Green Baby poo

One of the biggest worries my new parents have about their newborn baby is baby poo. They worry about what baby poo should look like and if their baby is pooping too much or not enough. So I have written this page to explain all about baby poo and when and why it changes.

Baby poo will change over your baby’s life time. How it looks will depend on how you have chosen to feed your baby. Your baby’s poo will also change once you begin adding solid food into your baby’s diet or decide to change from breastfeeding to bottle feeding.

green poo
Baby’s first poo is called meconium

Meconium is a sticky tar like substance that is baby’s very first poo.

It is made from the mucus and amniotic fluid that baby swallowed while in your womb (uterus). It is greenish black in colour and thick and sticky like tar. Passing meconium is a good sign that baby’s bowels have started to work.

Meconium will be passed by baby for the first few days and will slowly change as baby feeds more.

It is often very difficult to wipe meconium from baby’s bottom as it is very sticky but the easiest way to remove it is to use plenty of warm water soaked cotton wool pads.

Baby poo in a breast fed baby

If you choose to breastfeed your baby then the first ‘milk’ your baby will receive is colostrum. Colostrum contains lots of anti bodies but also helps to coat the lining of your baby’s intestines making them less likely to suffer from stomach problems. It also has a mild laxative affect that will help your baby’s bowels begin to work.

Once your milk comes in on days 3 to 5 then you will begin to notice:

  1. Baby poo begin to change colour from greenish black to brown to mustard yellow.
  2. They may poo small amounts many times a day and to begin with your baby’s diaper may be soiled at each nappy change.
  3. Baby poo may look like grainy mustard and will be loose in texture.

Baby poo should always be soft and baby should find it easy to pass their stools.

Baby might projectile poop while being changed. This is very normal in a breastfed baby and often happens if you have eaten something spicy or acidic. This is also normal in a bottle fed baby but may happen less often.

It is very rare for a breastfed baby to become constipated but once their bowels begin to find their own pattern you will notice that they poo less often but each poo will be bigger. This is also very normal and once your baby is a few weeks old they will probably have a regular daily time to poop.

Many babies go through a stage when their bowel begins to slow down and they may only poo once every few days. Some can even go up to 7 days between their bowels opening. This is a very normal stage and does not mean your baby is constipated. Please take a look at is my baby constipated page to learn more.

If your breastfed baby goes longer than 10 days before pooping and when he does its smelly, green and foamy then it’s best to get baby checked out by a doctor or nurse to rule out any digestive problems.

green baby poo

Baby poo in a bottle fed baby

Baby poo for a bottle fed baby will differ to that of a breastfeed baby.

They will still need changing many times a day but they may poo less frequently from the start and may only have 4 or 5 dirty nappies a day.

A bottle fed baby will still have meconium as their first poo but it will change from a black/brown colour to a mustard yellow or yellow/ brown/dark green colour earlier. This is because they do not have to wait for mum’s milk to ‘come in’.

Their baby poo will be firmer and should look like smooth cream cheese or toothpaste in texture. Baby should still be able to pass it easily.

Some bottle fed babies do grunt and look as if they are straining when they poo, this is called grunting baby syndrome and you can learn about this by clicking here. As long as their baby poo is soft then this is normal.

It is also normal for a bottle fed baby’s poo to have a stronger smell to it as well.

Just like a breastfed baby if your bottle fed baby goes longer than 10 days before they poo and it’s very smelly, green and foamy then its wise to get baby checked out by a doctor or nurse to rule out any digestive problems.

Baby poo changes when switching from breast to bottle.

If you choose to switch from breast to bottle feeding then it’s best to do this slowly to give baby’s tummy time to adjust.

Breast milk is digested much easier than formula and if you choose to switch baby to formula then doing it over a 7 day period will help baby’s tummy to cope much better with the change.

You may notice the consistency of baby poo will change more and will become firmer but it shouldn’t look like pellets.

Green baby poo

Green baby poo in a breastfed baby can be a sign that your baby is taking in too much foremilk.

Foremilk is the thirst quenching milk you get at the beginning of a breast feed. It is high in a natural sugar called lactose and full of all the vitamins and minerals your baby needs.

Baby also needs hind milk. Hind milk comes at the end of a breast feed and contains all the fats that baby needs to gain weight.

Green baby poo can occur if you start to swap sides too soon at each breast feed. Swapping sides too early can mean your baby gets to much foremilk and not enough hind milk at each feed. Make sure that baby is draining one breast completely before switching to the other  to finish your feed.

Some types of baby formula can make your baby have dark green baby poo. If baby seems fit and well and his baby poo is not runny, foamy, or very smelly then this may be normal for your baby.  If you are at all concerned get your doctor to check your baby.

Other causes of green baby poo can be :

  • stomach infection in gut ( gastroenteritis)
  • medication for another condition
  • food or milk allergy
  • poor bottle hygiene

These are the same causes for Diarrhoea so any green baby poo that lasts longer than 24 hours and is also not the normal consistency for your baby should always be checked out by a doctor.

Why has my baby’s poo changed

Baby poo can change for many different reasons. It might have changed because:

  1. You have introduced solid food. As soon as you begin to introduce solids into your baby’s diet their baby poo will change due to having real food in their tummy. The baby poo will begin to look and smell more like an adults but should always stay soft.

  2. Your baby has started teething. Due to an increase in saliva in baby’s mouth that is swallowed, you may notice that baby poo contains mucus and they may get a sore bottom due to their baby poo being more liquid.

  3. Your baby is unwell or has a stomach bug. If they get a stomach bug then change baby as soon as they poo. This may be many times more than normal and their baby poo may be very liquid, almost like water, have an unpleasant smell and change in colour. Many stomach bugs make baby poo turn green. If any of these things happen get a doctor to check out baby as medication may be needed.

  4. You have chosen to switch from breast to bottle. Baby poo may become more solid and the colour and smell may change slightly.

Diaper rash

If your baby’s bottom looks very sore then they may have developed Diaper rash. Please take a look at my nappy rash and nappy rash remedies pages for what to do.

Baby poo when there may be a problem and what to do

Most baby poo problems are easily treated at home but some do need a doctor or nurse to take a look, and  rule out any more serious conditions.

  1. Pellets or nuggets. If baby poo becomes pellet or nugget like then it can be a sign that they are not getting enough fluid. If you are breastfeeding then make sure you’re drinking enough yourself and perhaps pump the odd feed to check there is enough milk. Make sure you are feeding baby every 3 hours and that he is not getting too hot. If you are bottle feeding then make sure you are making up baby’s bottles correctly and if needed offer some cool boiled water in between feeds.
  2. Constipated or Straining. Many babies strain while pooping but if they are having real issues passing stools and baby poo is very firm then again it may be that baby is not getting enough fluid. Baby might be suffering from Grunting Baby Syndrome. Read more about that here. Baby could be constipated. Read more about that here
  3. Pale coloured or chalky looking poo. If your baby has very pale baby poo it can be a sign of jaundice. Jaundice is very common in newborns and often goes within 2 weeks. In a breastfed baby it can take longer than 2 weeks but if your at all concerned by baby jaundice then ask your midwife or health visitor to get it checked. In a baby where jaundice lasts beyond 2 weeks tell your midwife or doctor if your baby has pale white chalky looking baby poo. Chalky baby poo can be a sign of liver problems which should always be checked.
  4. Blood in baby poo. This is something that I always get checked out by a doctor. It is usually due to a small tear in the anus called an anal fissure that opens when baby poop’s. It can also be a sign of constipation so again get it checked by your doctor.
  5. Diarrhoea. Any form of diarrhoea needs checking out by a doctor  if symptoms last longer than 24 hours. The causes of diarrhoea could be :
  • stomach infection in gut ( gastroenteritis)
  • medication for another condition
  • sensitivity to too much fruit juice in an older baby
  • food or milk allergy
  • poor bottle hygiene

Diarrhoea can cause your baby to become dehydrated very quickly so offer fluid often and if baby has 6 or more bouts of diarrhoea in 24 hours then get your doctor to check out baby.

I hope that my baby poo page has helped to put your mind at rest and answered your questions.

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