Baby Poop Healthy vs Not Healthy

February 23, 2022

Joe D Staff

father changing diaper

As a parent to a newborn, there is a lot you can worry about. And it doesn’t help that newborn poop comes in all different colors, textures and smells — and you might experience all of them in just one day. All these different looks in your child’s diaper can have you worried that your baby is sick. Fortunately, most of these odd-looking poops are perfectly healthy.

Read more about the different kinds of poop your baby may experience, and what is considered healthy vs. not healthy.

Healthy: Black or Dark Green and Tarry

The first time you change your newborn’s poopy diaper, you might be shocked to see oily, black ooze. Even though it looks a bit alarming, it’s actually normal.

Your baby’s first poops are called meconium. It’s made up of all the things your baby drank while in the womb, like mucus, amniotic fluid and bile. As your baby begins to drink breastmilk or formula, they’ll flush out the meconium, and their poop will start looking different.

Healthy: All Shades of Yellow

Whether your baby is breastfed or formula-fed, they’ll likely produce poop that is some shade of yellow, like yellow-tan or yellow-green. However, breastfed babies will have seedy, liquidy poops that might remind you of mustard, while formula-fed babies have thicker poops that are more the texture of peanut butter.

Possibly Unhealthy: Red

Sometimes, a little bit of red in your child’s poop is normal, such as if they recently ate beets or if they swallowed blood from cracked nipples while breastfeeding. But streaks of red or pink blood in your child’s poop could be a concern.

While you don’t need to panic, calling your pediatrician's office might be a good idea if you see red in their poop. Food allergies might be causing blood in your baby’s stool.

Unhealthy: White or Gray

White baby poop is very rare. It can be a sign that your child has a liver problem, so you should call your pediatrician if your child has white poop.

Unhealthy: Black and Thick

Black meconium poops are normal for your child’s first week of life. But if these poops continue for longer or your child’s poop appears black later, it might mean they have bleeding in their intestines. You should call your doctor about any black poops after their first week of life.

Unhealthy: Different Than Usual

You know more about your baby than anyone — including what their poop normally looks like. If you notice changes in your child’s poop, it might mean they are sick.

If their poop is suddenly much more watery than usual or much harder than normal, talk to your baby's pediatrician about these changes to find out what might be going on.

At Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, our expert pediatric gastroenterologists can help determine the cause of unhealthy baby poops and give your child the treatment they need.