Before children enter your life, you probably won’t be thinking about what baby poop looks like and whether or not one shade is normal while another isn’t.
Next minute, you’re a new parent and your child has a package that looks like charcoal dough and is very difficult to clean.
‘W T F?’, you scream to yourself silently in your head because you don’t want to wake your just-fallen-back-asleep baby.
Don’t worry, you are not alone. Take three deep breaths and by the time you finish reading this article we hope you have more peace of mind.
Shouldn’t It Be Brown?
Baby poop can come in all different shapes, sizes, frequency, colours and consistency.
It is undoubtedly shocking as a new parent or carer to find the poo in your child’s nappy to be anything other than what we are already used to, but babies have much different poo than adults!
No, don’t expect their smelly packages to look brown like ours do, chances are your baby’s first poo will look black.
Black poop for babies is a completely normal and natural occurrence for the first few poos of their life.
Why Is Baby Poo Black?
The first excretements produced by a newborn will be black in colour, and this is known as meconium.
What is Meconium?
Meconium is constituted of various cells, protein, fats and substances that form in the digestive tract during pregnancy.
Meconium is often black however can also be shades of dark green. It is thick in consistency, sticky and actually does not smell at all. Because of its texture, it is difficult to clean your baby when they have meconium bowel movements.
This lasts for the first few days of their life, and if it persists it is recommended that medical advice be sought. Similarly, if your baby has not had their first bowel movement within 24 hours of birth, notify your doctor.
What Other Colours Are Normal?
Mustard yellow is normal particularly for breastfed infants and to be expected, nothing out of the ordinary here! However, if your baby is pooping bright yellow, it could be a sign of diarrhea. Monitor your child’s symptoms and contact your doctor if it persists.
If your child is newborn and not consuming solids then this will not be applicable.
As their digestive system matures, their bowel movements will be less impacted by the colour of their foods.
If there is blood in your child’s stool then you should seek medical advice as there could be a medical condition present. Sometimes it is caused by the colours of foods and not actually blood, but it is recommended to seek professional advice regardless.
This is normal especially during the meconium phase of bowel movements and also if the child is eating foods like spinach, peas or kale.
Brown poo is normal and as the child gets older the more regular their poo will look like due to their maturing digestive system. This happens because the digestive system breaks down and processes the food more efficiently leaving less colour in the stools.
White or Grey
Seek immediate medical attention as this could be a sign of a serious medical condition.
When Will My Baby’s Poo Be Normal?
Meconium stools should only last for a few days before more regular transitional stools develop. By the time the baby is 5-7 days old, they should have left the meconium stool stage to stools that are looser, mustard in colour and smellier.
During this transitional period it is normal for your baby’s poos to go from the thick meconium to thin, loose stools that are green, brown and yellow in colour. Usually, meconium is still somewhat present during this transitional period but should no longer be present after the fifth day.
If your child is passing meconium stools after five days it is best to contact your doctor to seek medical advice for a potential underlying health issue.