What is normal baby poo?

What to expect when it comes to baby poo can be confusing, unknown and sometimes even scary for new parents. Rest assured, there is a wide range of ‘normal’!

Some babies poo several times a day, and some do only a few times a week. This is normal, and the variation often depends on whether baby is having formula or breastmilk because of differences in the way a newborn’s body digests the two different milk types. On average, breastfed babies may have a poo every nappy up to once per week, whereas for formula fed babies, it can be every 2 or 3 days.

Normal baby poo for breastfed babies:

  • Soft and maybe even runny, a bit like mustard, often a yellow-orange colour, but sometimes green
  • Might decrease in frequency but will stay quite soft until baby starts eating solids
  • May smell quite ‘sweet’. This can be affected by the foods that mum is eating

Normal baby poo for formula-fed babies:

  • Is generally firmer but can vary in colour and consistency
  • Can be grey-yellow or some shades of brown.

For formula-fed babies, changes in appearance and consistency can sometimes happen if you switch from one formula to another.

Constipation and Diarrheoa 

Constipation is when the poo is hard and dry, and looks pebble-like and is more likely to occur in formula-fed babies. This can be difficult for your baby to push out, which may cause pain and discomfort. Often, many older babies become constipated once solids are introduced and their digestive systems are adjusting to processing food versus just milk, but this normally sorts itself out after a few weeks. If it doesn’t, certain foods (like pear or kiwi fruit) may help to loosen the stools.

Diarrhoea is when your baby does loose or watery bowel movements, and this can be an indication of some sort of infection or gut upset occurring. See more below on diarrhoea and when to seek further advice.

Baby poo and colic

Babies with colic tend to have frequent bowel movements due to the build up of gas in the bowel. If using Willby’s, the gas build up is often relieved and this means that your baby may then go less frequently. For example, previously they may have done a poo every nappy and then it may change to only once per day — rest assured that this is very normal!

When to seek professional help and advice

  • Diarrhoea that persists and is accompanied by vomiting can be an indication of some sort of infection or gut upset occurring. If diarrhoea persists, it is then important to see your GP immediately to make sure baby doesn’t become dehydrated.
  • Explosive, green and/ or frothy poo may indicate lactose overload which is a result of an oversupply. Speaking to a Lactation Consultant or your Maternal Child Health Nurse may assist with this.
  • Breastfed babies who continue to have multiple poos per day, have a lot of wet nappies and remain unsettled, may point to an oversupply of milk. In this case, it can be beneficial to seek the advice of a Lactation Consultant or your Maternal Child Health Nurse.
  • If your baby has mucous and/or blood in their poo, this may be a sign of food intolerance or allergy. Speak with your GP or paediatrician immediately to discuss further treatment.

In addition to the above, if you’re ever feeling concerned about your baby, it’s important to talk to someone and to seek medical advice. Often a parent’s intuition is the best gauge on the wellbeing and health of your baby, so at Willby’s we always recommend trusting your inner voice.

Other helpful resources:

https://www.breastfeeding.asn.au/ Australian Breastfeeding Association
https://raisingchildren.net.au/ Raising Children Network
https://www.rch.org.au/ Royal Children’s Hospital

Post written by Dayna Bailey (Willby’s midwife)

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