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Breast Feeding

Dark green stool

04/30/2000

Question:

My breastfed baby had a dark green stool recently. All of his other stools have been the usual seedy yellow ones. He is ten weeks old and has been growing well. What is the cause of the green stool, should I be concerned? The subsequent stools were back to the normal yellow again.

Answer:

I don`t think you should be concerned about an occasional change in the color of your son`s stool, especially since it didn`t seem to bother him and his stools reverted to their usual yellow color. Many mothers report their fully breastfed babies occasionally pass an unusual-colored stool, and green is one of the most frequently cited colors. In spite of the frequency of it, there is little information about the reason stool may occasionally change color. I`ve heard theories that it may be related to interaction with the air if a stool is in the diaper longer than usual, exposure to bacteria in the intestinal tract, or some other response to a mild illness. If your son ever receives any other food or infant formula besides your milk, the other food/formula may affect stool color.

If your baby would ever begin to pass green stools regularly, write again. Frequent green stools may indicate a need to change the breastfeeding routine slightly, especially when it is combined with a change in his disposition or weight gain pattern. However, many fully breastfed babies will occasionally have a change in stool color without it seeming to have any significance.

All the best for you and your new baby!

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Response by:

Karen Kerkhoff Gromada, MSN, RN, IBCLC
Adjunct Clinical Instructor
College of Nursing
University of Cincinnati