Stool color in newborns: where is the norm and where is the pathology?

Stool during breastfeeding is normal

Breastfed babies defecate differently - the amount and structure of their feces are constantly changing. Depending on the age of the baby, as well as other factors, corresponding patterns are identified, which are differentiated according to the following criteria:

  • Bowel frequency;
  • Consistency of feces;
  • Color and smell of stool;
  • Presence of impurities.

A significant proportion of changes occur in the period from the birth of the baby to the introduction of complementary foods. In the first days, the baby passes original feces - meconium, which has a viscous, tarry structure and black-green color. This substance accumulates in the baby's intestines while he is in the womb. Meconium is difficult to wash off due to its sticky, viscous consistency, which is explained by the fact that the baby swallows amniotic fluid.

It consists of the following components:

  • Amniotic fluid;
  • Bile;
  • Slime;
  • Gastrointestinal fluid.

After the newborn passes meconium, the baby will poop normal stool.

Important! If the original feces are not passed within the first 24 hours, this may indicate intestinal pathologies, for example, Hirschsprung's disease. In this condition, the peristalsis of part of the intestine is disrupted, resulting in difficulty in the movement and exit of feces.

The variable nature of infant feces is due to the following reasons:

  • Different composition of mother's milk throughout the entire lactation period;
  • Times of Day;
  • Diet;
  • Health of mother and child;
  • Psychological state of a nursing woman.

Over time, the baby’s digestive system adapts to new conditions, so the newborn’s stool becomes more constant and should soon return to completely normal. At the same time, the time of maturation of the gastrointestinal tract may be different in each individual case, yet it is quite possible to identify general patterns.

On a note. The main sign of health is not the characteristics of the baby’s bowel movements, but the baby’s well-being.

Since breast milk has a laxative effect, the stool of a newborn on breastfeeding softens and acquires a greenish tint. The stool becomes thinner than meconium.

On the fifth day after birth, the structure and color of feces resemble mustard or pea soup with a thick consistency. The norm during breastfeeding is also loose, green stool. Doctors often call this type of stool “hungry”, since it occurs when the baby drinks only low-fat fore milk, while the nutritious hind milk remains untouched.

Advice. To eliminate the problem of “hungry” stool, it is necessary to keep the baby on one breast longer within one “feeding session”.

Baby's stool may vary

Color of feces in a newborn

The stool of breastfed babies can be of different colors, in almost every case this will be the norm:

  • Bright yellow;
  • Orange;
  • Pale yellow;
  • Greenish;
  • Dark green;
  • Pale brown.

In this case, the first stool of a newborn (meconium) has a green-black color. Such stool is normal, which indicates the proper functioning of the baby’s digestive system.

Interesting. Most often, meconium is passed almost immediately, when the baby is still in the hospital. If the baby cannot empty the intestines during the first two days, the nurse stimulates peristalsis through massage.

The color of feces in infants changes from green to yellow-brown already 4-5 days after birth. The color of the first bowel movements is an important indicator of the child's adequate nutrition. On the third day, you can see that the color of the stool has become lighter (the baby is receiving the required amount of milk). If at 4-5 days the newborn is still pooping meconium, it is recommended to check the sufficiency of nutrition and, if necessary, improve the baby's diet.

On the seventh day, the baby's stool becomes liquid or pasty and has a mustard tint. There are also other “color” options: greenish, orange. Additionally, the stool may include white lumps and mucus. These manifestations are considered normal if the child feels well and gains weight steadily (according to WHO tables, at least 125 g per week).


The smell of baby poop

After the meconium is replaced by normal feces, the color of the stool will become yellow-green and the smell will be sour. The last fact speaks about the dairy type of nutrition. The degree of “acidity” can be different: in some cases more pronounced, in others less.

Important! If, in addition to a sour odor, the baby has foamy or watery stools, then there is reason to suspect lactase deficiency or dysbacteriosis.

Over the next few weeks, your stool will remain runny, greenish in color, and smell sour. When the baby is 2-3 months old, bowel movements will become less frequent and will take on different odors.

In subsequent months, a breastfed baby's stool will have a mustard-like color and consistency. There is no sharp unpleasant odor observed.

Interesting. To better understand the characteristics of the stool of children fed on breast milk, you can compare it with the character of the feces of artificial babies. In the latter, the stool is darker and denser and has a pungent odor.

In more detail, the color and smell of baby stool change as follows:

  1. The first 1-3 days. Meconium (dark, thick, odorless stool).
  2. 2-6 days. Transitional stage: gray or gray-green stool with a semi-liquid consistency.
  3. The color of the feces is yellow or mustard, the smell is sour. This means that the child is eating normally and gaining weight.
  4. The stool has a green tint and a sour milk smell. If the baby feels well, then there is no reason to worry. The formation of such a stool could be influenced by the foods that the mother ate. Another reason is that the soiled diaper was left in the open air for some time.

Parents need to worry when:

  1. The feces are yellow, brown or green in color and have a strong smell of sour milk. In this case, the consistency of stool is liquid and foamy. There is irritation around the anus. The child is gaining weight normally. Such symptoms indicate excessive consumption of foremilk. The solution is to change breasts less often during one feeding.
  2. The stool is yellow, green or brown in color and contains a large amount of mucus. The child feels well. This happens after the baby has had a cold. Another reason is that the baby is teething.
  3. The stool is dark brown and has a thick, soft consistency. May be associated with taking iron supplements or result from internal bleeding.
  4. Feces are yellow, green or brown in color, have a watery texture, and emit an unpleasant odor. At the same time, the baby does not gain or even loses body weight. The reason may be poisoning, an infectious disease, or an allergic reaction.
  5. Green, foamy stool comes out with a “pop,” emits a sharp sour odor, and the skin around the anus is irritated. The baby behaves restlessly and does not gain weight. This condition may be a consequence of lactase deficiency.
  6. The stool contains blood (may be bright or dark). Causes: intestinal bleeding, allergies, bacterial infections, hemorrhoids. Urgent consultation with a doctor is required.

Greenish, foamy stool may indicate lactase deficiency

Stool consistency

In the first few days, the baby passes thick, dark stool called meconium. Subsequently, the stool becomes semi-liquid yellow-green in color and resembles large mustard. Such properties are explained by the following reasons:

  • Regular consumption of breast milk, that is, liquid food (stool does not harden);
  • The child’s weak digestive system is not yet able to push through solid feces (that is, liquid nutrition for the baby in the first months of life is provided by nature itself). In addition, the baby's intestinal microflora has not yet formed, which also does not allow the child to eat solid food.

On a note. The structure of feces in a one-month-old baby varies from a mushy mass to stool with lumps. In the latter case, there is no need to worry, since the lumps are undigested particles of milk. Considering the fact that the baby’s intestines are not yet sufficiently developed, this phenomenon is quite normal.

At 2 months, the baby's stool becomes thicker and denser. In this case, there are practically no lumps. Such properties are maintained until the introduction of the first complementary foods.

What does a baby's normal stool look like?

Changes in the color of children's stool and its consistency depend on the age of the child and, above all, nutrition. A newborn's first stool (meconium) is composed of processed amniotic fluid, skin cells and bilirubin, and is dark green in color and thick in consistency.

The first days the color is affected by physiological jaundice - the stool will be greenish, as a rule, it goes away within the first seven days of life.

After a week, the color of the newborn's stool changes due to the main nutrition - breast milk or artificial formula. When switching to an artificial formula, the stool becomes thicker, which also happens when complementary foods are introduced. If a child eats broccoli, the stool becomes green, and after carrots it becomes yellow.

The acceptable standard is green, black, brown or mustard. Only red, indicating blood, is of concern, however, red color is possible after consumption of beets by a nursing mother or child.

An alarming sign is green stool with an unpleasant and pungent odor, which is accompanied by abdominal pain. Frequent loose stools accompanied by an increase in body temperature may indicate a rotavirus infection.

Signs of diarrhea in a baby

Loose stools in a breastfed baby

Frequent bowel movements (up to 6 times a day) in infants are considered normal. In the first 2 months, the baby may poop after each feeding. To understand that your baby has diarrhea, you need to pay attention to the following signs:

  • The stool is frequent and has a thinner consistency than usual (may look like water). It may contain foam;
  • Green tint, presence of mucus and reddish veins;
  • In addition to loose stools, the baby experiences weakness, nausea, vomiting, fever, and restless behavior;
  • If symptoms persist for more than a day, you should urgently consult a doctor, as loose stools provoke dehydration.

Stool of a breastfed newborn: normal, constipation, diarrhea


  • Many mothers, if the child does not go to the toilet once a day, begin to worry, worry, insert a gas tube into the anus, and try to somehow speed up the passage of feces. If your child is not bothered by this in any way, then no medications need to be taken.
  • Please note that the introduction of additional products, as well as when transferring a child from breastfeeding to formula, the nature of the stool changes. It will become darker in color, acquire a brown tint, and become thicker. The consistency will resemble toothpaste. In addition, clots and small streaks of not completely digested food may be observed.
  • What you give to eat greatly affects the stool character of children in their first year of life. That is, if you give carrots, the stool may take on an orange tint. Products such as dried fruits and vegetables, with dense fibers, may not be completely digested in the child’s intestines. Accordingly, you will find pieces of food in the excrement. This is the norm, so try to chop the products as much as possible or eliminate their use during complementary feeding.

What does the chair tell you?

What determines the color of stool

The color of feces is determined by a number of factors. These include:

  1. Type of feeding (artificial, natural, mixed).
  2. Availability of complementary foods.
  3. Taking medications.
  4. Diet of a nursing mother.
  5. Quality of milk digestion.
  6. Reaction to bilirubin.
  7. Presence of diseases.
  8. Dysbacteriosis.

Effect of age and nutrition

Green stool in a child - why greenish stool

In the first few days, the baby poops meconium. Starting from the third day and ending with a week, the baby develops semi-liquid feces of a gray-green hue. At this point, the stool takes on a faint smell of sour milk. In the second week, the stool becomes yellow, watery, and may contain particles of undigested milk and mucus. The smell of poop at the moment is lactic acid, more pronounced.

Some minor deviations should not be a cause for concern. In most cases, they will be determined by changes in the diet of the nursing mother. Another explanation is taking medications to treat already diagnosed diseases (antibiotics, iron supplements, activated carbon).

Frequency of bowel movements

Frequency of bowel movements of babies on breastfeeding:

  • Up to 10-15 times a day in the first month of life;
  • 2-5 times a day in the second to sixth month;
  • 1-2 times after six months;
  • 1 time per day in the second year of life.

On a note. For a baby who is gaining weight well, bowel movements after each feeding are normal. At the same time, the absence of stool for 2-5 days does not indicate constipation. If, in the presence of the above-mentioned signs, the baby experiences a deterioration in his health, then he should be urgently shown to a doctor.

Babies go to the toilet very often

Why does stool turn green?

Sometimes your baby's stool may turn bright green. Sudden changes in the color of feces in an infant can be caused by changes in the mother's diet if the baby is breastfed or mixed fed. For example, if a mother abuses sweet foods or foods with dyes.

Problems with digestion of food in a baby can occur if the mother does not allow him to drink so-called hind milk. Hind milk is the last portion of breast milk that the baby sucks when the breast is almost empty. Often mothers, guided by the desire to give the child the best, prefer to feed him with first milk. They believe that the first milk is easier for the baby to suck. Therefore, without completely releasing one breast, they offer the baby another. Thus, they deprive the baby of the necessary portion of hindmilk. It is in hind milk that enzymes are found that allow the baby to digest food. There are also many nutritional elements.

The baby should be fed only from one breast at one meal. You can give another breast only if there is no more milk in the first breast and the baby is hungry.

The reason for the appearance of green stool may be the mother taking medications, the presence of hormones in breast milk, and replacing the usual formula with a new one. The green color of feces may indicate dysbacteriosis in an infant. This is not a reason to worry, but at your appointment with the pediatrician you need to talk about the changes that have appeared. In any case, mom needs to balance her diet, give up sweet foods and foods with dyes.

Stool in the first month

Constipation in a baby while breastfeeding - what to do

At the age of 1-1.5 months, feces have a yellow-green tint and a semi-liquid consistency. The frequency of bowel movements can reach 10-15 times a day. Moreover, the volume of feces in each case is no more than one teaspoon. The smell of poop is sour and faint.

Yellow stool in a baby

Most often, in breastfed babies, the stool in the first months of life has a yellow, yellow-green or mustard tint. Often there are white specks in the stool.

Yellow stool can be either normal or a sign of pathology. A negative option confirms the presence of impurities in the stool that a healthy child should not have:

  1. White lumps. Indicates enzyme deficiency. This condition goes away on its own.
  2. Slime. Often occurs due to inflammation in the intestines.
  3. Foam. It can be a symptom of dysbacteriosis, and often occurs with colic. Another reason is intestinal infections.
  4. Splashes of blood. They talk about internal bleeding. Requires urgent medical attention.

Interesting topics

  • The health of a child largely depends on the correct lifestyle of his mother. Find out how dangerous smoking is while breastfeeding and what you can do to quit smoking faster.
  • While carrying and subsequently feeding a child, a woman faces many prohibitions. Some of them have no basis and relate more to superstition than to real life, while some, on the contrary, are very justified. Find out if you can dye your hair while breastfeeding.
  • Feeding a newborn is a very responsible matter. To prevent your baby from developing stomach problems, you need to do the first complementary foods correctly when breastfeeding.
  • It happens that a nursing mother gets sick. This is doubly unpleasant, because the medications she takes may end up in breast milk. In order not to harm the newborn, you need to know whether paracetamol can be used while breastfeeding.

Girls, did your newborn baby have any digestive problems? Tell us in your comments how you dealt with them.

Stool at 2 months

In a two-month-old baby, digestion is not fully established. At this time, stools are still quite frequent, retain the same color and acquire a denser structure. The sour smell becomes more noticeable. Sometimes the baby can endure it for several days, but mother should not worry about this. Similar changes (frequent - rare stools) are typical for this age.

Brown chair

Dark brownish stools may occur due to taking medications that contain iron. If this option is excluded, the child must be urgently shown to a doctor to determine the presence or absence of intestinal bleeding.

So, the stool of children who are fed breast milk is significantly different from the stool of bottle-fed babies. The color, consistency and frequency of bowel movements indicate the condition of the child and characterize the process of its development. At the same time, these features must be taken into account in conjunction with other signs (the baby’s well-being, weight gain, etc.). Only in this case the health assessment will be objective and reliable.

First days

Meconium is the baby's first stool, can be dark green or black, thick and odorless, consists of digested organic particles that the fetus swallowed while still in the mother's tummy.

The newborn is frightened by unfamiliar sensations inside the tummy, and the mother immediately breastfeeds him to calm him down. The child receives colostrum, which has a good laxative effect. As a result, the baby’s intestines are cleared of meconium and filled with beneficial microflora, thanks to the valuable immune and nutritional properties of colostrum.

All meconium is expelled by 2-3 days of life. If the baby is still passing meconium on the 4th or 5th day of life, this means that he is not receiving enough breast milk.

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