During their first six months of life, your baby's poop can change quite a bit. A baby poop chart with colors, textures, and smells can help you understand what's normal and what's not normal when it comes to your infant's dirty diapers.
What Infant Poop Should Look and Smell Like
It can be difficult for parents to know what's normal and what's not when it comes to baby poop because diet and age play an important role in stool composition. While it is possible to understand your baby's stools without seeing a doctor, Dr. Becky Dixon, a pediatric hospitalist from Riley Children's Health, says "If you have questions, please contact your child's primary care provider."
What Typical Infant Stools Are Like
If your baby's poopy diapers contain these kinds of stool, your baby is probably pretty healthy.
- Meconium (days 1 to 5): During the first five days of life a baby's initial stool is called meconium which has a dark green to black color, very sticky consistency, and no smell.
- Transitional stool (day 3 and later): After your baby's first ever poop, their stool is called transitional stool which is brownish, not very sticky, and still has no smell.
- Breast-fed fully transitioned stool (day 5 and later): Beyond day 5 of life baby's poop becomes a yellow color with an applesauce consistency that "appears to have mustard seeds." It's very sticky with various smells.
- Formula-fed fully transitioned stool (day 5 and later): Beyond day 5 of life, baby's poop becomes a brownish-yellow color that otherwise looks and smells the same as breast-fed fully transitioned stool.
What Concerning Infant Stools Are Like
If you're wondering what color poop is bad for babies, there are three concerning colors. You might also be concerned about your baby's effort to poop and Dr. Dixon shares that "Infants do normally make noises and sometimes become red-faced when they are stooling."
- White, red, or black stool (after transitional stool is noticed) can be "indicators or poor liver/gallbladder function or blockage or blood in stool," says Dr. Dixon.
- Fully formed stools are not normal in infants, their poop should always be pasty.
- Watery stools "most often indicate infection" shares Dr. Dixon, but could also indicate malabsorption.
- Pellet-like stools is an indicator of constipation in an infant.
Infant Stools That Require Immediate Medical Attention
If your infant's poop is bright red or black (after their initial meconium), you should seek immediate medical attention. "Either of these colors in the stool indicate blood in the intestinal tract." says Dr. Dixon.
Baby Poop Chart
A baby poop chart with colors, textures, and smells can serve as a quick reference when you're not sure if your baby's poop is normal. Keep the chart handy on your phone or you can print out the image and hang it near your diaper changing station as a reference for you or babysitters.
Stools in Older Babies
"As children become 6 months and older and add different foods to their diet, their stool can change consistency, color, and smell," says Dr. Dixon. Once infants hit the milestone of eating more than just breastmilk or formula, the variance of normal poop colors, textures, and smells grows exponentially depending on what they ingest. For example, shares Dr. Dixon, "Purple liquids (Pedialyte) will change poop to a green color, some medications (cefdinir) will change poop to a red/orange, and rapid processing of red foods can also make stool red." If you have concerns about your older baby's poop, consult your child's pediatrician.
Tips for Sharing Your Baby Poop Concerns
If you're worried about your baby's poop, gather as much information as you can while you wait to be seen or heard by a doctor. The more information you have ready, the faster they can come to a conclusion.
- Use a plastic spoon or knife to take a small sample of the concerning poop and keep in in an airtight jar labeled with your child's full name to bring with you.
- Take photos of your baby's dirty diaper for reference.
- Write down anything your child has ingested in the last 48 hours, or if you're breastfeeding, write down what you've ingested.
Become a Baby Poop Expert
As your baby's primary caregiver, you are their best resource for staying healthy. If your baby's poop doesn't match the typical poop colors, textures, and smells listed, consult with their pediatrician as soon as you can. Many doctor's offices have nurses that will call you back to answer your questions the same day you contacted them.