Nobody obsesses about somebody else’s poop that parents of babies and toddlers. Each stool is examined for any irregularities. And when there is one, it’s a calamity. Google is consulted, and the self-diagnosis and prognosis for survival are questionable. Or is it? Like grown-ups, infants and toddlers sometimes have poop that doesn’t conform to their consistent pattern.
Green poop is more common than you’d think. While the color green may be symbolic of ‘good to go,’ when it comes to poop, it’s not. Parents start wondering what causes the green poop. And like all parents, they try to analyze what they did wrong to cause it.
Green poop after birth
It is normal for a baby’s poop to be green a few days after birth. The black meconium babies produce immediately after birth is replaced with a greenish poop. By Day 5, the poop will turn a more yellowish color. Babies are all unique, so there’s no need to panic if the color doesn’t change on Day 5. It is possible to do with the baby’s weight. If you’re concerned, ask a nurse or doctor for advice.
Other causes of green poop
If your baby is past the newborn stage and starts producing green poop, here are some of the reasons that could cause it:
- An oversupply of milk
When your breastmilk is high in sugar and low in fat, it can cause green poop. The quality of your breastmilk is determined to a great extent by your diet. A lactation specialist may be able to give you some advice on lowering the quantity but increasing the quality of your breastmilk.
- Ineffective breastfeeding
If your baby is battling to breastfeed, they only latch on shortly and get to drink the foremilk. This milk is rich in sugar but contains little fat. The milk that a baby drinks after the foremilk is normally balanced in terms of fat and sugar. It is called the hindmilk. But if your baby is not drinking for long enough, they don’t get to consume that hindmilk. As with the milk oversupply, if your baby drinks high-sugar low-fat milk, it can cause green poop. See a lactation specialist to get some advice on how to get your baby to feed more effectively.
- A stomach infection
A tummy bug may be the reason your baby starts making green poop. If you’re breastfeeding, it’s a good way to ensure recovery. But if your baby’s green poop is watery and they are in distress, consult a doctor immediately. Tummy bugs quickly lead to dehydration in babies. Left untreated, dehydration may result in death. A disease like a rotavirus is better treated early.
- An oversupply of milk
- A food intolerance
It’s possible that your baby’s green poop can be attributed to a food or drug allergy or sensitivity. These conditions are quite often genetic, so if either parent has allergies, they should be on heightened alert. It could, of course, be a completely new intolerance.The mother’s diet and what goes into her breastmilk could contain what the baby is allergic to. However, allergies are not indicated by a change in poop color alone. They tend to be accompanied by skin rashes, a change in breathing patterns, or disrupted digestion.
The increased levels of saliva produced in a baby’s mouth during teething can cause the poop to turn green. If your baby is teething, expect a change in their poop. This is especially true if they are cutting multiple teeth at the same time. Be prepared for more diaper changes together with the increased levels of discomfort.
- Eating solids
The introduction of solids into your baby’s diet may cause their poop to turn green. It’s the stomach’s way of adjusting to the introduction of new items into the diet. You can also expect green poop if you feed your baby a lot of green vegetables such as spinach, cabbage, and broccoli.