Formula-fed baby poop is brown, firm, and a bit smelly. Decipher what’s in your baby’s diaper and learn more about your little one’s bowel movements, such as typical poop frequency and when a doctor’s visit is recommended.
What is formula-fed poop like?
Right after birth, all babies, whether breastfeeding or using infant formula, will have poop that is greenish-black, sticky, and tarry.
Around two to four days old, formula-fed babies will start to produce brownish stool, which may look tan, yellow, or greenish. The poop will have a pasty, peanut-butter-like consistency. Compared to breastfed babies, infants using formula often have larger, firmer, and smellier stools. Check out our Essential Guide to Baby Stool Types and Color for more scoop on baby poop.
How often should formula-fed babies poop?
Every baby is different, and there isn’t a magic number for how many bowel movements they should have in a day. But formula-fed little ones often follow these poop frequency patterns:
- Newborns: At least once or twice a day. Some may have a bowel movement after every feeding.
- One or two months: At least once a day, sometimes every other day.
- Starting solid foods: When babies start to incorporate solids into their diet around four to six months, it’s common for them to have around two poops a day.
Keep in mind every baby’s poop frequency might be a little different. So if your baby is pooping after every feeding or just once every two days, there is often nothing to worry about. But reach out to your pediatrician if you have any concerns or if your little one is having other stooling issues such as diarrhea, constipation, or stool that has mucus or blood.
Normal formula-fed baby poop colors
What could you expect to see in your baby’s diaper? Here are some formula-fed poop colors that are common in healthy babies.
- Dark yellow
- Brown, including light brown, tan, yellow-tan, and greenish-brown
Stool may also be dark brown, dark green, or black if your baby takes an iron supplement or iron-fortified formula. However, we recommend seeing your pediatrician if your baby is producing very dark stool and is not taking extra iron, as this sometimes indicates blood.
When to talk to your doctor
Your baby’s bowel movements can provide insights into their well-being. Healthy baby poop can come in various textures and a rainbow of shades and colors, but talk to your doctor if you notice the following issues. The below could indicate a potential health issue such as a virus, infection, cow’s milk protein allergy, lactose sensitivity, or other concern.
- Mucus in the stool, which looks like slimy, shiny strings
- White or very pale stool
- Red poop, which can’t be attributed to red food, such as beets
- Black stool if your baby isn’t using iron supplements or iron-fortified infant formula
- Frothy, green-colored stools
- Hard, dark stools, which could indicate constipation
- Diarrhea or very watery poop, which can quickly lead to dehydration
Ask your healthcare provider about Enfamil Reguline for occasional constipation
If your baby is using formula and experiencing occasional constipation, talk to your doctor and ask them if switching to Enfamil Reguline infant formula could help. It is a nutritionally complete formula that has prebiotics proven* to promote soft, comfortable stools within the first week of use.
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