I'm breastfeeding my newborn and my baby's bowel movements are yellow and mushy. Is this normal for baby poop?

Answer From Jay L. Hoecker, M.D.

Yellow, mushy bowel movements are perfectly normal for breastfed babies. Still, there are many shades of normal when it comes to baby poop. Here's a color-by-color guide for newborns:

  • Black or dark green. After birth, a baby's first bowel movements are black and tarry. This type of baby poop is known as meconium.
  • Yellow-green. As the baby begins digesting breast milk, meconium is replaced with yellow-green bowel movements.
  • Yellow. Breastfed newborns usually have seedy, loose bowel movements that look like light mustard.
  • Yellow or tan. If you feed your newborn formula, your baby's bowel movements might become yellow or tan with hints of green. They will be slightly more firm than breastfed bowel movements, but no firmer than peanut butter.

Once your baby begins eating solid food, his or her bowel movements might contain a wide variety of colors.

If you're concerned about the color or consistency of your baby's bowel movements, contact your baby's health care provider. This is especially important if your baby's bowel movements are:

  • Still black several days after birth
  • Red or bloody
  • White
  • Suddenly more frequent and unusually watery
  • Less frequent than what is normal for your baby or consistently hard, dry and difficult to pass

When you contact a health care provider, be prepared to describe your baby's bowel movements, including color, consistency, volume and frequency. The more details you provide, the better your baby's health care provider will be able to help you determine if treatment might be needed.

Children’s health information and parenting tips to your inbox.

Sign-up to get Mayo Clinic’s trusted health content sent to your email. Receive a bonus guide on ways to manage your child’s health just for subscribing. Click here for an email preview.

To provide you with the most relevant and helpful information, and understand which information is beneficial, we may combine your email and website usage information with other information we have about you. If you are a Mayo Clinic patient, this could include protected health information. If we combine this information with your protected health information, we will treat all of that information as protected health information and will only use or disclose that information as set forth in our notice of privacy practices. You may opt-out of email communications at any time by clicking on the unsubscribe link in the e-mail.

Feb. 24, 2022 See more Expert Answers