What Is Normal Breastfed and Formula-Fed Baby Poop?

AllisonMS, RDN, CDN

Read time: 5 minutes

What to know about your baby’s poop

  • What does baby’s first poop look like?

  • What is breastfed baby poop like?

  • What is formula-fed baby poop like?

  • When to check in with the pediatrician

Decoding the dirty diaper is one of the most unexpected duties that comes with having a newborn. Most parents never expected to spend so much time thinking about baby’s dirty diapers!

In general, younger babies tend to poop more often and then the number of dirty diapers per day or week reduces as they get older. Additionally, breastfed babies tend to poop more frequently than formula-fed babies.10

Baby’s first poop

A newborn’s first baby poop, called meconium, is black, tarry, and usually odorless1,2

Meconium is typically passed within the first 24 hours after birth.1,2

The first few days & weeks of a newborn’s poop: Color and consistency

After passing all the meconium, there are many colors of poop that are considered normal, including yellow, brown, and green.3

All babies are different, and the way that their little bodies digest breastmilk and formula will vary. This means that every baby’s poop pattern will look a little different.

With that said, below are some general poop descriptions that can help you decipher if what is coming out of your little one is normal.

Breastfed newborn poop

For a breastfed baby, your newborn baby’s poop goes through a few stages throughout their breastfeeding journey.

Color & Consistency: As the days progress and baby is feeding more, the stool gradually lightens in color, changing from dark black to greenish-black, to greenish-yellow, and finally to yellow with a seedy, mustardy look by day 4 to 6 and beyond.1,4

During this time it also becomes softer and more liquidy, staying that way in the early weeks and months.1

Number of Poops: Your baby should be having one black tarry poop on day one, 1-2 poops on day two, at least 3 poops on days three and four, then at least 4 poops on day 5 and beyond.5

Formula-fed newborn poop

Color & Consistency: Your formula-fed baby will also pass tarry meconium on day one, but after that, formula poop looks quite different. Formula-fed babies may have slightly firmer stools, usually pasty in consistency (a texture similar to soft clay or peanut butter), and yellow or tan in color.2

Number of Poops: You can expect anywhere from 1 to 8 stools per day during the first week of your formula-fed baby’s life. After that, it’s normal for baby to poop 1 to 4 times per day.4

If for any reason you are concerned, it is always a good idea to check in with the pediatrician.6

Learn about:

Top Breastfeeding Latching Tips

How much Formula does my Baby Need?

Your baby’s poop starting around 4 to 8 weeks of age

For both breastfed as well as formula-fed babies, pooping may slow down a bit between 4 to 8 weeks.

Breastfed baby poop

There is a wide variety of what is normal for breastfed babies: some babies will poop one or more times a day, some may poop after every feeding, and some may go up to a week without pooping at all.6

The reason breastfed babies may poop so infrequently is because breastmilk is digested almost completely, leaving very little solid waste to be eliminated.6

As long as your baby is gaining weight, nursing regularly, and stools are soft, there is usually no reason to be concerned.6

As always, if you have any questions, call your pediatrician.

Formula-fed baby poop

Typically, formula-fed babies have at least 1 bowel movement a day starting around this age.6

If your little one is pooping less often, seems to be straining, and stools are firmer than normal, this may be a sign of constipation.11 Check in with your little one’s pediatrician if you are concerned.6

Learn more:

How Can I Relieve Constipation for My Baby and Toddler?

How Do I Help My Breastfed Baby with Diarrhea and Constipation?

Your baby’s poop starting around 6 months

Around the age of 6 months or whenever solid foods are introduced, baby’s poop often becomes darker, larger, and firmer. It may also have a stronger odor.1

This is because your little one’s diet is shifting from all liquids to one that includes solids, and this will bulk up your child’s poop. Firmer stools mean your little one may poop less often and may strain a little more as they learn how to pass these more solid stools.

You may even notice bits of solid foods come through undigested! This can be normal since your little one is still learning how to chew or gum foods thoroughly.

Learn about: Introducing Solids: Signs of Readiness

Other colors of poop: When to check in with the pediatrician

The below instances could indicate that something may be going on with your little one, and a call to the pediatrician is needed.

1. Meconium not passing

Check in with the pediatrician if the meconium does not start to pass within 24 hours after birth.2

2. Red streaks or specks of black

These colors could indicate that blood is in your little one’s poop. However note that a red color could also be from a host of other things, such as baby eating red foods or taking red medicines.2,3,4

3. White or pale

When poop has a clay-like consistency and is light in color, it could signal a medical problem.2,3

4. Watery diarrhea

While it may be difficult to know when your baby is having diarrhea since their stool could already be fairly liquidy, if your little one is pooping more frequently than normal and their stool is more watery, it may indicate diarrhea.4

If this type of poop also has blood in it (which may look like red streaks), it could be an indication of an allergy, virus, or other medical issue.7

Anytime you feel baby’s poop is not normal, such as those consistencies and colors listed above, it’s best to give baby’s pediatrician a call to check in.

Learn More:

Major Allergens While Pregnant and Breastfeeding

Does my Baby or Toddler have a Milk Allergy or Lactose Intolerance?

Dehydration in Kids: How to Keep Your Baby or Tot Hydrated

Is your baby’s poop green?

Green stools are almost always normal. Here’s what to know if your baby’s poop takes on a green tint.

Sometimes a dark green stool can be mistaken for a black stool, especially in poor lighting.4 Dark green baby poop is usually normal, but always check in with your baby’s pediatrician if you think the stool is black.

Interestingly, while both formula-fed and breastfed babies can experience normal green poop, it is more common in formula-fed babies.4

Some medicines, supplemental iron, and even green foods, may turn your little one’s poop green.4

Occasionally, green-colored stools may show up when your baby has diarrhea. It often has to do with how much faster diarrhea moves through the body, and how this speed does not allow enough time for the normal, green-colored bile to break down.

Whenever you are unsure about your baby’s poop, pattern, or color, it is always best to check with your baby’s healthcare provider.

Learn More: Diarrhea in Older Babies and Toddlers.

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For more on this topic, check out the following articles:

Introduce Solids: First Foods & Textures

Introducing Solids: Purees vs Baby Led Weaning

Everything You Need to Know About How to Prepare and Store Infant Formula

Understanding Your Baby’s Hunger and Fullness Cues: Responsive Feeding

Breastfeeding: How to Support a Good Milk Supply