Why Does My Baby Have Green Poo?
The usual colour of a breastfed baby’s poo is mustard or yellow. Plenty of soft yellow poo after day five of life shows your baby is drinking plenty of breast milk. A green poo on day three of life is normal. Later, an occasional green poo is not unusual, but what about frequent green nappies? What do they mean?
Green poo may be normal for your baby
If your baby frequently has a green poo or yellowy green poo but is gaining weight well and is happy and content, it may just be normal for your baby.
Research shows that babies having phototherapy for jaundice have plenty of green poop “the colour of creamed spinach” as the bilirubin is excreted.
If your baby frequently has a green poo, is gaining weight but is quite fussy or gassy, your baby could be showing signs of “lactose overload“. A lactose overload-sometimes described as foremilk-hindmilk imbalance or oversupply-will normally be accompanied by a very plentiful milk supply and lots of frothy or foamy green stools. With oversupply, a baby may be getting an excess of high lactose (sugar), lower-fat milk making it difficult to digest properly which causes the foamy, watery, green poop. Occasionally a baby will not gain weight very well with lactose overload, despite a plentiful milk supply.
Not enough milk
If your baby has minimal green poo (not many dirty nappies and not much green poo in each nappy) this can indicate insufficient milk intake. If your baby is not getting enough milk, he may be fussy and tense—sometimes wanting to feed “all day” or he may be very sleepy and he will not be gaining much weight. An IBCLC lactation consultant can help you devise a plan to increase your milk supply and ensure your baby is getting enough milk.
An allergy to something in mum’s diet
If your exclusively breastfed baby frequently has a green poo and is quite fussy and difficult to settle and may have other symptoms e.g. eczema or a blocked nose he may have a sensitivity to something mum has eaten such as cows’ milk products. You may find reading about elimination diets helpful.
A tummy upset
If your baby is poorly with a tummy upset or a cold or recovering from an intestinal illness this may cause green poo (check with your GP).
Something green in mum’s diet
If mum (or baby) has eaten a lot of green vegetables or something with green food colouring, baby’s nappies may be green to match. This may not be a concern unless your baby is also upset and fussy or seems to have tummy ache in which case chat with your breastfeeding specialist about whether to make changes to mum’s diet. A mum taking a lot of fenugreek for her milk supply may notice her baby has green poop.
Medications for mum or baby
Some antibiotics or other medications may cause poop to rush through the bowel more quickly causing green nappies. Many mums have also reported sudden onset of green poop following a baby’s vaccinations (check with your GP if you have any concerns).
Teething is sometimes reported to cause greening and loosening of poop which is thought to be connected to swallowing extra saliva.
Written by Laura Doyle staff writer at FFHQ who also blogs at www.lovelifeandlittleones.com.