My 2 Month Old Has Really Loose Stools

Updated on June 18, 2008
A.A. asks from Orange, CA
9 answers

Hello everyone, I’m a new mom of a beautiful 2 month old little girl. She was recently having problems having a bowel movement and now she has supper loose stools and I’m getting poop in almost every diaper. Im breast feeding "which I know can cause loose poop" but this stuff is green. This morning I went through 4 diapers before it stopped. She is also sneezing and sounds a little congested and I don't know if one has anything to do with the other. I’m kind of worried but the pediatrician says there is nothing I can do about it. I was wondering if anyone has had that and if so, if I can get some advise.

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answers from Los Angeles on

I have often asked parents not to bring poop samples into my office. While there is a lot of information to be gleaned from studying full diapers, I think I can do most stool analysis on the phone or online unless an emergency situation occurs.

There is a wide variety of color and consistency of bowel movements. In my glamorous job as a pediatrician, I discuss this hot topic every day.

A change of pattern can throw the most confident mom for a loop and can even confuse an experienced pediatrician. Babies have blood in their stool fairly often and it virtually never is the sign of serious illness, but I pay a lot of attention to this because it alarms parents and requires that a reason be found.

We shouldn't be any more surprised to see a variety of bowel movements in our babies than we would in anyone of any other age. In breastfed babies, the mom's diet can affect the color or consistency of a baby's stools, particularly if the baby is showing an allergic reaction to a certain food or food group.

Sticky, tar-like and green or black
This is meconium. The first stools of a newborn will be this consistency and color. It is what is present inside the bowels of a newborn upon birth and will clear itself out within the first couple of days and represents the "byproducts" of building an entire human being for nine months.

Greenish or Yellow/Brown, grainy or seedy
This is the transition between meconium and a regular breastfed stool and begins as mom's milk is coming in on the second, third or fourth day of life. There may be three stools each day, ten, or even twenty. Occasionally, even a baby in the first week of life will skip a day and have no bowel movements at all. Call your doctor to discuss this even though it is normal. This does not require a dietary change or supplementation of a breastfed baby.

Light yellow to bright green, loose/runny, curdy, lumpy, seedy, creamy, mustard-like
These are normal breastfed stools. The consistency, frequency and color vary from day to day. My wife described the smell as "curried yogurt". Opinions on this odor description differ widely.

Frequent Watery Stool often "Greener" than usual
How can you spot diarrhea in a baby who has loose frequent stools every day? This type of poop is "diarrhea" in a breastfed baby. It can be due to a virus, a bowel infection, stress, anxiety or a food intolerance.

Hard, pellet - like, presence of blood or mucous
This is constipation in a breastfed baby and is so very rare that I cannot recall ever seeing it in a baby who is receiving breastmilk as a sole source of nutrition, as are most babies in the first six months. It could be related to a food allergy. Formula fed babies get constipated much more often and may even have harder bigger stools like older kids and adults. Getting these stools softer is a balancing act of great proportions.

Black stools often accompanied by constipation
This is the result of iron supplementation. Iron fortified infant foods and infant vitamins can cause constipation. A healthy breastfed baby does not need iron supplementation. The iron in breastmilk is much more bioavailable than any other form.

Red streaked stools
This usually comes from bleeding in the lower intestine or rectum. Most often it is caused by rectal fissures which are tiny "cuts" around the circumference of the anus. This can be a reaction to dairy in mom's diet. Elimination of all dairy is the first line of defense in this situation. I have seen countless babies who had blood in their poop which resolved when mom stopped all dairy products and returned with even a small amount of milk or cheese. Other dietary changes may be needed for breastfeeding moms. Formula fed babies lose blood from the lower intestine when they drink cow milk formula and some have the same losses on soy formula. Occasionally, this "micro-hemorrhaging" can become visible as blood streaking on the surface of the stool. Persistent or increasing blood in the stool or blood mixed with mucus (described as "currant jelly" stool in the texts) requires an immediate call to your doctor.

Green, frothy stools
This can be a result of a hindmilk/foremilk imbalance. A true imbalance is rare. It is often seen accompanying a forceful letdown. Lactation consultants will help moms find a nursing pattern which works to combat this problem. If letdown it too forceful in the early weeks, the solution can be to allow milk to leak into a cloth diaper during letdown, then latch baby back on. Feeding two to three times off the same side may also show improvement. Caution should be used with same side feeding as it can decrease supply.

Green, mucousy stool
This can be a result of a virus. Often the only sign we see of a virus is in the green stool. This is evidence of malabsorption in the intestines. Watch for how many days and with what consistency it is occurring. With a virus, it will run its course over a few days and begin to improve.

Another cause of malabsorption in the intestines can be teething. The profuse saliva of a teething baby can cause irritation in the intestines interfering with proper absorption. When babies teethe, we can see lots of drooling. Large quantities of saliva is swallowed which can irritate the intestines causing runny, acidic stools. This can also cause a rash in the diaper area.

There is something important to point out regarding frequency of stooling in an exclusively breastfed baby. Many parents are concerned when after the early weeks where they may have been seeing a little bowel movement in almost every diaper, they suddenly begin to see days go by without any. This is perfectly normal. There is a great range of frequency of bowel movements with exclusively breastfed infants, ranging from a couple of times a day to several days. There are completely healthy nursing babies that have a bowel movement once a week, once every ten days, or even a few that go a bit longer. If your baby is healthy, developing well, nursing well and the consistency of the bowel movement when it does make its appearance is soft or loose, then do not be concerned. It is not constipation if it arrives in soft form. Constipation would arrive in pellets and hard formed pieces.

In summary, stools in breastfeeding babies are predictably green, brown, yellow or orange. It is runny and has curds almost every time. It changes color with viruses, may have a small amount of blood (call your doc) and may come once a day and even taper off to once a week or more after a few weeks of age. Formula feeding babies may show a little trickier set of changes involving constipation and diarrhea. This is just one small reason to strongly recommend and support breastfeeding your baby.

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answers from Los Angeles on

In your title you say your daughter is 2 months old, but in your message you say she is two years old. You'll probably want to clarify how old she is because it will make a big difference on the advice you get and what you can do for her :-)!!!



answers from Honolulu on

If she has a cold, that will make more poop. she is swallowing all the mucous, because she doesn't know how to blow and that makes her body have to process it all and come out as poop. Turn on the vaporizer at night. Do you have a history of allergies or food intolerances?? Maybe what you are eating is giving her some kind of histamine reaction, causing her stuffiness. My daughter had a reaction to milk, which I figured out be keeping a food journal and finally doing an "elimination diet" by eating only rice, chicken and apples, and slowly (like one item per three days) increasing what I ate to see what kind of reactions she would have. Turned out to be milk products. Don't give her any medicine, just keep her room moist, stand in the shower with her for a long time before her bedtime to help her breathe in the steam and if she is waking up from being stuffy, put her to bed in her infant carrier, this will keep her head elevated and help to minimize coughing and stuffiness. The first year, she will be sick ALOT, but it gets much better after her body learns how to fight all of those nasty germs!



answers from Los Angeles on

Hi A.,

I would recommend you give your child some bananas it will help alot with the loose stools my son was like that last week (Thank God for bananas)! I also gave him Gatorade and pedialyte and make sure you stop the dairy for two days so it gives your Daughter stomach some time to rest.

Best of Luck,
Mommy of three (4yr,2yr,1 1/2yr)



answers from San Diego on

Are you talking about a 2 year old or a 2 month old?

Loose and soft (think the consistency of frozen yogurt) stools are healthy for a baby...and for adults. But diarrhea is not. So if she is just having soft stools, that means her digestive system is working the right way. Plus babies that young have stools that range in a variety of consistencies throughout the day. Are you breastfeeding or formula feeding? A combination of both? That will also affect her stool consistency. With my daughter we alternated breast and formula. After a breastmilk feed her stools were very loose. After a formula feed her stools were thicker like frozen yogurt.

My son is 3 and he poops 2-3 times a day. My daughter is 13 months and goes 3 times a day. If they get hard "logs" or little pellets, I know they are constipated. I usually give them infant probiotics (a powder I put into their drinks) or give them yogurt with the natural probiotics at least 3 times a week. The probiotics help the good enzymes in the body flush out the bad "junk" in the body and keep the digestive system running smoothly. It's great for both kids and adults.

If they are really constipated I give them about 8 ounces of Pomegranate juice. Within the hour that cleans them out.

I would imagine in a few days your daughters system will get back to normal. As long as she doesn't have the other symptoms of fever, lethargy, loss of appetite, etc. Just keep her very well hydrated since loose stools tend to be very watery.

I know there is a weird intestinal/stomach virus that is going around here in San Diego. My daughter got it a couple of weeks ago. Symptoms are no fever, diarrhea, congestion, sore throat, vomiting and coughing. My daughter had all the symptoms. It went away after a week. Her ped said no antibiotics needed. Just some nasal saline and increased fluids.



answers from Los Angeles on

Yea, if you are breastfeeding this it totally normal. Also, with the congestion added to it I'm also thinking teething, although kind of early (but some kids get teeth early, so it could be!). Reguardless, as long as she is eatting fine and showing no signs of dehydration (no/few wet diapers, sluggish, sunken soft spot) you have nothing to worry about.

If she is eatting formula you might want to change it- she may be reacting to dairy, or if you're using soy she might be reacting to soy.



answers from Los Angeles on

Is she nursing or using formula? That might make a difference.

My son's stools were really loose and watery while I breastfed up until we started adding the rice cereal and vegetables. I mean, really really loose. Diapers were no match for this stuff. Those blue scented plastic bags were a life safer when I was out and about with him and his clothes got all poopy. Shout was (and still is) my best friend for getting stains out. I was concerned about it as well but the doctor told me it was normal. It's usually that yellow mustardy color, but green and brown colors are normal too.

As far as the respiratory/sneezing issue goes there is a chance she may have an allergy to milk (especially if she's on formula) which often shows up as respiratory problems, but it could also just be a cold. I think if you're breastfeeding a common sign to look out for in regards to milk allergy is blood in her stool - in which case you'd have to cut out dairy products in your own diet.



answers from San Diego on


Loose stools can be caused from a variety of things. First to consider is did she eat something that was contaminated. Some bacterial infections cause loose stools. If this has happened multiple times, I would consider what she is eating. Some food allergy related diseases like Celiac Disease may be a factor or Lactose Intolerance. If it persists, I would take her to the doctor and have them run tests (i.e. stool sample may be needed for bacterial infection). Some doctors are reluctant to run the tests because it costs money to them, but I would be persistent. For now, I would make sure she drinks lots of fluids to keep her hydrated, something with electrolytes (Pedialyte or something like it) for her age is important.
The sneezing could be an allergic response secondary to food allergies. Is she having any more of symptoms of an allergic reaction (i.e. rubbing nose and/or eyes, pulling on her ears, cheek redness, runny nose, watery eyes, rashes on skin etc.?

I'm A. D. a nurse with a background in nutrition. I hope this helps. Take care.



answers from Los Angeles on

I don't have enough information. You said that she had trouble now she is not. What did you give her for the trouble? Maybe she had a reaction to that. You work, so did the babysitter try her own remedy for a laxative without telling you? Investigate.

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