Is green poop in babies normal? Does it indicate an infection?
Should I take my baby to the paediatrician whenever his soiled diaper is green in color?
How do I know if the green colour is not just due to some food item I / the baby consumed?
Did/ do you worry about all the above mentioned questions? Don’t be!
Through this post I will help you with all these questions – everything you wanted to know about green poop in babies.
When I was a teenager, one of the words that sounded scary for me was ‘baby poop’. Whenever I saw my cousin cleaning her baby’s bottom, I used to go ‘Ewwwww’. ‘How can she do it?’ – I used to wonder!
Years passed by, I got married, became a mother and now it was my turn to wipe my baby’s bottom. And I started wiping my baby’s bum without a hint of yuckiness!
Before you become a mom and you think about motherhood, the first thing that pops up in mind is a tiny baby, wrapped up and those soft little fingers and toes. What certainly doesn’t pop up in mind is the different coloured poo. But once you become a mom, things change.
As a parent you would have definitely gone through the various poop phases of your children. Right from the black meconium to the yellow, dark yellow, brown tinted poops, I can say we mothers are poop experts 😛
Why the color of poop turns green?
A healthy breastfed baby’s poop color would be mustard yellow. Formula fed babies have thicker stools compared to the exclusively breastfed babies.
The poop gets its color from the bile generated by the liver. The color of the poop might change due to a number of reasons.
14 Reasons for green poop in babies:
Here are the 14 reasons for green colored poop in babies.
#1. Intake of green vegetables/ leafy vegetables by mom or baby
This reminds me of the hilarious scene from the Bollywood movie ‘Shaadi K side effects’.
In a child’s birthday party, a group of new parents discuss about the green poop of babies after having spinach. Vidya Balan, the new mother joins the discussion with so much enthusiasm.
Farhan Akhtar playing the role of Vidya’s husband gets bugged with this nonsense talk and he embarrasses everyone telling that when he eats palak and corn, even his potty is green and yellow – like what went in, came out as it is!
Embarrassment and joke apart, this is so true!
If the baby is fed green vegetables like spinach, peas, beans or broccoli in the form of purees or soups, the poop can be green. Also if the lactating mother’s diet had green leafy vegetables like spinach, the baby can have green poop.
You can also read the 25 foods to be avoided or eaten in moderation by the lactating moms.
#2. Iron drops or supplements
If your baby is on iron supplements as suggested by your pediatrician, his/her poop can be dark green in color. It is the side effect due to the result of unabsorbed iron by the baby’s body.
Even if the lactating mother is on iron supplements, green poop can occur in babies.
You can also read whether your little one is getting adequate Vitamin D.
#3. Too much foremilk
If your baby’s poop is frothy in nature and bright green in color, it indicates that your baby is getting only the fore-milk, the thin watery breast milk that comes in the beginning when you breastfeed.
The fore milk is less in calories and supposed to quench the thirst of babies. It is rich in lactose the natural sugar present in breast milk. When too much lactose is received by the baby, it results in green poop. This usually happens when the lactating mother has oversupply of breast milk or if the breasts are swapped even before the hind milk comes out.
In case of oversupply, breast milk gushes out in large quantities that the baby gets full just with the fore milk and neglects latching on later.
In both the cases, the baby can have green poop due to the higher quantities of lactose received and remains gassy or fussy.
For babies to get the complete nutrition from the breastfeed, the fat rich hind milk should also be provided.
Make sure you read the benefits of breastfeeding you might not be aware of.
Once Anshika was down with fever and as I was changing her diaper, I noticed the foul smelly green poop. I took her to the pediatrician and took blood, stool and urine tests as suggested by him. She had an infection in her tummy and was suggested antibiotics for a few days.
The normal yellow color of poop returned within days.
Hence fever along with infections in the intestine can be the reason for green poop too.
Do read the article on how to cure fever, cold and cough in babies.
One of the main reasons for green poop in babies is diarrhea. Watery thin green foul smelled stools are an indication of the loose motion in babies caused by virus.
If the green watery poop has mucus in it, you should definitely consult the pediatrician as it can be an infection.
You can also refer to the 25 foods during loose motion that can be given to babies and kids.
#6. Change in the brand of formula
Don’t brand all formulas alike. Babies can develop allergies to certain brands of formula milk resulting in green poop. Hence if you notice a change in the color of your baby’s poop, do consult the pediatrician and seek changes in the formula brand you use for your baby. This is again a common cause and shouldn’t be a cause for concern. All you have to do is change the brand of formula.
You might also want to check out the signs and symptoms of allergies in babies.
During teething, babies drool a lot due to which a lot of saliva gets produced. It irritates the intestinal lining causing green poop in babies.
#8. Change in food patterns or started on solids
If you have recently changed the food patterns of your baby or have started solids for your little one, it can result in green poop.
You can also refer to the 15 first foods for your baby.
#9. Tummy upset
Often stomach flu or upset tummy can be a reason for green colored poop.
A simple cold can also the reason for the green poop in babies. You may also want to read the 21 home remedies for cold and cough in babies.
#11. Sensitivity to dairy intake of mother
If the lactating mother has included a new dairy product in her diet and if the baby is allergic to it, green poop can occur. Such babies would be usually cranky in nature.
It is not advisable for kids below one to have cow’s milk. So if you have given your child cow’s milk, then that could be the reason why your kid is passing green stools. It is best if you stick to breast milk. If you are unable to breastfeed, then formula is the next best option.
#12. Side effects of antibiotics
Antibiotics taken by the lactating mother or baby can also be the reason for green colored baby poop. Let your doctor know, he may prescribe a probiotic to help.
#13. Your baby is just less than 3 days old
Newborns pass sticky, dark green stools. It is called meconium. This is completely normal! All the food consumed by the li’l one in the womb will be expelled by him/her once he is out. Though the colour looks scary, it is a sign that the body is functioning well. The colour of the poo changes once they start to digest the breast milk/formula.
#14. Artificial food colours
Did your breastbfed child’s green poop happen a day after you had a cup cake with colourful frosting? Did your kid attend a birthday party where he/she had cakes/ juices with bright colours? The artificial food colouring in food items can cause a green hue in your child’s stools. I am not just talking about green coloured food items, purple and black colours can also cause green coloured stools!
Is there anything to be worried about green poop in babies?
Occasional green poop in babies are completely fine. However if you see the following signs, then you should consult the pediatrician ASAP.
- Frequent green stools: If your baby has frequent green stools, it is definitely recommended to consult the pediatrician right away.
- Dehydration – Frequent passing of green stools coupled with signs of dehydration can be serious and needs immediate medical attention.
- Blood in stools: If the green poop has red stains or blood in it, you should be worried.
- Rashes: If your little one has rashes along with odd looking stools, let your doctor know.
- Foul smelling, frothy stools – Green stools in itself may not be a cause for concern, but when it is coupled with foul smelling and frothy poop it could be a sign of an infection. While frothy green poop can be a sign of too much foremilk, froth can be caused by the presence of mucus in the poo too. If you know for sure that foremilk is not the culprit, then you need to rule out infection.
- Sudden drop in weight – A sudden drop in weight coupled with green stools warrants a trip to the doctor.
- Bloated tummy – If your child has a bloated tummy and has been passing green stools for more than 2 days, it would be wise to get a check up done.
- Pain/cramps in stomach – Does your child have stomach pains/cramps? While it is difficult for you to find out if your baby has pain or cramps, crankiness and pulling the feet up while crying is a tell-tale sign.
Also read: 9 Home Remedies To Treat Gas in Babies and Toddlers
It’s said a baby’s diaper gives out the indicators of his/her health. Always make sure to notice the freshly soiled diaper as with time the poop gets oxidized and might change color to green.
Green poop in babies is completely fine as long as the baby is gaining weight. Do take the baby to the pediatrician if you find blood stains or streaks along with the green poop.
If the baby has frequent green stools, but at the same time is gaining weight the main reason is overload of lactose in the baby’s system. Such babies are usually gassy in nature. The mother has to make sure that the fat rich hind milk is also provided to the baby.
If you are having oversupply issues, do make sure to express a little quantity of milk before feeding your baby. Also while feeding, switch baby from one breast to another only after he has taken fat rich thick hind milk.
If the baby has consistent green stools and is cranky in nature, it indicates the sensitivity to the dairy intake of the mother. Such babies can have allergies, rashes or even eczema. Do make a small diary of what you ate, what could have caused the green poop and thereby avoiding those dairy products in your diet for a while.
If your baby has green poop but in small quantities, it indicates the insufficient milk intake of the baby. In such cases, the baby will be sleepy or fussy in nature. Do make sure to offer the same breast the baby had the last time for him/her to get the hind milk. Swap the breast only after its empty.
Hope now you are clear whether green poop in babies can be completely normal at times.
Have you faced this green poop phase of your baby? Did you panic then? Do share your experience with me in the comments below.
Image credit: Ewen Roberts