Breast milk is best for your baby.

Health Canada, the Canadian Paediatric Society, and the Dietitians of Canada recommend that you exclusively breastfeed your baby for the first 6 months and that you continue to breastfeed for up to 2 years or longer along with complementary foods.

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The Similac® Stool Tool

Discover the meaning of greenish-black and sticky meconium baby poop
If your infant has dark brown stool, you may have a constipated baby
Discover what dark green baby poop means about your infant's nutrition
Find out what greenish-brown poop means about your baby's nutrition
Does your baby have bright green or lime poop? Find out what it means
Find out what blood in baby stool means for your infant's nutrition
Uncover what pink or red baby poop means with the Similac® Stool Tool
Find out what causes yellow baby poop with the Similac® Stool Tool
Uncover what watery baby poop means and if it's a cause for concern
Does your baby have light brown or tan stool? Find out what it means
Find out what white or clay coloured baby poop means for your infant
Discover what causes black baby poop with the Similac® Stool Tool
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Greenish-black and sticky baby poop

AKA: Meconium

Looks like: Licorice or tar

What does it mean?

Meconium is the first type of stools your baby will have after birth, and it's perfectly normal. This greenish-black sticky stool is the residue remaining in his intestines from before he was born. Colostrum has a cleaning function, acting as a laxative to help your baby pass the meconium in about three days.

What should I do?

There is nothing to worry about. It's normal, healthy, and temporary. If it lasts more than three days, check with your doctor. He may want to check to make sure your baby is receiving the feedings he needs to move this through his system. If your baby has black stools that do not look like meconium, you should contact your health care professional immediately.

This content is for information purposes only. Contact your health care professional right away in case of:

  • Blood or mucus in stools
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Irritability
  • Refusal to eat
  • Decreased or dark-coloured urine
  • Decreased activity

Dry, brown, and hard baby poop that is difficult to pass

AKA: Constipation

Looks like: Dirt, clay, or pebbles

What does it mean?

Hard, pellet-like stools could mean you have a constipated baby. In the beginning, this could be a sign that your baby isn’t drinking enough milk. Occasional constipation is normal, especially with formula-fed babies and babies transitioning to solid foods. It could be a sign that your baby isn't getting enough fluid or that he is losing too much fluid from heat, illness, or a fever. Occasional blood streaking on the surface of the stool can result when hard stools make tiny tears in the soft tissues around the anus. Don’t be alarmed if, after the age of 6 months, your baby doesn’t have a bowel movement every day. As long as when he does, his stools are soft, everything is normal and you should not feel concerned.

What should I do?

  • Make sure your baby is drinking enough breast milk or infant formula.
  • If your baby is being fed with commercial baby formula, make sure you are diluting the formula with the proper amount of water, as recommended on the label.
  • If your baby is eating solids, give him foods that are rich in fibre: 
    • Fruits (including prunes, pears, and apples);
    • Vegetables;
    • Whole grain products;
    • Legumes.
  • If your baby is eating solid foods, give him a small amount of water in addition to his milk. This is especially important if you are giving him more fibre.

In a very young baby (under one month), consult your health care professional.

This content is for information purposes only. Contact your health care professional right away in case of:

  • Blood or mucus in stools
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Irritability
  • Refusal to eat
  • Decreased or dark-coloured urine
  • Decreased activity

Dark green baby poop

AKA:  Iron supplementation

Looks like:  Thick, dark green stools

What does it mean?

If your baby has dark green stools, it could be the product of iron supplementation in your baby's diet.

In some babies, the bacteria in the intestines react to the iron sulfate in a supplement or iron-fortified formula. The reaction turns the baby poop dark green or sometimes even greenish-black. The poop will remain this colour as long as your baby is on the formula or iron supplement. There is no need to be concerned with the colour change, as it has no significance to your baby's digestive system.

What should I do?

Nothing, it's normal. Iron is an essential nutrient and a component of all infant formulas.

This content is for information purposes only. Contact your health care professional right away in case of:

  • Blood or mucus in stools
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Irritability
  • Refusal to eat
  • Decreased or dark-coloured urine
  • Decreased activity

Greenish-brown baby poop

AKA: Introduction-to-solids baby poop

Looks like: Leftover guacamole

What does it mean?

Once your baby starts to eat solid foods, you will notice a change in her poop. It's typical to see greenish-brown poop when your baby starts eating solids. It may also be thicker and smellier than before.

What should I do?

There is nothing to worry about. It's normal and healthy.

This content is for information purposes only. Contact your health care professional right away in case of:

  • Blood or mucus in stools
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Irritability
  • Refusal to eat
  • Decreased or dark-coloured urine
  • Decreased activity

Bright green or lime baby poop

AKA:  Foremilk/hindmilk imbalance

Looks like:  Green, frothy poop

What does it mean?

It could mean that your breastfed baby is getting more foremilk than hindmilk, which is richer and fattier. Your baby might need to nurse longer on each side in order to ensure enough hindmilk is consumed during each feeding. Sometimes, a virus will turn your baby's stool bright green. If your baby is fussy and seems uncomfortable, contact your health care provider.

What should I do?

Try not to switch your baby to your other breast until you have nursed at least
20 minutes on one side.

This content is for information purposes only. Contact your health care professional right away in case of:

  • Blood or mucus in stools
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Irritability
  • Refusal to eat
  • Decreased or dark-coloured urine
  • Decreased activity

Red-streaked baby poop

AKA: Blood in stools

Looks like: Hard stools streaked with bright red blood or mucus

What does it mean?

Often, the stools of constipated babies are streaked with red from rectal fissures, small cracks in the anus caused by pushing. You might also see streaks of mucus on the baby poop.

What should I do?

Occasional bleeding isn't cause for concern. Usually, once the constipation has resolved, so too will the bleeding. If there is a large amount of blood in the stools (more than a few drops) or if the bleeding doesn't resolve with the softening of the stools, check with your doctor.

This content is for information purposes only. Contact your health care professional right away in case of:

  • Blood or mucus in stools
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Irritability
  • Refusal to eat
  • Decreased or dark-coloured urine
  • Decreased activity

Pinkish-red baby poop

AKA: Pinkish-red

Looks like: Partially digested food

What does it mean?

What your baby eats comes out looking the same as when it went in.

Once your baby has started solids, you will see stools that can vary in colour and texture after every meal. In addition to foods, some medications can also turn a baby's stools unusual colours.

What should I do?

Watch what your baby eats to ensure there is a link between the colour of the stools and what she is eating. Other foods known for turning baby poop different colours are carrots (orange) and spinach (green). If your baby has red poop for no apparent reason (no cherry Popsicle®, no Froot Loops® cereal, or red gelatin), call your health care provider.

This content is for information purposes only. Contact your health care professional right away in case of:

  • Blood or mucus in stools
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Irritability
  • Refusal to eat
  • Decreased or dark-coloured urine
  • Decreased activity

Popsicle® and Froot Loops® are not registered trademarks of Abbott Laboratories, Limited.

Yellow and seedy baby poop

AKA: Breastfed-baby poop

Looks like: Yellow curdled milk

What does it mean?

Isn't baby poop surprising? First it's black as tar, and now it's bright yellow; but this yellow stool is totally normal. Breastfed babies' poop has a mild smell and might come with loud, even explosive, sound effects. It will look like this until you supplement your baby with infant formula or begin feeding him solids.

What should I do?

Your baby's poop is the gold standard. Breast milk has the ideal nutrients to help your baby stay healthy and grow strong.

This content is for information purposes only. Contact your health care professional right away in case of:

  • Blood or mucus in stools
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Irritability
  • Refusal to eat
  • Decreased or dark-coloured urine
  • Decreased activity

Watery, brown, and loose baby poop

AKA: Diarrhea

Looks like: Watery with chunks

What does it mean?

The occasional loose baby stools isn't cause for alarm. But if your baby has more bowel movements than usual, and if the stools are less formed and more watery, that is considered diarrhea. Diarrhea can cause dehydration and might also be a sign of infection. Usually, these infections aren't dangerous, but the dehydration that can result from losing too much fluid in the stools is a concern.

What should I do?

Give your baby plenty of fluids — continue to breastfeed on demand or keep feeding formula as usual.

The younger the baby and the more frequent the diarrhea, the greater the concern for dehydration. Your health care provider may advise you to give your baby an oral rehydration solution, such as Pedialyte®, to help prevent or treat dehydration.

Call your doctor or seek medical advice if your baby:

  • has diarrhea and is less than 6 months of age;
  • has stomach pains that are getting worse;
  • has bloody or black stools;
  • has diarrhea and a fever with a temperature higher than 38.5°C
    (101.5°F);
  • shows signs of dehydration such as fewer than 4 wet diapers in 24 hours and absense of tears.

Do not give your baby antidiarrheal medication unless advised by your health care professional.

For more information on diarrhea and infants, consult: Caring for Kids. Dehydration and diarrhea in children: Prevention and treatment. Canadian Paediatric Society. June 2013. Available online at: caringforkids.cps.ca.

This content is for information purposes only. Contact your health care professional right away in case of:

  • Blood or mucus in stools
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Irritability
  • Refusal to eat
  • Decreased or dark-coloured urine
  • Decreased activity

Tan and thick baby poop

AKA: Formula-fed baby poop

Looks like: Hummus

What does it mean?

Your baby's stools are normal. This light brown poop is the by-product of infant formula, either as a baby's full diet or as a supplement to breast milk. The only time you should be concerned is if your baby's poop becomes harder than a Tootsie Roll® candy or is watery.

What should I do?

There is nothing to be done. It's normal and healthy.

This content is for information purposes only. Contact your health care professional right away in case of:

  • Blood or mucus in stools
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Irritability
  • Refusal to eat
  • Decreased or dark-coloured urine
  • Decreased activity

Tootsie Roll® is not a registered trademark of Abbott Laboratories, Limited.

Chalky and white baby poop

AKA:  Abnormal stools

Looks like:  Clay, pale, colourless, or white stools

What does it mean?

White stools might be a sign of a liver or gallbladder problem. Bile is a digestive fluid made in the liver and stored in the gallbladder. Your baby's stools get their normal colour from the bile that is excreted during digestion. If your baby's liver doesn't produce bile, or if the bile duct is obstructed, his stools will be white.

What should I do?

White stools are very rare, but if your baby's poop is white, call your health care professional right away.

This content is for information purposes only. Contact your health care professional right away in case of:

  • Blood or mucus in stools
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Irritability
  • Refusal to eat
  • Decreased or dark-coloured urine
  • Decreased activity

Black baby poop

AKA:  Melena

Looks like:  Black, thick, or tarry stool

What does it mean?

Melena is a thick black stool that could contain blood that entered the intestines in the upper portion of the digestive system.

What should I do?

If your baby has black poop that is not meconium (which passes during the first few days of life), call your health care professional immediately.

This content is for information purposes only. Contact your health care professional right away in case of:

  • Blood or mucus in stools
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Irritability
  • Refusal to eat
  • Decreased or dark-coloured urine
  • Decreased activity

Black baby poop

AKA:  Melena

Looks like:  Black, thick, or tarry stool

What does it mean?

Melena is a thick black stool that could contain blood that entered the intestines in the upper portion of the digestive system.

What should I do?

If your baby has black poop that is not meconium (which passes during the first few days of life), call your health care professional immediately.

This content is for information purposes only. Contact your health care professional right away in case of:

  • Blood or mucus in stools
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Irritability
  • Refusal to eat
  • Decreased or dark-coloured urine
  • Decreased activity

The information in this section was derived from the following:

  • Abbott Nutrition. Parents Guide to Infant Stools. March 2009.
  • McGrail A, Metland D, Murray L, et al. The BabyCenter Essential Guide to Your Baby's First Year. July 2007.
  • Nathanson LW. The Portable Pediatrician. September 2002.
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