Breastfed Baby Poop: What Does It Look Like?

The contents of your breastfed baby's diaper give you clues about their health. Here’s your guide to color, consistency, and how often breastfed babies poop.

mother changing diaper
Photo: Garnet Photo/Shutterstock

Thanks to never-ending diaper changes, parents get an up-close look at their newborn baby's poop. The color, consistency, and frequency of stool can cue you into your baby's health and well-being. Plus, if you're breastfeeding, the appearance of the poop lets you know if your baby is consuming enough milk. Here's everything you need to know about breastfed baby poop.

Meconium: Your Baby's First Poop

If you don't know what to expect, your baby's first poop can look pretty scary. "During the first few days, baby has dark green stools, which is the meconium coming out," says Linda Folden Palmer, D.C., author of Baby Poop: What Your Pediatrician May Not Tell You. Meconium contains everything your infant ingested in the womb, including amniotic fluid, water, mucus, bile, and skin cells. It often looks like greenish-black tar or motor oil.

Normal Breastfed Baby Poop

As your baby digests breast milk, their poop will become looser and lighter, turning from green-black to army green. Within three to five days, it will take on the normal breastfed baby poop appearance. "It's going to be mustardy color and seedy in texture — usually on the liquidy side," says Dr. Palmer. It may resemble yellow diarrhea, and it will also take on a sweet scent.

But don't panic if your breastfed baby's poop looks slightly different; it can take on a variety of colors and textures. "Some exclusively breastfed babies have a more peanut buttery color to their stool, but it's still considered healthy," says Dr. Palmer.

Green Poop in a Breastfed Baby

Breastfed babies can sometimes have green poop from iron supplements, food that their nursing parent ate, stomach illness, or an intolerance to something in the parent's diet — usually dairy, says Dr. Palmer. Insufficient milk intake may also trigger green poop; other symptoms include fussiness, infrequent stools, and excess hunger. Consult a lactation consultant or your OB-GYN if you think your baby isn't getting enough breast milk.

Another cause of green poop is a foremilk hindmilk imbalance (lactose overload). "Sometimes a baby nurses a little at a time, and [they] end up getting mostly foremilk, which is high in sugar lactose and won't get digested quickly enough. This can cause gassiness and green stool that can be frothy," says Dr. Palmer. Ensuring your baby drinks hindmilk (the fatty milk that comes at the end of a nursing session) can solve the issue.

Other Colors and Textures in Breastfed Baby Poop

As your baby starts eating solid foods, their poop will become brown and smelly, resembling adult stool. Look out for breastfed baby poop that's red or black in color. Sometimes stool can take on a red tinge if the baby ingests blood from a parent's cracked nipple. Red foods like beets could also be the culprit. However, it's important to visit a doctor, since black-red poop may also be caused by illness or gastrointestinal injury.

How Often Should a Breastfed Baby Poop?

As a general guideline, expect your breastfed newborn to poop after almost every feeding, usually five-12 times per day. After a few weeks, however, baby poop frequency will dwindle to three-four times per day. Babies older than 6 weeks may poop even less often — maybe even once a week. There's usually no need to worry as long as the color and consistency is normal, ensuring your newborn has enough to eat.

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