Baby poop is a subject of great interest to new parents. Its color, consistency, and frequency are the topic of many a conversation. A baby’s poop can cover quite a color spectrum, so parents should be prepared for anything!
One of the most alarming ‘shades of poop’ is black poop. After birth, the baby needs to pass its first few stools. They are called meconium. Meconium is black. If the baby has not passed meconium within the first 2 days, consult a nurse or doctor.
Meconium is black because it is made up mucus and amniotic fluid and other substances that the baby consumed in the uterus. Your doctor will be concerned if the baby expelled the meconium while still in the uterus. It is dangerous if the baby then swallows the meconium.
In addition to the passing of meconium at birth, there are other reasons an older baby may start producing black poop. Black poop is not necessarily an indication of something being wrong. However, it should draw the attention of parents as it is rare after the passing of meconium at birth.
If your baby produces black poop, you need to monitor the situation. If it continues, it may be due to one of the reasons below.
- Digested blood
If your baby has had blood get into their gut and digested it, their poop will turn black. The blood becomes a dark red-black color as it’s digested. The cause of blood getting into your baby’s digestive system must be investigated immediately. Babies with reflux are prone to this.The acid that gets into the esophagus can damage it to the extent that it bleeds. A bleeding ulcer or gastritis, although quite rare, will do the same thing. While digested blood is serious, it could come from something as innocuous from a bloody nose. Or it can be blood swallowed from a breastfeeding mom’s cracked nipple. That’s why you need a doctor’s help to determine the cause and implement the correct treatment.
- New diet items
The introduction of new food into a baby’s diet may affect their stool color. It is a sign the stomach is getting used to the new items. However, if it persists days after the introduction of new foods, you might need to consult a doctor.
- Certain foods
There are specific foods that can cause your baby’s poop to be black. Berries and prunes are fruits that can do this. Another fruit that can cause black poop is a banana. The short little black threads from the banana can cause black poop. This is quite common in a still-developing digestive system. Licorice, Oreo cookies, and black candy can cause black poop too.
- Digested blood
Black poop could be an indicator that your baby is getting too much iron. If you are giving your baby iron supplements, iron-rich formula, or a multivitamin that is rich in iron, their poop could be black. Black poop from too much iron is usually tinged with green.Too much iron in the body is not good for you. If it’s possible your baby is getting too much iron, see a doctor who can help you get the right balance.
Poop that is hard and looks like little pebbles is an indication of constipation. It is possible for this poop to be blackish in color. It can be accompanied by fresh blood if the anus has been cut during the bowel movement. This happens when the poop is very hard. Constipation is possible when you are making changes to your baby’s diet.It is also caused when your baby is intolerant of the formula you’re giving them. The best thing is to get your baby’s bowel moving. A teaspoon of brown sugar dissolved in warm water is most often enough to do this. But if it doesn’t help, you may need to see your doctor for medication to relieve constipation.