Baby poo can take on a number of colours and consistencies. At some point, you may notice that your baby has green poo, and here’s the thing: Green poo may indicate a health problem, but it could also be perfectly normal. Learn how to tell the difference between green baby poo that requires medical attention and green poo that does not.
What causes green poop?
Normal baby poo can range from yellow to green to brown. For babies, the biggest factor that influences poo colour is the time it takes the poo to pass through the baby’s system. Bile is secreted by the liver, which aids in digesting fats and causes yellow poo. When poo passes through the intestinal tract at a rapid pace, it causes green baby poo. When passing at a more normal pace, poo will be yellow or brown.
Frothy green poop: Breastfed babies may have green poo that looks frothy due to an excess of foremilk in their diet. Foremilk is the milk that a breastfed baby receives first, and it has a much lower fat content. If your baby’s poo is green and frothy, they may need more hindmilk, the higher-fat milk that comes later during breastfeeding.
To ensure that your baby is getting plenty of fat from hindmilk, be sure to empty one breast completely before switching to the other. This may take some patience on your part, especially in the beginning when breastfeeding is still being established. If you suspect that your baby is not getting enough hindmilk due to frothy green poo, or if you’re having trouble breastfeeding, reach out to a lactation consultant.
Bright green poo with mucus: Sometimes when your baby is drooling a lot, some mucus may be present in their poo. However, when mucus is present in a baby’s nappy for more than two days, this could be an indication of an allergy or infection. The mucus will usually appear as slimy, glistening strings in the nappy. You should notify your pediatrician if mucus is present in your baby’s poo, especially when it’s accompanied by any other symptoms.
When should you be concerned about your baby’s green poop?
Baby’s first poos — called meconium — will be a black colour, but within a couple days after birth, the colour will transition to a light green colour. From there, the poo should gradually darken. The occasional green poo baby exhibits is usually nothing to worry about, but if the poo remains consistently green for days or weeks at a time, visit a pediatrician to ensure that there are no underlying health conditions to address.