Why Does Baby’s Poop Change Colors? What Do the Colors Mean?
Poop, it’s a delicate topic and it’s one of those things that we’re often reluctant to discuss in the company of strangers. But a new baby is welcomed into the family; we suddenly lose all inhibition when it comes to discussing poop. Much to our surprise, we find ourselves in deep conversations with complete strangers about the current color and texture of our baby’s poop.
It is an important topic for all new parents because you can learn a lot about your baby’s digestive health just from looking at and smelling his poop.
Baby Poop Before Introducing Solid Foods
Up until the time your baby starts eating solid foods, her poops will be fairly regular (even if she only poops a few times a week) and uniform in appearance, texture, and smell. Breastfed babies often have poop that is naturally a bit runny or grainy with a smell that some say is sweet. You may have heard that the breastfed baby has poop that resembles a runny egg or looks like runny cottage cheese.
The color is often a slight greenish or pale yellow color. Formula fed babies typically have stronger smelling, thicker poop that may be gray to tan color. Whether you are breastfeeding or formula feeding, your baby’s poop will go through some dramatic changes once solid foods are introduced. Breastfed babies seem to have the biggest changes with smell being the most notable, while formula fed babies may have more subtle changes.
The Colors of Baby Poop After Starting Solid Foods
Baby’s poop not only changes in composition and fragrance, it often changes in color as well. The vast majority of these changes in color are benign changes and are due to the new solid foods that baby is being fed. Here’s a small rundown of the possible changes in color and the foods that may contribute to them:
Grey Poop: Blueberries – poop may turn a greyish color and may have small “flecks”. These flecks are most likely from blueberry skins.
“Worms” in Tan Poop: Blame it on the Bananas – poop may turn a dark tan-ish color and also have flecks in it. Some parents describe these flecks as “worms”. These little scary looking things in baby’s poop are really harmless. Have a really good look at a banana the next time you peel and mash it; do you see the little flecks of black/brown? Those little flecks are the long fibrous seed strings of the bananas.
Orange Bits or “Swirls”: Blame it on the Carrots – carrots may not affect a total color change; they may pass just as they went in! This can happen if you have made carrots a bit more chunky and/or thick but there is no cause for alarm. The next time you make carrots for your baby, try mashing or pureeing them to a smoother texture.
Green Poop: Veggies – sometimes babies can have greenish poop that is a result of eating green veggies. Iron supplements may also cause poop to turn a bit dark green. If food is passing through the intestines too quickly, green poop can result. Bile is what causes poop to be brown but if the food is going straight through, then bile never gets a chance to works it color magic . This is usually benign however if this is a common occurrence, you should consult your pediatrician. Greenish poop could also be a sign of trouble; dairy intolerance, an intestinal virus, or Crohn’s disease could be the cause.
Red/Pink Poop: Red Foods – it is possible that some red foods like beets, could cause baby’s poop to turn a rosy reddish color. However, if you see streaks of red this could be blood and you should call your doctor immediately! See below for more information regarding red streaks.
There are some color changes in poop that are not benign and you should contact baby’s pediatrician straight away if you see them.
White poop: White poop is not caused from foods so please be sure to contact your pediatrician if your baby begins to have white poop.
Black Poop: I have never heard of nor do I know of any foods that turn poop black. Iron however, may turn poop a dark green, almost black color. Black poop that is tarry may be a sign of intestinal issues so it is important to have a pop talk with your pediatrician!
Red-Blood Streaked Poop: If baby has reddish or rust colored streaks in his poops, this could be a sign of a possible medical problem with either the bowels or the intestines. Blood on, but not throughout, poop could be caused from a tear in the anus. A tear may occur if your baby has had a particularly hard or large bowel movement. If you ever see streaks of red, there might be blood in baby’s poop and you should call your doctor immediately! Streaks of red blood will be unmistakable; you will see lines of red blood in the poop.
It is very important that you talk to your pediatrician about any of baby’s poop issues that may be concerning to you!