If you’re here, you’ve likely hit a parenting milestone of searching the internet for answers about something odd happening with your baby.
Today, you’re wondering why your baby’s poop is green. Or maybe your baby has white, black, or yellow poop. What on earth does it all mean? Is your baby ok?
This may be your 1st or your 100th time, but the internet (specifically this website) is the easiest source of quick answers. With that being said, it’s important to remember that not everything you read on the internet will be as solid as the advice you’ll get from your healthcare provider.
This article will offer short but informative answers to the question of the day: what is up with the baby poop color?
We strive really hard here to find legitimate resources and provide only accurate information. So keep that in mind when you’re browsing the internet, especially when you are seeking medical advice.
When in doubt, it is always best to reach out to your doctor. Believe me, answering questions about your baby’s poop is probably not the weirdest or grossest thing they’ve done today.
Why is baby poop green?
More often than not, green poop is nothing to be worried about. I’ve seen green poop from my little ones (infants) all the way up to my 7-year-old. I also found myself googling for answers. Most of them made sense given each child’s diet, and we were able to determine why their poop was green.
Infographics and charts were very helpful. The Cleveland Clinic outlines baby poop color nicely in this easy-to-read article with color coding. Yep, welcome to another part of parenting—looking at poop colors online.
So, what are the reasons for green baby poop?
1. Foremilk and hindmilk imbalance
Did you know that while you’re nursing your baby, your breastmilk changes? Breastfed baby poop is usually yellow or orange, but it can also turn green.
When you first start breastfeeding, in that single session, your milk will go from a high-sugar, low-fat “foremilk” to a higher-calorie, high-fat “hindmilk.” If you pump, you can sometimes see the difference in consistency and color.
This study breaks down the differences between hindmilk and foremilk.
So, if your baby has shorter nursing sessions, they may be getting too much foremilk, which can result in green baby poop.
Ideally, you want your baby to get both the foremilk and hindmilk. Therefore, it’s best to aim for longer nursing sessions on one breast and try not to switch breasts too soon.
2. Green foods
What you eat is what the baby eats. This is something you learned while being pregnant, and it remains true while you continue to nurse your baby.
It’s not uncommon for older children and adults to have green stools after consuming green foods. It’s most common after eating iron-rich foods like leafy greens or green vegetables. So, it’s also normal for a breastfeeding mother to consume these green foods and for those to transfer into the baby’s breastmilk, resulting in green poop.
There’s nothing to worry about if this sounds like a reason for your baby’s poop being green. In fact, congratulate yourself for eating your healthy greens.
3. Poly-Vi-Sol or other iron supplements
First, good luck giving your child this supplement. While it’s necessary, especially for breastfed babies consuming no formula, it doesn’t taste great. Once you do figure out the best way to give them the dark, syrupy liquid, don’t be surprised if they have dark green poop. Oh, and make sure you share your secret for getting them to take their daily dose!
If your baby starts having green poop after taking an iron supplement but is not showing any other signs of discomfort, there isn’t anything to worry about. If the baby is gassy or constipated, you may want to reach out to your healthcare provider for an alternative solution.
When should you worry about green baby poop?
There are a few cases in which you’ll want to reach out to your doctor about green baby poop. If your baby has green poop and it’s not because of one of the reasons above, it could be something else.
Cold, stomach bug, or another illness
If your baby’s poop is green, more liquidy than normal, or has mucus in it, a bacteria or virus is likely causing the issue. The green, nasty poop is the baby’s way of flushing it out.
Should this continue for a few days, reach out to your doctor for the next steps. Keep breastfeeding as you’re providing necessary antibodies to help fight off the illness.
Food allergies and intolerances
When a baby is developing and changing diets, we are always told to monitor them to be sure that they don’t have any adverse reactions to new foods.
Approximately 5% of children have a food allergy. If you’ve introduced a new food (for example, dairy) and notice that your baby’s poop is green or a different color, contact your doctor and have them determine if it’s a food allergy.
“I still don’t know why my baby’s poop is green!”
Are none of these answers helpful? There are a few other reasons why your baby’s poop is green.
- Your baby’s formula may be causing green poop. Formula-fed baby poop can change shades as you’re trying different brands. If your child otherwise seems fine, you shouldn’t worry.
- Did your baby just receive vaccines? Getting a round of vaccines may affect bowel movements.
- Teething is another reason why your child may have green poop. When a baby is teething, their stool may change due to the baby swallowing more saliva.
- Green food coloring is an additive that can cause green poop. I recently learned this when my 3-year-old had a lemon-lime sports drink that resulted in green poop. It can also happen if a breastfeeding mama consumes a lot of food with green food coloring.
What does that baby poop color mean?
We’ve learned much about green at this point, but what about other baby poop colors? Here are some colors that baby poop can be and why. Also, here is a handy poop chart that can help you down the road, too.
Black baby poop is completely normal in the first few days of a newborn’s life. The tar-like poop is called meconium. If the baby poop is black for more than a few days, reach out to your doctor.
Red poop likely means that your baby is consuming red foods or foods with red food coloring. However, if the poop looks bloody or persists after the consumption of red food, contact your healthcare provider immediately.
Yellow baby poop is nearly always a good sign. Exclusively breastfed babies will almost invariably have yellow, sometimes even grainy, poop. It will look and smell the same pretty consistently because their diet isn’t changing that much.
Just keep an eye on the consistency. If the baby’s poop is runny, they may have diarrhea, which could be the result of something else going on with their bodies.
White or grey
Baby white poop or grey poop can be seen in babies on any diet. It could mean that there’s a problem with the baby’s liver or digestive system. It’s best to call your pediatrician right away.
There we have it. We’ve googled baby poop colors and, hopefully, you have found some of the answers you were looking for.
I get it, when it comes to our babies, especially when we are new to this parenting thing, anything that seems off is really concerning. Generally, monitoring what goes in and out of our babies is a safe way to track their well-being.
So, bookmark this page for the next time you are wondering about your baby’s poop color.