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The Truth About Baby Poop

Find out what color changes, diarrhea, and frequency may say about your baby's health.
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Colors of Concern

The main colors that should concern a parent and prompt an immediate call to the pediatrician are white, red, and black.

White poop can indicate an infection or a problem with bile, which is a fluid produced by the liver that aids digestion. Black is a sign of digested blood in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, and red indicates fresh blood that could be coming from the colon or rectum. 

Sometimes, however, breastfeeding newborns whose mothers' breast skin is cracking swallow their mother's blood while feeding, which comes through their stool, Wible says.

That's no cause for alarm, and your doctor can perform a simple test to tell who the blood belongs to.

Occasionally, green, mucus-like poop can be caused by a virus commonly seen in babies. If your child has green poop and symptoms of diarrhea, fever, or irritability, call your pediatrician.

Solid Food and the Changes They Bring

When your child begins eating solid food, expect more consistency and a change in the color of your child's poop, notes Wible.

"How it will change is unpredictable, but it will change," he says.

In general, it's a good idea to pay attention to the contents of your baby's diaper, as long as you keep it in perspective, Steinmetz says. Typical signs of an issue of real concern -- blood in the stool, vomiting blood, abdominal distention -- are hard to miss.

Still, if an issue is keeping you up at night, don't hesitate to call your doctor's office.

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Reviewed on September 24, 2013

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