I'm breastfeeding my newborn and my baby's stool is yellow and mushy. Is this what I should expect?

Answer From Jay L. Hoecker, M.D.

Yellow, mushy stool is perfectly healthy for breastfed babies. Still, there are many shades of baby poop. Here's a color-by-color guide for parents of newborns:

  • Black or dark green. After birth, the first stool a baby passes is black or dark green and tarry. This type of baby poop is known as meconium.
  • Yellow-green. Your baby's poop may turn this color once the meconium stool has passed.
  • Yellow. Breastfed newborns usually have seedy, loose stool that looks like light mustard.
  • Yellow or tan. If you feed your newborn formula, your baby's poop might become yellow or tan with hints of green. It likely will be more firm than that of breastfed babies. But it probably won't be firmer than soft clay or peanut butter.
  • Green. Baby poop that's green also can be typical. It's no cause for concern.

Once your baby starts to eat solid food, your baby's poop might contain a wide variety of colors.

How often babies poop also varies. Some breastfed babies pass stool just once a week. That's fine as long as your baby's stools are soft and the baby keeps gaining weight and nursing. Formula-fed babies most often poop once a day. And some infants have no regular pooping pattern at all.

If you're concerned about the color, texture or frequency of your baby's stool, call your baby's healthcare professional. This is very important if your baby's stool is:

  • Still black many days after birth.
  • Red or bloody.
  • White or whitish-grey.
  • Full of mucus.
  • Very watery and more frequent or a larger quantity than usual.
  • Passed less often than usual if your baby eats formula and strains while pooping.
  • Often hard, dry or difficult to pass. For this symptom, it also may help to give your baby a couple of ounces of water from a sippy cup with meals. If your baby eats solid foods, it also may help to feed your baby fruits and vegetables.

When you call your baby's healthcare professional, be ready to describe your baby's stool. Note the color, texture, size and how often your baby passes stool. The more details you provide, the better. This helps your baby's healthcare professional figure out if treatment might be needed.

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Jan. 26, 2024 See more Expert Answers