Newborn watery poop can surprise new parents, especially when the baby is breastfed. It might be a sign that the baby has diarrhea. It is important, therefore, to determine if a baby's watery poop is normal or something to be concerned about.

Newborn Watery Poop---What’s Normal and What’s Not Normal?


It is normal for a newborn baby to have watery or loose stools in the early months after birth when she is only receiving mother's milk. This stool is often yellowish-brown in color and is similar to mustard in consistency. It is also common to see white particles that look like seeds in the stool. However, there are many normal variations in the stools among breastfed babies, but soon you should see what looks like normal stool for your baby.

Not Normal

Even if the stool of a breastfed baby is somewhat watery, you will notice when she has diarrhea if there is extra liquid in the stool, which forms a “ring” around the stool in the baby's diaper. The stool may also be greenish, frothy and odorous. Bloody streaks in the stool may also be seen, and if these are accompanied by fever and weakness, your baby may be sick.

Causes of Newborn Watery Poop

Watery stool may be caused by an infection, and this is most likely to be accompanied by fever and other symptoms. It can also happen when the mother eats dairy products and sugary foods. Teething in children can also produce stools that are watery because of additional saliva being swallowed.

When to See a Doctor

Most cases of watery stools improve within a few days to two weeks, especially if the baby remains well and active. However, in children with diarrhea, a serious complication is dehydration. Signs of dehydration include drying of the mouth, sunken eyes, loss of weight, lethargy and fewer wet diapers. Call your doctor immediately when signs of dehydration appear.

Treatment of Newborn Watery Poop

Treatments may vary depending on the cause of diarrhea. These include dietary changes and medications as prescribed by doctors. Some tips offered by doctors include:

  • Continue breastfeeding as usual.
  • If the baby is vomiting, feed her in small amounts, but frequently. Breastfeeding time may be shortened but done frequently.
  • Offer an electrolyte solution (i.e, Pedialyte) between feedings to prevent dehydration. Replace feedings with electrolyte solution as recommended.
  • For bottle-fed babies who have watery stools for more than a couple of weeks, consult your doctor about changing her formula.
  • Vomiting and diarrhea may be signs of possible infection, which can become serious in newborns and young babies due to rapid dehydration. Seek medical treatment as soon as possible. This may require special tests for diagnosis and intravenous fluid administration when the baby is hospitalized.

Watery Poop in Baby---Can It Be Diarrhea?

Signs that your baby may have diarrhea include:

  • Very runny poop
  • Baby poops more frequently or passes more poop than usual
  • Baby spurts out poop from her bottom in an explosive manner

Experts say that babies are less likely to have diarrhea if they are breastfeeding because a mother's milk prevents harmful bacteria from growing. On the other hand, babies who feed from a bottle are more likely to develop infections. It is therefore important to practice thorough hand-washing and proper bottle sterilization.

Possible causes of diarrhea include:

  • gastroenteritis
  • excessive intake of fruit juice
  • side effect of medications
  • food allergy or sensitivity
  • Certain brands of formula milk may cause reactions that lead to diarrhea. Talk to your doctor before switching brands.

Teething is often associated with loose stools but not diarrhea. If she has diarrhea, she may be having an infection, but it is not necessarily due to teething.

In older babies, watery poop may be a sign of constipation because it may be leaking past a dry, hard poo, which is blocking its way out.

Watery stools usually clear up even without treatment in 24 hours. If the baby does not show signs of improvement, call your doctor to avoid the risk of dehydration. It is also important to see a doctor immediately if the baby has had about six or more episodes of diarrhea.

Watch to learn more about baby diarrhea and how to deal with it:

Normal Breastfed Baby Poop and Normal Formula-fed Baby Poop

For breastfeeding babies, normal poop is usually:

  • Brown, green or mustard yellow
  • Pasty or seedy
  • Sweet-smelling
  • Frequent, occurring after every feeding for some babies or at least 5 times per day

For babies who are feeding on formula, normal poop is usually:

  • Brown or yellowish-brown
  • Soft as pudding or nut-butter
  • Smelling like regular poo
  • Less frequent, occurring 3-4 times per day