Your life changes in many ways after you have a baby, including suddenly talking a lot about poop. You just can’t get around it, because from color to frequency to smell, it continually evolves from the newborn days into toddlerhood.
Here’s what you can expect to discover in your little one’s diaper, right up until she’s pooping in the potty.
The first time your baby poops, it’s called meconium. Meconium is greenish-black and has a tar-like consistency. It’s everything your baby ingested in utero, including amniotic fluid, mucus, and skin cells. Luckily it doesn’t smell, because it takes some effort to clean it from her bum.
2 to 4 Days Old
Within 2-4 days, your baby’s poop should transition from meconium to a dark green, thinner version, and get progressively lighter and thinner from there.
1 to 6 Weeks Old
During this stage your baby may poop after every feeding, simply because her digestive tract is brand-new.
If she’s breastfed, her poops will be mustard yellow, seedy, and runny, and not particularly smelly.
Formula-fed babies’ poop can be mustard yellow, greenish-brown, or tan, and the consistency of hummus (sorry if we just ruined hummus for you). It’s smellier than breastfed babies’ poop, but not as smelly as it will be when she starts eating solid food.
6 Weeks to Starting Solid Food
When your baby is about six weeks old and her digestive tract is more developed, she’ll start pooping less.
If your breastfed baby only poops once every few to several days, don’t panic! Breastmilk is digested differently than formula, and infrequent poops at this stage are common.
Formula-fed babies may poop more often than their breast-fed counterparts, about once a day.
Whether she’s breast or bottle-fed, if your baby seems uncomfortable, has a hard belly, or her poop is hard, dry or pebble-shaped, she may be constipated (see below).
After Starting Solid Food
When your baby starts solid food, her poop will become brown or dark brown, thicker but still mushy, and smellier.
Some days it may be orange (hello sweet potatoes), dotted with undigested food (like corn kernels), or even red (if she eats beets). If it’s an odd color that doesn’t connect to anything she’s eaten, check our poop color cheat sheet and give your pediatrician a call.
It’s not uncommon for babies to experience brief periods of constipation, or for potty-training toddlers to become constipated due to fear of pooping in a toilet. You should always talk to your pediatrician about ongoing or frequent bouts of constipation, but for occasional trouble pooping these at-home measures may help:
- If your baby hasn’t started solid foods, try upping her hydration by slightly increasing her intake of breastmilk or formula.
- If your baby has started solid foods, try increasing her intake of water, whole grains, vegetables, or “P” foods like prunes, plums, peaches and pears.
- Babies who aren’t crawling yet may benefit from “bicycle legs” (peddle their legs to and from their chest, as if they’re riding a bike).
- A warm bath may relax the muscles that push poop out.
- VERY OCCASIONALLY (and with the green light from your pediatrician) you may consider rectal stimulation or a glycerine suppository.
Aside from learning about the rainbow of poop colors, you can read about what different poop textures and consistencies mean here.