baby's poop is standard. Breast milk has the ideal nutrients to help your baby stay healthy and grow strong.

The information in this section was derived from the following:
Abbott Nutrition. Parents Guide to Infant Stools. March 2009.
McGrail A, Metland D, Murray L, et al. The BabyCenter Essential Guide to Your Baby's First Year. July 2007.
Nathanson LW. The Portable Pediatrician. September 2002.

Tan and thick baby poop

AKA: Formula-fed-baby poop

Looks like: Hummus

This is the result of feeding your baby formula, either as her full diet or as a supplement to breast milk.

What does it mean?

Your baby's stools are normal. You should only be concerned if your baby's poop is watery or becomes hard (especially small hard balls of stool).

What should I do?

There is no need to worry. Your baby's stool is normal and healthy.

The information in this section was derived from the following:
Abbott Nutrition. Parents Guide to Infant Stools. March 2009.
McGrail A, Metland D, Murray L, et al. The BabyCenter Essential Guide to Your Baby's First Year. July 2007.
Nathanson LW. The Portable Pediatrician. September 2002.

Greenish-brown baby poop

AKA: Introduction-to-solids baby poop

Looks like: Leftover guacamole

A mix of table foods, this poop is normal.

What does it mean?

Greenish-brown poop is typical and normal when your baby starts eating solids, but you might see this color in your baby's diaper before then. If your baby has other symptoms that concern you, contact your healthcare professional.

What should I do?

Do not worry. This stool is normal and healthy.

The information in this section was derived from the following:
Abbott Nutrition. Parents Guide to Infant Stools. March 2009.
McGrail A, Metland D, Murray L, et al. The BabyCenter Essential Guide to Your Baby's First Year. July 2007.
Nathanson LW. The Portable Pediatrician. September 2002.

Frequent watery, brown, and loose baby poop that is not typical for your baby

AKA: Diarrhea

Looks like: Watery with chunks

Frequent, loud, and loose stools could be diarrhea.

What does it mean?

The occasional loose baby stool is no cause for alarm. But if it occurs regularly for two days or more, it could be diarrhea. Diarrhea in babies can cause dehydration, and also might be a sign of infection. Usually these infections are not dangerous, but the dehydration that can result is a concern.

What should I do?

Call your healthcare provider if the problem persists for more than two days. The younger the baby, and the more frequent the diarrhea, the greater the concern for dehydration. Do not give your baby anti-diarrhea medication unless advised by your healthcare professional. Your healthcare provider might advise giving your baby an oral electrolyte solution, such as Pedialyte®, to help prevent dehydration.

Contact your health care professional right away if you see:

  • Blood or mucus in stools
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Irritability
  • Refusal to eat
  • Decreased or dark-colored urine
  • Decreased activity

The information in this section was derived from the following:
Abbott Nutrition. Parents Guide to Infant Stools. March 2009.
McGrail A, Metland D, Murray L, et al. The BabyCenter Essential Guide to Your Baby's First Year. July 2007.
Nathanson LW. The Portable Pediatrician. September 2002.

Dry, brown, and hard baby poop

AKA: Constipation

Looks like: Dirt, clay, or pebbles

Hard, pellet-like stools could mean your baby is constipated.

What does it mean?

Occasional constipation is normal, especially with formula-fed babies, and when your baby transitions to solid foods. It could be a sign that your baby is not getting enough fluid or that he is losing too much fluid from the heat, illness, or a fever. Occasional blood streaking on the surface of the stool can result when hard stools make tiny tears in the soft tissues around the anus.

What should I do?

In a very young baby, consult your healthcare professional, who might recommend giving your baby small amounts of extra water. Give older babies plenty of breast milk or formula to drink. If your baby is eating solids, offer foods that are higher in fiber, such as fruit, vegetables, and whole grains, and add puréed prunes to your baby's cereal. Check with your baby’s doctor about altering your baby's diet or using juices.

Contact your health care professional right away if you see:

  • Blood or mucus in stools
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Refusal to eat
  • Decreased or dark-colored urine
  • Decreased activity

The information in this section was derived from the following:
Abbott Nutrition. Parents Guide to Infant Stools. March 2009.
McGrail A, Metland D, Murray L, et al. The BabyCenter Essential Guide to Your Baby's First Year. July 2007.
Nathanson LW. The Portable Pediatrician. September 2002.

Pinkish-red baby poop

AKA: Artificially colored stools

Looks like: Partially digested food

What your baby eats comes out looking much the same as when it went in.

What does it mean?

Once your baby has started on solids, you will see bowel movements that can vary in color and texture after every meal. In addition to foods, some medications also can turn a baby’s poop unusual colors.

What should I do?

Watch what your baby eats to ensure there is a link between the color of the stool and what she is eating. Examples of foods known for turning baby poop shocking colors include carrots (orange) and spinach (green). If your baby’s stool is red for no apparent reason (no cherry Popsicle®, no Froot Loops® cereal or red gelatin), call your health care provider.

Contact your health care professional right away if you see:

  • Blood or mucus in stools
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Irritability
  • Refusal to eat
  • Decreased or dark-colored urine
  • Decreased activity

Popsicle® and Froot Loops® are not registered trademarks of Abbott Laboratories.

The information in this section was derived from the following:
Abbott Nutrition. Parents Guide to Infant Stools. March 2009.
McGrail A, Metland D, Murray L, et al. The BabyCenter Essential Guide to Your Baby's First Year. July 2007.
Nathanson LW. The Portable Pediatrician. September 2002.

Dark green baby poop

AKA: Iron supplementation

Looks like: Thick, dark stool

If your baby's stool is dark green, it could be the product of iron supplementation in your baby's diet.

What does it mean?

In some babies, the iron sulfate in a supplement or iron-fortified baby formula can make dark green stools, or sometimes even greenish-black. There is no need to be concerned with the color change, as it has no significance to your baby’s digestive system.

What should I do?

This stool is normal. Studies show that iron supplementation does not cause digestive problems or discomfort.

Contact your health care professional right away if you see:

  • Blood or mucus in stools
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Irritability
  • Refusal to eat
  • Decreased or dark-colored urine
  • Decreased activity

The information in this section was derived from the following:
Abbott Nutrition. Parents Guide to Infant Stools. March 2009.
McGrail A, Metland D, Murray L, et al. The BabyCenter Essential Guide to Your Baby's First Year. July 2007.
Nathanson LW. The Portable Pediatrician. September 2002.

Bright green baby poop

AKA: Foremilk/hindmilk imbalance

Looks like: Green, frothy poop

Breast-fed babies who get more foremilk than hindmilk sometimes have bright green baby poop.

What does it mean?

When your breastfed baby nurses for short periods of time on each breast, he might get more foremilk, which is sweeter and thinner, and less hindmilk, which is richer and fattier. Your baby might need to nurse longer on each side in order to ensure enough hindmilk is consumed during each feeding.
Sometimes a virus will turn your baby's stools bright green. If your baby is fussy and seems uncomfortable, contact your healthcare provider.

What should I do?

Try to let your baby empty the first breast before you switch to the other side.

Contact your health care professional right away if you see:

  • Blood or mucus in stools
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Irritability
  • Refusal to eat
  • Decreased or dark-colored urine
  • Decreased activity

The information in this section was derived from the following:
Abbott Nutrition. Parents Guide to Infant Stools. March 2009.
McGrail A, Metland D, Murray L, et al. The BabyCenter Essential Guide to Your Baby's First Year. July 2007.
Nathanson LW. The Portable Pediatrician. September 2002.

Red-streaked baby poop

AKA: Bloody stool

Looks like: A hard stool streaked with blood or mucus

Bright red blood on a baby stool could indicate that your baby has small tears, or rectal fissures, around the anus.

What does it mean?

Often the stools of constipated babies are streaked with red from rectal fissures, small cracks in the anus caused by pushing. You also might see streaks of mucus on the baby poop.

What should I do?

If your baby’s doctor confirms the bleeding is from a fissure, there is little cause for concern. Usually, once the constipation has resolved, the bleeding stops. If there is a large amount of blood (more than a few drops) or if the bleeding does not resolve with the softening of the stools, check with your doctor.

If you notice any of the following symptoms, call your health care professional right away:

  • Blood or mucus in stools
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Irritability
  • Refusal to eat
  • Decreased or dark-colored urine
  • Decreased activity

The information in this section was derived from the following:
Abbott Nutrition. Parents Guide to Infant Stools. March 2009.
McGrail A, Metland D, Murray L, et al. The BabyCenter Essential Guide to Your Baby's First Year. July 2007.
Nathanson LW. The Portable Pediatrician. September 2002.

Black baby poop

AKA: Melena

Looks like: Black, thick, or tarry stool

Melena is a thick black stool that could contain blood that entered in the upper GI tract.

What does it mean?

A black baby stool might contain blood that entered the intestines in the upper portion of the digestive system.

What should I do?

If it’s not meconium (which passes during the first few days of life), call your healthcare professional immediately.

If you notice any of the following symptoms, call your healthcare professional right away:

  • Blood or mucus in stools
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Irritability
  • Refusal to eat
  • Decreased or dark-colored urine
  • Decreased activity

The information in this section was derived from the following:
Abbott Nutrition. Parents Guide to Infant Stools. March 2009.
McGrail A, Metland D, Murray L, et al. The BabyCenter Essential Guide to Your Baby's First Year. July 2007.
Nathanson LW. The Portable Pediatrician. September 2002.

Chalky and white baby poop

AKA: Abnormal Stool

Looks like: Pale, colorless, or white stool

A chalky white baby stool could be a sign of a lack of bile, which normally turns a stool brown.

What does it mean?

A white stool might be a sign of a liver or gallbladder problem. Bile is a digestive fluid made in the liver and stored in the gallbladder. Your baby's stool gets its normal color from the bile as it is excreted during digestion. If your baby's liver doesn't produce bile, or if the bile is obstructed, his stool will be white.

What should I do?

A white stool is very rare, but if your baby's poop is white, call your health care professional right away.

If you notice any of the following symptoms, call your health care professional right away:

  • Blood or mucus in stools
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Irritability
  • Refusal to eat
  • Decreased or dark-colored urine
  • Decreased activity

The information in this section was derived from the following:
Abbott Nutrition. Parents Guide to Infant Stools. March 2009.
McGrail A, Metland D, Murray L, et al. The BabyCenter Essential Guide to Your Baby's First Year. July 2007.
Nathanson LW. The Portable Pediatrician. September 2002.

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