Red Bottom, Green Poop

In researching coffee enemas, I discovered a post called Red Tushies and Green Poop. I wish I could have read this when Manny was a baby (can you believe he’s 3 1/2 now?!). No one seemed too concerned about the detail, though I did research it a bit. Nowhere did my research point to gut irritation as the cause of the strange breastmilk poop color. At least, not 3 years ago.

But as the author of that post says, consistently green poop is not normal. The occasional green poop from getting too much foremilk, or from an illness is one thing. To have it day in and day out isn’t. I don’t know when Manny’s poop turned green (it wasn’t at birth), but Ralfie’s poop started turning green between 6 and 7 weeks old. Now at almost 8 weeks I am forgetting what normal breastmilk poop looks like. I’ll spare you pictures, but Google has quite a few good examples.

The truth is, a breastfed baby’s poop should be orange with white curds in it. Ralfie’s poop is orange green or mossy green and has almost no curds at all. He also has a lot of gas, which sometimes makes him uncomfortable. The Red Tushies article puts it this way:

While there is a wide range of normal in color for a baby’s bowel movements, a persistent mossy color can indicate something is up.  The green may also be tinged with blood (usually dark in color).  Consult your doctor immediately if you see blood in your baby’s diaper.  While bright-red blood typically indicates a fissure or other lesion near the opening to your baby’s anus, darker blood comes from further up and can indicate allergic/sensitive irritation or something more complex.  With or without the presence of blood, you may also notice that your baby’s bowel movements are frothy, foamy, or mucousy.  While this is fairly common, it is not normal and should be investigated.

How I wish I’d known that when Manny was a baby! Some of the comments said it was yeast, though the author didn’t feel that the red anus indicated yeast unless it was accompanied by other symptoms of yeast (which she lists). I’m not so sure. Just because there is yeast in the gut doesn’t mean that there will be a yeasty diaper rash. Although Manny did get one at one point (we cleared it up with an OTC anti-fungal cream). My daughter had thrush in her mouth but it never made it to her diaper (thankfully that, and a bad case of diarrhea that dehydrated her so badly she had to be hospitalized, was the worst thing she ever had healthwise; she’s the picture of health today). I’ve heard stories of someone with yeast testing negative for yeast in the stool. It seems yeast can change its nature and do all kinds of weird things.

What is the point of all this? If your exclusively breastfed baby has consistently green poop and redness around the anus, chances are something is wrong with his gut. Whether it is pathogenic bacteria, as Manny most certainly had, or yeast, or both, or something else, that isn’t my place to say. I’m no doctor. But it does give you a place to start working, and definitely can help you focus your time with the doctor in an area that will be more profitable, in terms of finding the cause, than simply discussing skin care.

If your baby is on formula, their poop will be different. And once you introduce solids, breastfed or formula fed babies will both have similar poop–at least, once solids comprise a good share of the diet. However, the redness around the anus will still be there. Both my sons have it. What about your baby?

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