The Complete Guide to Baby Poo

  • Parenting
  • January 18, 2022

The moment you have a little one in your arms, every little bit of that squishy, cherub becomes beautiful and fascinating - and we mean EVERY BIT! If there is one thing that will get new parents talking, it's baby poo. How often? What colour? Whilst baby poo may have completely grossed you out before becoming a parent, it will soon become your go-to indicator on how bub is feeding and their health and wellbeing. We spoke to our resident midwife and baby guru, Erin Gregory, to get her view on poo!

 

Baby’s First Poo
There are many firsts for a baby, poo included! The first poo your baby excretes is called meconium and it’s made from skin cells, mucus, lanugo hairs and other particles bub swallowed whilst in the womb. Meconium looks black, has a super sticky consistency and doesn’t smell. As a guide for the first few days of your baby’s poo, you can expect:

  • Day 1 - Black sticky poo

  • Day 2 - Soft green or black poo

  • Day 3 - Greenish brown and less sticky poo

  • Day 4 - Lighter greenish brown poo

  • Day 5 - Mostly mustard orange/yellow soft or watery poo (this presumes that they have worked with their mum to create a breastmilk supply).

To clean this first poo from your bub’s toosh, biodegradable Pure Water Wipes are great and will ensure your newborn’s delicate skin is protected.

tooshies Tip: Your baby’s first breastmilk, Colostrum, has a laxative effect, so keep a spare nappy and wipes on hand when changing your little one. Simply lifting their little legs to change their nappy puts pressure on their abdomen to keep the flow of meconium coming. For some, this flow of poo may resemble a soft serve ice cream machine!

 

Regular Baby Poo
With the meconium out of your baby’s system, their poo won't differ so dramatically day to day, however it will vary greatly depending on whether bub is breastfed or formula-fed.

 

Breastfed Babies

Breastfed babies:
If you’re breastfeeding bub, you can expect their poo during their first few months to look a little like mustard!

  • Colour: Breastfed babies often have yellow-orange poo, but it can sometimes appear green. Like adults, the poo colour may also change depending on the food consumed by the breastfeeding mother. For example, if Mum eats green vegetables, you might see a green tint to bub’s poo!
  • Consistency: will be quite soft and slightly runny. Possibly with whitish, seed-like fat particles.
  • Smell: can be quite sweet! Some people describe their breastfed bub’s poo as smelling like lollies, whilst one tooshie’s Mum described her bub’s poo as smelling like a cheeseburger! The smell is not offensive…yet!
  • Frequency: You might see anything between 2 and 5 poos a day, up until bub is around 6 weeks old. From here, a breastfed baby might sometimes go several days between poos. This is due to their digestive system being able to process breast milk more efficiently, leaving little solid waste to be excreted. After 6 weeks your baby may do fewer poos every day, as the natural laxative in colostrum is no longer present in baby’s milk.

 

Formula-fed Babies

Formula-fed babies:
Babies fed by formula typically have poo that’s firmer and not as runny as that of a breastfed baby. It can however vary a lot in colour and consistency, transitioning to a yellow/green quickly.

  • Colour: can be darker yellow/tan or shades of brown.
  • Consistency: a paste-like consistency, that’s firmer than that of a breastfed baby
  • Smell: Sourish poo smell
  • Frequency: Formula-fed babies are likely to poo less frequently than that of a breastfed bub. It’s not out of the ordinary for a formula-fed bub to go a day or two without pooing.

Note: Changing from one formula to another can lead to changes in the appearance, consistency and the smell of your baby’s poo. This is completely normal!

 

Babies on Solids

Babies on solids:
When you start to introduce your baby to solids, typically around 6 months of age, bub’s poo will immediately begin to change in colour, consistency, and the smell will quickly transition from inoffensive to the real deal! Depending on your method of introducing solids (that is, traditional puree feeding versus baby led weaning), and the changes to bub’s milk intake, poo will vary greatly from bub to bub.

  • Colour: Babies on solids will have poo that’s darker, and more brown in colour.
  • Consistency: becomes firmer. If you’ve adopted baby led weaning, there may be nappies with little bits of undigested solids, like the skin of peas. This is normal, as your baby’s digestive system is still developing and getting the hang of new foods.
  • Smell: With extra fats and sugars in bub’s diet, the introduction of solids is when you’ll notice a stronger stench to bub’s poo.
  • Frequency: For some babies, starting solids means pooing more frequently. This is again due to their immature digestion system, learning how to process solid food more efficiently. As bubs gets used to solids, you’ll find them settle into their regular pooing rhythm.

 

Baby Poo Colours:
From the mustardy hues of breastmilk poo, to the yellow-tan of formula-fed poo and other shades of yellow, brown, and even green, it’s not until you become a parent that you’re exposed to the palette of baby poo! All of these colours are normal and a result of baby's milk intake and their digestion (Did bub eat some spinach at lunch? That will explain the green poo!).

There are however certain colours that may be a sign of a possible health issue. We recommend checking in with your Maternal Child Health Nurse, Midwife or GP if your baby’s poo is:

  • Traces of red in your bub’s poo could be due to the presence of blood, so best to check in with your Health Professional. It may only be that a newborn swallowed a little blood during delivery, or that the blood from the cracked nipples of a breastfeeding Mumma has mingled with breastmilk. Some foods, like beetroot, may also colour bub’s poo.
  • Black poo can be caused by blood, which may turn from red to black inside the intestines over time. Very dark green poo, or meconium, is nothing to worry about.
  • White or grey. Pale white or grey poo is very rare, but can be a sign of a liver condition. If you notice white or grey poo, it’s best to see your Healthcare Professional immediately.

tooshies Tip: We like to remember normal poo colours as being all the tones of mother earth - yellow through green and brown!

 

Poo Problems

Constipation
Constipation is when a baby's poo is hard, dry and looks like little pebbles, or when doing poo seems to cause pain and discomfort. Constipation is rare in breastfed bubs, and more likely to occur in formula-fed babies if their bottle hasn't been mixed properly or doesn't have enough water.

Babies might also get constipated when they start solid food, however this normally sorts itself out in a few weeks, and is best helped by offering bub water with their meals.

We recommend seeing your Maternal Child Health Nurse if:

  • In a newborn baby: poo is firm and occurring less than once a day
  • In an older baby or toddler: Hard, compact or pebble like poo that only comes every 3 or 4 days.
  • Children of any age:
    • Large, hard, and dry poo that is painful to pass.
    • Strains for more than 10 minutes without passing any poo
    • There's blood present.

Diarrhoea
Diarrhoea is when your baby does very runny or watery poo more often than usual. There can be many causes of diarrhoea, including changes in the mother’s diet or medications (for breastfed bub), milk allergy or intolerance and certain formula ingredients. If your baby is vomiting as well, it might be a sign they have a gut infection, and it’s important to see your GP immediately to ensure your baby doesn’t get dehydrated.

Pale poo
If a baby with jaundice also has pale yellow, white or grey poo, you’ll need to see your GP immediately as this can be a sign of a rare liver disease. Take photos or even a sample of your baby’s poo with you, so the GP can determine whether a blood test is required for diagnosis.

We hope our Complete Guide to Baby Poo has provided some insight and reassurance on what’s going on inside that nappy! Just remember that all babies are different! It won’t be long until you settle into your routine of feed, poo, sleep, repeat. Now, get back to enjoying that cute little bub, before the next nappy change comes around!

Team tooshies