Check the Diaper: What Your Baby's Feces Say

Your baby's feces are a constant topic of conversation during the diaper years. Today, we'll talk about what to expect from the first diaper change.
Check the Diaper: What Your Baby's Feces Say

Last update: 20 March, 2020

Although it might seem crazy to some people, there’s a universal theme for parents: baby’s feces. It certainly isn’t the most common dinner conversation, but it’s important to talk about it. We all agree that its color, consistency and quantity can tell you important clues about your baby’s health.

Meconium: baby’s first stool

Baby’s first stool is called meconium, and it consists of everything the baby ingests in the womb. For example, this includes amniotic fluid, skin cells and water. Meconium usually has a dark green color and a sticky consistency.

Over the course of a few days, the stool should become watery and lighter. If not, or if your baby doesn’t defecate in the first few days, it could mean he isn’t getting enough nutrition. Then, you need to talk to your pediatrician.

How frequent should babies make bowel movements in the first days of life?

In the first four to six weeks of life, you should expect your baby to have a bowel movement almost after every feeding. Your baby’s feces will vary depending on if you’re breastfeeding, formula feeding or combining.

Breastmilk-fed baby poop is often yellow and runny. On the other hand, formula-fed baby poop can be darker and thicker.

Check the Diaper: What Your Baby's Feces Say

If your baby is breastfed, there might be less bowel movements than formula-fed babies. Also, it’s common for breastfed babies to go two to three days without a bowel movement. However, if your baby looks happy and has a soft belly, he’s probably fine.

On the other hand, if your baby is formula-fed, he may have darker, firmer stools than breastfed babies. The stool might be the consistency of mayonnaise, and the color ranges from yellow to greenish brown or tan.

As for the frequency, these babies defecate at least once a day. It’s important to check the consistency. In fact, if it’s shaped like logs or pellets, it could indicate constipation. It’s important to talk to your pediatrician since it could mean an allergy. If it’s bad enough, you may need to change your formula.

A rainbow in the diaper: how to interpret color in your baby’s feces

The color and consistency of a baby’s feces is usually a good indicator for potential health problems. The first tip for new parents is not to panic. Also, don’t forget the relationship between feces and food. A red stool might only be the organic trace of eating beets, for example.

That being said, we should add that if you see anything unusual, don’t hesitate to bring the diaper to your pediatrician. In fact, it could help your doctor do an evaluation. Here are some facts about what each color of your baby’s feces could mean:

Your baby’s feces: Green

This is very common in formula-fed babies, and it’s not a reason to worry. The iron in baby formula can make feces dark green, Also, it could mean that your baby is overcoming a stomach virus. If he has gas or discomfort, it could mean that he’s allergic to cow’s milk.

White or gray

When your baby is still breastfeeding or drinking formula when he’s under 6 months, if the feces are chalky whitish gray, you should definitely call your pediatrician.

White stool might mean that the liver isn’t working properly. If your baby eats solid food, it might be from his diet. If not, it’s important to see a doctor. In fact, it could be a liver or gallbladder problem.

Your baby’s feces: Orange

In fact, a baby’s first solid foods can cause orange stools. Usually, this isn’t a problem. It can also happen if the mom has been taking certain medications or eating artificially colored foods.


A few red spots aren’t a big deal. Red specks might appear if the baby is constipated and strains to defecate. If he just started eating solid foods, you’ll need to go over every food he eats.

If he has really bloody stools, it might mean he has an infection, allergy, or gastrointestinal injury. Therefore, it’s important you call your pediatrician.


Black stool can be caused by iron in his diet, which isn’t a big deal. Also, it could mean that you’re taking an iron supplement. Iron from hemoglobin can also make your baby’s feces dark. This could mean there’s intestinal bleeding. If you see black stool, don’t hesitate to go to the doctor.


If you see mustard yellow stool, you should know that it’s normal in breastfed and formula-fed babies. If it’s bright yellow, it could be from medications or food the mother eats.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Kohn, M. H., & Wayne, R. K. (1997). Facts from feces revisited. Trends in ecology & evolution12(6), 223-227.
  • Fleisher, D., & Ament, M. E. (1977). Diarrhea, red diapers, and child abuse: clinical alertness needed for recognition; clinical skill needed for success in management. Clinical pediatrics, 16(9), 820-824.
  • Bekkali, N., Hamers, S. L., Reitsma, J. B., Van Toledo, L., & Benninga, M. A. (2009). Infant stool form scale: development and results. The Journal of pediatrics154(4), 521-526.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.