Why is baby poop seedy? And what does it mean if a breastfed baby’s poop is NOT seedy? How about formula-fed babies – can their poop be seedy too?
Let’s go through these questions about baby poop texture here.
What if the breastfed baby poop is not seedy..? My son is 7 weeks old and only breastfed. My issue is that his baby poop is not seedy and very infrequent (once a day). It has never been seedy.
This was never the case with my other two children. They were very seedy and very frequent (after each feeding). I’m less worried about the frequency and more about the texture.
I thought only formula-fed babies had “smooth” rather than seedy poop. Is that wrong?
My doctor thinks it’s normal. I just wanted to know if anyone else’s baby was like this or has any thoughts on the issue.
Besides the lack of seedy poop, my son seems happy and healthy.
Elisabeth (Huntsville, AL)
Baby Poop Frequency And Texture For the First Three Months
Just to provide a quick recap: for the first three days or so, all babies will have thick, sticky, dark greenish-black poop, usually once or twice a day. This is called ”meconium” and is made up of waste products from when your baby was still inside your womb.
When your baby is between three to five days old, their poop will gradually shift to a brownish-green color that is less sticky and a little looser. Most babies will start to poop two to three times a day.
Normal Breastfed Baby Bowel Movements
When your baby is around one week old, it should be fairly easy to see the difference in poop between breastfed and formula-fed babies. About the texture, you are quite right that seedy poop is the most common for breastfed babies. Often, the poop is mustard-yellow and loose.
If your baby is gaining weight, doesn’t have colic, and is overall healthy, I’d agree with the doctor – it is simply a normal baby poop variation.
Breastfed babies typically start pooping after every breastfeeding session when they are a week old. But it’s not a clear-cut rule, and not all babies are the same: sometimes, babies can poop every day, every three to five days, or even once a week!
The frequency of your baby’s bowel movements is still considered normal. At around six weeks of age, some breastfed babies start pooping much less often, even less than once per day. This is three times more common in breastfed babies compared to formula-fed babies. At your baby’s age, it can be almost a whole week between bowel movements for breastfed babies without anything being wrong! It’s most likely to be normal if their poop comes out soft anyway.
Normal Formula-fed Baby Bowel Movements
Formula-fed infants usually have strong-smelling, yellow, greenish, or tan-colored stools with peanut butter or pudding consistency. Sometimes, it can look runny instead. Formula-fed babies who are at least a month old may poop daily or every other day.
Why Breastfed Baby Bowel Movements are Most Often Seedy
It is amazingly hard to find information on why breast milk poop is seedy. Some say the seeds are small pieces of fat; others say they are milk protein.
Research shows that breastmilk mostly has water-soluble complex carbohydrates. It also has fewer fatty acids compared to milk formula. Overall, these make the poop of breastfeeding babies much softer compared to those of formula-fed babies.
Although the study doesn’t answer specifically why breastfed poop is seedy, it may explain why the poop comes out differently in shape and texture compared to formula-fed poop.
Can Formula-fed Baby Bowel Movements Be Seedy?
Usually, formula-fed babies have thicker, more formed yellowish to brown poop, with the consistency of paste or peanut butter. This is because formula milk does not contain the exact type of carbohydrates that breast milk naturally has. In this case, it would definitely be unlikely for a purely formula-fed baby to have seedy poop.
Is it Okay if Breastfed Baby Poop is Not Seedy?
Not all breastfed babies have seedy stools. It’s not a requirement for their poop to be seedy. While seedy stools are the most common shape for breastfed baby poop, it’s fine if they have a pasty or pudding-like consistency instead.
So in any case, the seeds are nothing to focus on, regardless of whether your baby’s poop is full of them.
For how long is it normal for baby poop to be seedy? What if a baby’s poop suddenly stops being seedy?
The texture of baby poop usually stays the same until they start eating complementary food (at around 6 months old), sometimes even up until they turn one! But it’s important to remember that babies who seem to have a hard time pooping and pass out hard stools may have constipation. If you feel that your child is constipated, have them checked by a doctor or qualified healthcare provider.
What are baby poop warning signs that something is wrong?
Here are some signs that should signal you to bring your child to the nearest doctor or hospital:
- Your baby is pooping a lot more often than usual
- Your baby’s poop looks much more watery than usual
- Your baby’s poop is smelly or smells different from the usual
- Your baby’s poop has flecks or drops of blood
- Your baby’s poop color is white, creamy, red, or black
- Your baby has episodes of fever, and you notice some changes in your baby’s poop
Bring a dirty diaper to the next check-up if you are still uncertain so that the doctor can evaluate it firsthand.
More On Baby Poop Variations
- Perinatal Services BC (2019). Baby’s Best Chance: Parents’ Handbook of Pregnancy and Baby Care, 7th ed. Government of the Province of British Columbia, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.
- The Pregnancy Book (2009). The Department of Health, National Health Service, Great Britain.
- Cleveland Clinic (2020). The Color of Baby Poop and What It Means.
- Çamurdan, A.D, Beyazova, U., Özkan, S. & Tunç, V.T. (2014). Defecation patterns of the infants mainly breastfed from birth till the 12th month: Prospective cohort study. Turk J Gastroenterol 2014; 25 (Suppl. -1): 1-5.
- Moretti, E. et al. (2019). The bowel movement characteristics of exclusively breastfed and exclusively formula fed infants differ during the first three months of life. Acta Pediatr. 2019 May; 108(5): 877-881.
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Paula Dennholt founded Easy Baby Life in 2006 and has been a passionate parenting and pregnancy writer since then. Her parenting approach and writing is based on studies in cognitive-behavioral models and therapy for children and her experience as a mother and stepmother. Life as a parent has convinced her of how crucial it is to put relationships before rules. She strongly believes in positive parenting and a science-based approach.
Paula cooperates with a team of pediatricians that you find here. They write or review all health-related articles.