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Your Baby Week Thirteen (Three Months Old)

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Updated May 16, 2014

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Infant Q&A - Color of Bowel Movements

My baby's bowel movements are sometimes green. Is that okay?

The color of your baby's bowel movements is much less important than most parents think.

While the color can be a sign that your baby has a gastrointestinal problem, such as a stomach virus or food intolerance, it is just as likely to be normal if your baby has no other symptoms.

When bowel movements are green, that typically means that food is moving through your baby's intestines rather quickly for some reason. This can be caused by diarrhea or a high fiber diet, but can also simply be normal.

Signs that your baby's green bowel movements might be caused by a medical condition could include that your baby is also fussy, gassy, has diarrhea, or is vomiting. These additional symptoms could mean that your baby has an infection, like rotavirus, or an intolerance to something he is eating. If your baby is breastfeeding, then green bowel movements with other symptoms could be a sign of an intolerance to something his mother is eating or drinking, like milk or cheese.

Your baby might also have yellow stools when he has a stomach virus.

Stool Colors

Although parents worry about green stools, it is typically more concerning, and you should call your pediatrician if your baby's bowel movements are:

  • bright red - a sign of active bleeding somewhere in the intestine or more commonly, from a tear in the rectum from constipation
  • black - a sign of bleeding from the stomach or small intestine, but which would usually also cause the stool to be tarry and foul smelling (melena)
  • pale or clay colored - a sign that there is no bile in the stool

Keep in mind that Omnicef, a commonly used antibiotic, can make a child's bowel movements appear red or orange because of how it interacts with iron.

Related Video
The ABCs of a Newborn's Poop
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