Originally posted here by Dr. Stan Spinner, Texas Children’s Pediatrics and Texas Children’s Urgent Care Chief Medical Officer

Children do not come with how-to handbooks, but from day one, they depend on their parents to understand what they need. With each passing day, parents get better and better at knowing what cry means what, what food is best and even what diapers to use. But what about your baby’s poop? Is your baby’s stool trying to tell you something your baby needs you to know?

A baby’s poop is actually a great tool for parents when it comes to your baby’s health. The color of newborn stool can be anywhere from light to dark brown, but other colors, including a mustard color early on, is normal. There are some colors that can be a sign your baby should visit the pediatrician.

Tints of red in your baby’s poop can indicate a fresh source of blood which you should have checked out immediately, especially if it is correlated with irritability or vomiting. These signs could represent an intestinal obstruction. A milk allergy could also cause a baby’s poop to have blood.

If you see black, that typically is a result of old, dried blood. Dark black stool may represent blood from the upper gastrointestinal tract and this should also be addressed quickly.

White in a baby’s poop is a possible indication of an issue with their biliary system and should be reported to your pediatrician.

As your baby grows, the color of their poop will change. Foods or liquids often affect the color, and older babies tend to have light to dark brown stools.

Although the color of your baby’s poop can mean many things, the most important part is the consistency. A baby’s poop should be soft and not cause the baby any discomfort while they are passing a stool, although many babies will have watery stools (especially if breast-feeding,) and may cry while passing a stool normally.

Who knew a baby’s poop was filled with so much information? If you ever have questions or concerns about your baby’s stool, you can always call your pediatrician for guidance.