Meconium to Breast Milk Poops: What’s normal and when to worry

Meconium to Breast Milk Poops: What’s normal and when to worry

From meconium to transitional to yellow curdy… baby’s poops go through a lot of changes in the first few days of life. We will walk you through what to expect and when to worry through each of the stages.




1) meconium


The very first poop a baby passes is called ‘meconium’. It is black, sticky and looks like tar. (See a photo of meconium poop here.) You can expect that your baby will pass several of these hard-to-wipe-off stools.

Meconium contains everything your baby swallowed while still in the womb. When baby passes the first meconium stool, we know his bowels are hooked up and working the way they should.

Sometimes babies stool before they are born, staining the amniotic fluid a yellow or greenish color. If this should happen, your doctor or midwife will check baby carefully at birth to be sure none of it has entered baby’s lungs.


Check with your healthcare provider if:

  • You newborn has never pooped.
  • Your newborn has not pooped for more than 24 hours.
  • Your baby continues to have meconium poops after 4 days old.


2) transitional poop


Once your baby has cleared out the meconium from his digestive tract, his poop will change to a browny green color, possibly containing whitish curds. It is not as sticky, making it much easier to wipe away on baby’s bottom. We call this stage ‘transitional’ poop. This type of poop usually begins sometime after baby’s first 24 hours. It will gradually transition to the third type of poop.


3) yellow breast milk poops


By the time baby is 3 days old, you should begin to see yellow “seedy” poops. Breast milk poops are very loose and full of curds. The consistency will be much like mustard! Some parents mistake this type of poop for diarrhea because it is so liquid. Breastfed babies tend to poop very often, sometimes every time they eat!

Formula fed baby poop will differ slightly. It has more of a “pasty” consistency, much like peanut butter. Babies fed formula may not stool as often as breastfed babies. When they do stool, it tends to be a larger volume and have more of an odor.

Babies who are fed both breast milk and formula will have some combination of the above.


Check with your healthcare provider if:

  • Your baby is less than 3 weeks old and has not pooped for over 24 hours. (This can be normal but it is best to make sure baby is drinking enough milk.)
  • There is blood in baby’s stool.
  • Baby passes stools that are hard and dry.


To see photos of newborn baby poops, click here. (Warning! the photos are graphic.)


Want to learn more about newborn care?

The Simplest Way to Care for Baby’s Cord

How to Bathe a Baby



thumbnail cindy and janaAbout the authors:

Cindy and Jana are Registered Nurses and International Board Certified Lactation Consultants who have assisted over 20,000 families.


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