Brush up on your nappy knowledge…

Use the arrows to scroll through the different nappies to discover what your baby’s poo is telling you.

Select a nappy


Colour: Greeny black.

Consistency: Tarry and sticky.

Smell: Doesn’t have much of a smell.

Expect to find meconium in your newborn’s nappy for the first few days of life.

Exclusively breastfed baby

Colour: Yellow or slightly green.

Consistency: Mushy or creamy – like mustard and cottage cheese mixed together.

Smell: Doesn’t have much of a smell.

May also have little seed like flakes dotted within.

Formula-fed baby

Colour: Brown – tan-brown, yellow-brown or green-brown.

Consistency: Paste like consistency, similar to peanut butter.

Smell: Has a stronger smell than exclusively breastfed baby’s stools.

Weaning, when solid food is introduced

Colour: Brown or dark brown.

Consistency: Thicker than peanut butter but still mushy.

Smell: Stronger smell than breastfed or formula-fed baby stools.


Colour: Yellow, green or brown.

Consistency: Very runny - more water than solids.

Smell: No significant difference.

Diarrhoea could be a sign of an infection or allergy,and can lead to dehydration. For further advice about diarrhoea in your baby, visit our Common Concerns page.

When to contact your health visitor or GP:

  • If your baby is younger than 3 months old
  • If your baby has two or more diarrhoea nappies
  • If your baby has diarrhoea for longer than a day


Appearance: Hard, pebble-like structure but no significant difference in colour or smell.

You may notice your baby is visibly uncomfortable when passing stool.

Constipation often happens when you begin weaning. Increasing fibre and fluids within your baby’s diet can help to relieve the symptoms and decrease the likelihood of constipation.

Constipation in one or two nappies isn’t normally a cause for concern but if your baby is constipated for three or more nappies you should contact your health visitor or GP.

Visible partially digested food

Appearance: Identifiable lumps of food or specs tinged with unusual colour (representative of the foods in your baby’s diet).

This is not something to worry about; some foods are only partially digestible or travel too quickly to be broken down completely by your baby’s digestive tract.

However, if your baby’s stool is consistently like this, do contact your health visitor or GP to check their digestive system is absorbing food and nutrients properly.


Colour: Dark green, almost black.

If your baby has iron supplements, or an iron-fortified diet their stools are likely to appear like this, which is completely normal. However, if your baby’s diet is not fortified with iron and appears this dark, contact your health visitor or GP.

Lots of foremilk, not enough hindmilk

Colour: Bright green.

Consistency: Similar to other breastfed babies but frothy.

Stools like this could be a sign your baby is getting lots of foremilk, the watery, low calorie milk that is produced at the start of a feed, and not enough hindmilk, the higher-fat milk that comes at the end of a feed.

This may be an indication that your baby is not feeding for long enough. Try beginning each feed on the same breast you finished the last feed on to help overcome this.

Blood in their stool

Colour: Bright red or dark red/black.

Consistency: Various consistencies depending on the cause.

Your baby’s stool can have blood in it for various reasons and it often appears differently. If you notice any blood in your baby’s stool, contact your health visitor or GP.

White stools

Colour: Very pale or white.

Very pale stool could indicate jaundice. This is common in newborns and usually clears up a few weeks after birth. However, chalky and white stools could also indicate problems with their liver.

Tell your health visitor or GP if your baby’s stools are white or very pale.

If you have any concerns about the appearance of your baby’s stool, or your baby’s health, please contact your health visitor or GP.

Date of preparation: September 2016

Date of preparation: May 2016

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