Greenish poop in baby can be quite alarming especially among first-time parents. It is normal to feel worried and stressed when you see something usual such as green poop coming out of your baby’s system. But is it really something to worry about?
Having a new baby does not come with an instruction manual. In the same way that being parents do not also come with an instruction guide. It is a step by step, day to day process of learning and re-learning.
As new parents, one of the hardest parts of being one is when you find something usual for your baby. It could be how he reacts or how he speaks, or even on things like poop!
I remember, when my kid was just a few weeks old, I got so worried when I saw greenish poop in baby. I panicked and was quite scared. I thought there was something going wrong with him. While family and friends would reassure me that it was nothing to worry about, I couldn’t contain the feeling. I was so anxious I had to rush him to his healthcare provider to be sure.
Do you find this relatable? Well, if you also had the same scenario, don’t worry, this only means you are not alone. As parents, we have so many things to learn from.
You know, the thing about babies that we tend to really worry about is the fact that they cannot speak for themselves. They can’t tell when they are not feeling well. Thus, parents like us worry whenever we see something unusual – in my case, it was the greenish poop in baby.
But does greenish poop in baby exist anyway? Is there really a reason for parents especially moms to worry when they see their baby’s poop in green color?
What is the Normal Color and Consistency of Baby’s Poop?
First and foremost, as parents, I think it is a must that we familiarize ourselves with the different color and consistency of baby poop. This will help us stay calm in cases when your baby’s poop color turns to something unusual.
During the first few days of the baby after birth, it is very normal for them to have black stools. In fact, babies’ first stool is really colored black. There is totally nothing to worry about that. That color normal and is caused by the black and tarry meconium that was in your baby’s gut during birth.
If you are breastfeeding well, normally, baby’s poop changes to “transitional stools” by about the third day after baby’s birth. Transitional stools normally have a dark greenish color. When the baby reaches the fifth day onwards after birth, the poop will eventually change to the usual yellow color. Furthermore, the consistency by then may look like split pea soup or liquid containing seedy bits in it, or in some cases, just plain liquid, which is totally normal. The yellow poop is usually mostly made from fat in your milk (if you are breastfeeding).
Please note that during the baby’s first to six weeks, if they are gaining weight, it is normal that they release poop at least 3 to 4 times daily. Usually, stools of your baby are at least the diameter of a US quarter, which is 22 millimeters or bigger.
When your baby is pooping a lot, there is totally nothing to worry about as it only means he or she is getting lots of milk. However, too few poops would mean it is time for your baby to have a weight check. Normally, when your baby is below 6 weeks old, and his or her pooping is fewer than 3 to 4 times daily, or that his or her poop has not transitioned to yellow in color yet, a weigh check will be done. Weigh check helps will help tell you whether or not everything is normal or if there is something that is a cause of concern.
Experts say that not until after some healthy breastfed babies turn 6 weeks that they poop much less. In some instances, even once a week. You may check your baby’s weight through his or her healthcare provider’s office. A normal weight gain for babies is about 1 oz. or 30 grams per day. Lower than that might be a cause of concern. Also, regardless of the amount of gained weight, for as long as he or she is gaining weight, there should be nothing to worry about. Needless to say, if your baby poops fewer than expected, there is also nothing to be concerned about – that’s considered as totally normal.
How Much Poop Is Considered Normal?
According to experts, it depends on the baby’s diet and also the age. As mentioned earlier, when your baby is just a few weeks old, it is normal that they poop a lot in a day. Meanwhile, when they are a little bit older, it is normal to have fewer poop sessions in a day.
However, according to Kenneth Wible, MD, associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Missouri and also the pediatrics medical director at Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics in Kansas City, generally, breastfeed babies have more and thinner stools compared to babies who are formula-fed. He also added that about five to six stools a day are considered normal among younger babies.
Also, note that there the kind of milk that your baby takes has something to do with the frequency of poop.
What Does A Poop Color Mean?
As earlier mentioned, baby poop color changes. It is also normal among parents (myself included) to be concerned when the color of the poops are changing. Although generally, it shouldn’t be a cause of concern.
According to experts, the color of the poop has nothing to do with anything but the transit time of food in the baby’s system, as well as the bile that is coming through the baby’s GI tract.
For your reference –
When the poop is yellow, it basically means the milk is moving through your baby’s system quickly. Meanwhile, when the process of transmission slows down, most often than not, greenish poop in baby appears. In some cases, even slower processing of food may turn the poop into brown color.
What Poop Color Must Parents Be Concerned About?
Now, poop color can also indicate health concerns. And as a mom, or as parents in general, we must be aware that when we notice these colors in our babies’ poop, it must be a sign that we need to see a doctor as soon as possible.
Primarily, the colors of the baby’s poop that must concern parents are white, red, and black.
– White Poop – Once you notice white poop coming out of your baby, you must immediately see a healthcare provider as it can indicate an infection or a problem with your baby’s bile, which refers to the fluid created by the liver that helps in digestion.
– Black Poop – Black poop among younger babies may be normal, but it’s a different story when your baby is a few months older. Black poop can be a sign of digested blood in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.
– Red Poop – Meanwhile, red in the poop may indicate fresh blood that could possible coming from the rectum or colon of the baby.
In some instances, when babies have greenish, mucus-like poop, it can also be a reason to be worried about as it may be caused by a virus commonly seen in babies.
Furthermore, greenish poop in baby along with symptoms of diarrhea, irritability, or fever, maybe a reason for you to call your pediatrician immediately.
What Causes Greenish Poop In Baby?
Commonly, experts say that greenish poop may have something to do with the stool being rushed through the GI tract too quickly, and the bile does not get digested, thus the color. However, there are also other possible reasons why greenish poop in baby appears, and these are:
When your little one’s poop is greenish in color and looks like it contains mucus, and the consistency is that of diarrhea, most likely, something is irritating your baby. It could be a stomach bug or could be caused by stress.
To help normalize your baby’s poop, if you are breastfeeding, make sure to maintain your usual feeding schedule. Needless to say, your milk provides antibodies that will help in your baby’s faster healing and recovery.
- Food Intolerance
Another possible reason for greenish poop in baby is having a food intolerance. In fact, according to experts, it is a leading cause of the baby’s stool turning into a green color. Food intolerance may have something to do with the mom’s diet (if breastfeeding) or formula milk.
One of the main ingredients that babies usually react to is cow’s milk. But for breastfed babies, many other foods, beverages, as well as medications may cause the change of color of your baby’s poop.
Normally, when your baby experiences food intolerance, he or she may develop eczema, and may also act irritable when being fed.
- Foremilk Hindmilk Imbalance
When breastfeeding your baby, it is important to be aware that your milk changes throughout a lactation session. Initially, your breasts produce low-fat and high-sugar “foremilk” that turns into high-fat, high-calorie “hindmilk” as your nursing session progresses.
The thing is, if you notice that your baby tends to have shorter breastfeeding sessions than usual, it may be a sign that your little one is getting more foremilk than hindmilk. This is also common for moms ho switch breasts too quickly during nursing sessions.
Apart from green, frothy poop, too much foremilk may also lead to gassiness.
- Green Foods
When breastfeeding your baby, what you eat may also affect the color of your baby’s poop. For instance, if the mom eats green, leafy vegetables or food with green coloring, it is likely to make her baby’s poop greenish in color too.
The same applies when your baby starts eating solids already. When your baby east green baby foods like spinach, lettuce or pureed peas, the more likely it is for his or her stool to have tints of green.
- Insufficient Milk Intake
Another possible cause of greenish poop in the baby is insufficient milk intake. When your little one does not get enough milk, it is common that your baby’s stool turns green. In addition, your baby won’t poop regularly, which is normally at least 3 to 4 times daily for newborns. Apart from that, your baby won’t gain weight, and may also act sleepy or fussy.
- Iron Supplements
Another probable cause of greenish poop in baby is when your little one is taking an iron supplement. Most likely, your baby’s poop is dark green in color.
According to KidsHealth.org, jaundice is a common condition among babies that usually happens when there is “too much bilirubin in the baby’s blood”. Babies with jaundice normally have a yellow coloring of the skin.
Some experts say that newborns that are being treated for jaundice with phototherapy may discharge green poop.
Diarrhea is another common reason why the baby’s poop turns green. Diarrhea transpires when the small intestines are unable to absorb enough water, which is usually caused by a virus. Because of this condition, the amount of water and electrolytes in poop changes. Also, the material moves through the digestive system faster than usual, thus, causes the change of poop’s color.
- Sensitivity to Food or Drug
When a baby is sensitive or allergic to a food or drug, it is more likely for your baby to discharge greenish or mucus-like poop. In some instances, you may even notice bits of blood in it. Although it may be worrisome, it is not considered a serious condition.
Experts say that teething can also lead to greening and loosening of baby’s poop. Experts thought it to be connected with the swallowing of extra saliva. So, if you notice your baby has greenish poop, might as well check his or her gums as there may be a new tooth coming out.
- Ineffective Breastfeeding
In some cases, ineffective breastfeeding may also cause the poop to turn greenish in color. Normally, this happens on the fifth day of the baby after birth. Ineffective breastfeeding means the baby cannot drain the breast well enough.
How to Avoid Greenish Poop in Baby?
While there really is no concrete ways to avoid greenish poop in baby, some experts suggest doing the following:
– Be mindful of what you eat or what your baby eats. If you or your baby had green-colored food intake, expect your little one to discharge greenish poop. Although it doesn’t really happen all the time.
– Avoid food that may cause an allergic reaction. As much as possible stay away from eating highly allergenic food to avoid any disturbance in your baby’s body.
– Breastfeed your baby well. When breastfeeding, make sure to take your time. Do not hurry. Offer one breast and then the other to ensure there is a balance between foremilk and hindmilk.
– Keep your baby away from stress. Like adults, babies get stressed too. Thus avoid putting your baby in stressful situations.
There are just some ways to avoid discoloration of your babies’ poop. But if your baby continues to discharge greenish poop even if you did try to avoid above, take it as a cue that you need to call your healthcare provider already.
When to See a Doctor?
It is common for first-time moms to call the doctor right away whenever we see something unusual in our little ones – including greenish poop in baby. While not all poop color changes are harmful, you must immediately see a healthcare provider if your baby has any of the following:
– Pale Poop – Pale or clay-colored poop may have something to do with the pancreas, gallbladder, or liver. The moment you see your baby discharging pale poop, make sure to see your doctor right away. All the more if it comes with symptoms like vomiting or pain.
– Dark Poop – While very dark poop is normal among newborns, which is called meconium, older babies discharging dark-colored or black poop may mean there is gastrointestinal bleeding. Carefully monitor your baby for 12 hours. If it does not improve, make sure to immediately call a doctor.
– Diarrhea – Call a doctor if your baby is showing signs or symptoms of diarrhea which include loose, watery bowel; abdominal cramps; fever; abdominal pain; blood in stool; mucus in the stool; as well as bloating and nausea.
In addition, call a doctor right away if you see any of the following symptoms:
- Signs of dehydration
- A fever higher than 100.4°F
- Lack of interest in eating
- Vomiting for longer than a day
As a first-time mom, I must say that parenting is not easy. Needless to say, it comes with a lot of scary moments – including seeing greenish poop in baby. Well, at least the first time we experienced it with our baby, I was really worried. Good thing our healthcare provider assured us there was nothing to worry about.
While it is generally fine to see greenish poop in your baby, if your gut feel tells you otherwise, I highly recommend following your instinct. It is always better to prevent any harm or illnesses than curing them. Needless to say, it is better to be sure than regret not doing what you thought you should have done. After all, babies are the most delicate people in the world.