What Is A Baby Poop Chart? 

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Listen… babies poop a lot. At some point, as a new parent, you’re going to be running on autopilot. The poop won’t even faze you; just change the diaper, throw and go. However, sometimes, you really need to slow down and think about that poop. Your child’s stools can tell you a lot about their health.

The Importance of Poo

You already know the importance of poo, you just might not think of the importance of other people’s poo—especially if this is your first child or if you’ve never had a caretaking role, even for an animal. So let’s think about your poo for a moment.

When it’s too hard, you’re in distress. When it’s too soft or watery, you’re in distress. Something is wrong. You know you need to make a change in your diet, whether that’s getting more fiber or easing up on the sugar and fat. Maybe you’re allergic to something or have a sensitivity.

When it’s green or orange, it could just be a sign of something you ate the day before. If it’s dark or red, it’s a sign you probably need to go to the doctor (unless you just happened to eat a lot of beets for lunch). If it floats, you might have too much iron in your system.

You already make decisions based on your own poo. Now, as a parent, it’s time to start making decisions based on your child’s poo — and that’s where a baby poop chart comes in handy.

What is a Baby Poop Chart?

So what is a baby poop chart? Well, a baby poop chart is one of the many charts that can come in handy when you’ve got a newborn in the house (especially if you’re the type of person to thrive on charts, graphs and other attractively arranged data). You can make charts to track all sorts of data about your baby — from sleep to feedings to, of course, your baby’s bowel movements.

You can find apps that will allow you to track these sorts of things, but you can use a simple pen and paper or a document on your computer or phone if you prefer. The main point of making the chart is just getting all of this data compiled into one place for easier analysis by both yourself and your pediatrician.

If you want to make a baby poop chart, make sure to leave spaces in your chart for what day and what time your baby poops, as well as what the poop looks like. Consider making a note about what color the poop is, as well as what consistency the poop is.

If you track just these simple data points, you can learn a lot about your baby’s health, and you’ll have a wealth of information to share with your pediatrician in the event your baby is very sick or you suspect a health problem like an allergy.

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What Your Baby Poop Chart Will Tell You

Dad finishing changing his baby's diaper on the floor, getting ready to update his poop chart

So, have you started tracking your baby’s poop and want to know what it can tell you about your baby? Or are you just anticipating what you might learn in the near future once you do start tracking that info? Here’s what you can usually assume based on your infant’s poop.

Black poop

Black poop is actually an okay thing during the first few days of infancy. It’s only a concern later. That early day black poop is your newborn getting rid of things from its time in the womb.

Mustard yellow poop (aka breastfed baby poop)

Believe it or not, yellow poop is a totally normal baby poop color, especially if your baby is living off of breast milk. It’s run of the mill, nothing special. And that’s a good thing! It means your baby’s bowels aren’t showing that something’s wrong.

Orange poop

Again, orange poop is pretty standard. There’s really no need to worry about orange poop.

Green poop (aka formula-fed baby poop)

Light and dark green baby poop are also pretty standard, especially in formula-fed babies and especially if your baby is being introduced to green solids, like spinach. Don’t worry about the green poo.

Brown poop

Brown, from dark to peanut butter brown, is poop’s default color at any age. There’s nothing to worry about here.

Red poop

Just like adults can see red poo after they eat a lot of beets or drink one too many glasses of red wine, so can babies poop red if they eat something red.

However, if you haven’t fed them anything red recently (like if you haven’t been making homemade baby food out of beets or tomatoes) or if your baby is not currently taking any new medications (certain ones can cause a reddish stool color), then you need to call your healthcare provider.

The red tint in the poop could be blood, but even then, it might not be anything to worry about (though calling a pediatrician is always a good, safe measure). Red blood in poop — regardless of your age — can come from a range of sources. Straining, for example, can cause blood in the stool, but it’s just a sign of constipation or a need to up your fiber, not a harbinger of something deadly. Additionally, in little ones, blood can pass from bleeding nipples to the baby and onto the stool. 

White poop

While yellow poop can be startlingly and unfamiliar, it’s nothing to worry about unless it’s more of a white poop. White baby poop means it’s time to call the pediatrician. There could be an underlying illness.

Gray poop

The same thing goes for gray poop. White and gray are colors you don’t want to see in a stool and can indicate problems in the digestive system or organs.

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Runny poop

You know what runny poop means—it’s diarrhea! While diarrhea is nothing to be worried about at first, if it persists, your baby will be at risk for dehydration, so watch it carefully.

Chalky poop

If your baby is producing poop that looks a bit chalky in texture, it can mean that your baby isn’t digesting his or her food appropriately. Call your pediatrician to discuss needed next steps.

Thick poop

If your baby’s poop is a tar-like consistency, that’s thick and difficult to clean, almost sticky, it might be normal, or it might not. It all depends on your infant’s age. If they’re a newborn (as in a few days old), then it’s completely normal, just like the black poo is at that time. However, after that, it’s a sign that their dietary needs aren’t being met.

Seedy poop

Seedy poop is normal and not for concern, particularly if you’re breastfeeding. (It’s just admittedly a little weird.)

Pebble poop

If your baby’s poop is more like small pebbles, it could mean that they’re constipated; this is especially the case if the stools are darker in color than normal. If you think your baby is constipated, talk with your pediatrician and get their best recommendations for remedying the situation.

Frothy poop

Yes, your baby’s poo can even be frothy on occasion. This is yet another one of those instances where there might be something to worry about, and there might not. If your baby is teething and drooling a lot, the frothy poop is normal. However, if they’re not, talk to your pediatrician about what the underlying cause could be.

Mucus-y poop

Again, mucus poop is normal in those first few days of life, just like dark poop and thick poop. However, if you’re seeing mucus in your baby’s stools after that point, talk to your pediatrician to see if there’s an infection or some sort of dietary issue.

Undigested food-y poop

There are some foods that just don’t digest well, and you’ll see them pop up later in some somewhat surprising places. The same is true for your newborn and maybe even more so around the time that you start feeding them solid foods. Don’t worry. This goes away after a while, and you’ll stop seeing little bits and bobs from their dinner plate in their diaper.

Do You Smell Something … Funny?

Mom plugging her nose while she holds a stinky diaper. She will then update the poop chart and find any food causes.

While you might not record your baby’s poo smells in your baby poop chart, as you can’t tell quite as much from the smell as you can the appearance, if something is way off with how your baby’s full diaper smells, it could tell you something.

In general, your baby’s poop won’t smell all that much at first, especially in the first few days. However, the longer the time between your baby’s poops and the more solid food you end up giving them, the worse those poops will smell. Generally, breastfed babies have poops that smell less foul than those of their formula-fed peers.

However, if you notice a particularly foul smell, almost a sour smell, then it could be a sign that your baby has an allergy or something they’re eating doesn’t agree with them. That’s something to note, along with whatever you may have fed your baby that day.

Baby Poop FAQs

Have more questions about baby poop that weren’t answered above? Let’s see if we can get you sorted with some quick info.

How many times should my baby poop each day?

As we mentioned, babies poop a lot. But how much really is a lot? And if a baby isn’t pooping a lot, is it a reason for concern? Actually, no. 

While most babies do poop frequently, their pooping habits aren’t that much different from adults’ pooping habits. Some babies poop with every feeding, but some poop every few days, according to the Children’s Hospital of Colorado. Neither end of the spectrum is a real reason for worry unless a change is out of the blue, in which case you might want to talk to your pediatrician.

Are all infant stool changes something to worry about?

Not at all! Your baby will experience all kinds of stool changes, just like you do. Baby’s diet, the occasional non-worrisome illness, medications, teething and other life changes all contribute to changes in stool texture and color.

Why is newborn poop so gross?

Yes, newborn poop is particularly gross. It’s black, gooey, tar-like and plain weird. It’s called meconium, though, and is made up of all the things your baby is still digesting from its time in the womb (like amniotic fluid). After a few days, their poop should look more “normal,” and if you see those same colors and textures in the future, it’s time to call your doctor.

Is my baby straining when they’re pooping a bad thing?

Not at all, and, no, it’s not a sign of constipation. For signs of constipation, you’ll want to look at your baby’s poop color and texture. Babies strain because, usually, it’s just really hard for them to poop. 

Think about it. They’re trying to poop lying on their backs, in a diaper, and they can’t move. You’d strain, too. So, if your baby is looking like they’re having a difficult time with the pooping, but the poop looks fine, you don’t need to worry about constipation just yet. Instead, consider adding some bicycle legs and gripe water to your baby’s routine to help move things along. 

When should I call my doctor over my baby’s poop?

In general, you should always call your baby’s doctor if your baby hasn’t pooped in more than five days; if their poop is pebbly or hard; if their poop is red, white or gray; or if their poop has mucus or froth in it and they aren’t teething.

Keep Track of Your Baby’s Poo — You’ll Thank Us Later

While analyzing and recording all of your baby’s bowel habits can seem annoying and even kind of gross, it can give you invaluable data that will help you monitor your baby’s health and adjust your feeding and lifestyle as needed, to keep your newborn and beyond in tip-top shape.

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Holly Riddle

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