When Should You Worry About Your Baby’s Poop?

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Poop abnormalities

You may need to worry about your baby's poop when it is abnormal in terms of consistency, color, quantity and other factors.

You may need to worry about your baby’s poop when it is abnormal in terms of consistency, color, quantity and other factors.

You may need to worry about your baby’s poop when it is abnormal in terms of

  • Consistency: Watery or very hard (normal stool is semi-solid).
  • Color: A blackish stool or greenish stool or reddish stool with or without mucous (normal stool is yellowish).
  • Quantity: Too much or too little.
  • Presence of worms in stool, presence of a foreign body in stool, frothy stools, etc.
  • Baby passes lots of gas and yet seems uncomfortable.

Watery stool

  • Suggestive of diarrhea
  • Passed frequently and sometimes explosively
  • Diarrhea usually caused by viruses
  • You should be worried and see a doctor because it may cause dehydration in your baby

Hard and dry stool (such as rabbit pellets) and blood in stool

  • It is suggestive of constipation.
  • Kids with constipation will have difficulty passing small, hard and dry stool.
  • Alternatively, they may be hard and large in volume.
  • Baby will be uncomfortable with passing these stools.
  • If you notice blood streaks, it may be a sign of an anal fissure or a little cut in the baby’s bum from trying to push out the hard stool.
  • If your baby is constipated, it is good to consult a doctor.
  • A bloody stool can also have dark- or bright-colored traces of blood. The color of the blood can indicate the type of issue. Therefore, any time you see blood in your baby’s stool, get it checked immediately.

Very pale baby stool

  • Pale stool indicates an improper liver because it is the bile pigment that colors the stool.
  • If your child’s stool is continuously very pale in color, it is wise to seek medical opinion.
  • Chalky, white stool is also considered abnormal and requires immediate medical care. It is usually associated with a liver or gall bladder problem and must be addressed promptly to prevent a medical emergency.
  • If you see this, do not delay visiting a pediatrician.

What does the baby’s poop color mean?

Poop colors may be a reference of the baby’s health.

Greenish black

  • Meconium poop happens for (usually) two to three days after birth.
  • It is tar-like and sticky and is made up of various things ingested such as mucus, skin cells and amniotic fluid.
  • Call your physician or clinic if it has not appeared 24 hours after birth.
  • After three to four days, it will become olive/khaki colored, indicating that the breast milk or formula is being properly digested.

Yellow/slightly green

  • Babies who are exclusively breastfed will have a yellowish-green poop, often described as mustard color.
  • It may have small seed-like pieces in it. It may also be very runny. It could become greener depending on your own diet.

Bright green

  • Bright green or algae-colored/textured poop may mean that the smaller baby is getting too much foremilk (the milk which comes at the beginning of a feed), meaning that the baby may need to spend more time on each breast to get to the more nutritious milk.

Peanut butter

  • Formula-fed babies usually produce peanut butter-colored poop.
  • It is usually tan-brown, yellow-brown or green-brown and is a bit smellier than breast milk poop.

Dark green

  • If you’re taking an iron supplement, it may occasionally make the baby’s poop turn dark green.
  • It could also be related to the ingestion of very green food.
  • If you aren’t taking a supplement and you don’t think the green is food-related, call your doctor.


  • Red is most often caused by foods such as beets, tomatoes or cherries or purple/red cold drinks.


  • When your baby is weaned off the breast/formula onto solids, the poop will be browner and smellier. It will be thicker but not solid yet.


  • If your baby’s poop has undigested food in it, it could mean that food is just going through the digestive system quickly or that parts of the food aren’t digestible.
  • You could see orange carrots, red beetroot and blue for blueberries.
  • It may also be that the baby isn’t chewing the food sufficiently. If this continues for a long period, then you may need to call a doctor.

Bad yellow-green-brown 

  • Diarrhea is the one thing parents dread.
  • It may be explosive and usually appears to be more water than solids. Call your doctor if you observe this in a baby less than three months old. 
  • It lasts for more than two to three diapers, has blood or mucus in it or lasts for more than 24 hours. If left untreated, diarrhea may lead to dehydration.

Streaks of red

  • If the poop is pebbly and dry in appearance and streaked with red, it could mean that the baby is constipated and that hard, dry stool is causing tiny tears on the skin of the anus. You should  call the doctor and give your baby lots of water, fruits such as prunes/apricots, grains and high-fiber veggies.

Chalky-grey or light yellow

  • Pale poop is often present in babies who drink a lot of cow’s milk or those given antacid medication.
  • Call a doctor, especially if it’s very stinky or fatty.

To summarize, you may need to take your baby to a doctor if your baby has

  • More than four stools per day.
  • Liquid, runny or watery stool.
  • Mucus in their stool.
  • Undigested food in their stool.
  • Stool that is explosive or overflows onto your baby’s back or neck.
  • Yellow, gold, tan, pale gray, black or green stool (dark mustard-colored stool is normal for breastfed infants).
  • Blood in their stool.
  • No stool passed for more than three days on a regular basis.
  • Hard, dry, pebble-like stool that appears painful or is difficult to pass.
  • Plugs of hard stool followed by explosive loose stool.
  • Unusually foul-smelling stool.


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Medically Reviewed on 3/25/2021


Medscape Medical Reference


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