Why Does My Baby’s Poop Look Like Coffee Grounds? Should I Be Concerned?

Being a new mom demands alertness and on-time action; you have to actively look for your baby’s subtle signs and changes. When I had my baby, I was overwhelmed with joy but also with anxiety about whether I’ll be able to raise this little human on my very own. Despite doing all the research online, I felt like I barely know anything about my baby.

What do poop color and texture indicate?

A baby’s diaper could tell numerous signs about your baby’s health, whether it’s the color, texture, or odor. What does the normal poop look like? Is it normal for my baby to have a green, sticky, or coffee-ground appearance? Is it a sign of constipation?

A mom is changing her baby's diaper, and examining the poop color and texture, to see if there are any problematic signs.

Your baby’s poop provides important clues about his diet, health condition, and internal physiologic condition. If your baby’s poop looks like dregs or coffee grounds, there’s no need to panic; start by looking at your baby’s diet.

What are you feeding your baby? Is he constipated? If the poop has bright red stains, or he’s continuously getting black foul-smelling stools, it could be an indication of GI tract bleeding.

Be aware of these potential signs and symptoms. If your baby is showing discomfort, whining more than usual, and has tummy aches, consult your pediatrician right away.

If your baby has dark stained poop but isn’t showing any pain, this might indicate constipation or a sort of diet that’s not suitable for your baby. Talk to your pediatrician, as they can sort out and advise you on a diet plan more suitable for your baby.

Poop is a mandatory part of the GI system, what comes in has to go out. Poop consists of various waste products that need to be eliminated from the body including undigested food particles, bacteria, and certain other substances. And it’ll differ in color most likely every day.

There is a difference in color, texture, consistency, quantity, and smell. Oftentimes, this phenotypic difference could indicate a medical condition that requires immediate referral to your doctor.

Is it because of bleeding higher up?

The classic description of coffee ground appearance in stool refers to GI tract bleeding, which could have occurred in the stomach; after reaching the colon and rectum, it oxidized, turning dark and showing the coffee ground appearance of stool. It’s indicating that there’s some sort of bleeding in your baby’s gut. Get checked as soon as possible before it gets worse.

Some things to note:

  • One of the characteristics sign of GI bleeding could be an infection in the gut.
  • If you are giving any dose of aspirin or Motrin, stop immediately.
  • Another cause could be abdominal adhesions that could increase the risk of bowel twisting and bleeding.

If the poop is dark because of blood, it will closely resemble a wet coffee ground appearance along with black specs in the stool.

If your baby shows the symptoms below and characteristic appearance, this is something concerning, and you need to consult your baby’s pediatrician right away.

Are your nipples bleeding because of nursing?

Nursing your baby on bleeding nipples can result in black poop. As your baby is nursing, he is swallowing blood from your bleeding nipples. However, it doesn’t pose a serious threat to your baby’s health, but digesting blood could cause tummy aches and mild soreness in the stomach.

Is there an issue with my baby’s diet?

Diet plays a significant role in the color, texture, and consistency of your baby’s poop. Any diet administered more than the body’s requirement could lead to a rise of the nutrients, and the body wants to eliminate it through poop.

Going BANANAS! 

A toddler baby is eating bananas on his high chair.

After 6 months, babies start eating solids, and bananas are one of the mushy & soft textures that babies can fairly easily adapt to. If you’re giving your baby a daily dose of bananas, then it could possibly lead to coffee ground poop.

Bananas leave black specks in poop, looking like tiny black threads in the stool. This characteristic appearance is due to the banana seeds as the baby’s little gut cannot digest them; it prefers to eliminate them via the poop.

Berries

Prunes and berries are another fruit that can cause the occurrence of black specks in a baby’s poop. As berries are slightly difficult to digest, their skin or seed are eliminated via poop, giving black spots in poop.

Another cause is the dark color of berries. Your baby’s poop will resemble the food he has eaten within the last 24 hours. Eating berries in huge quantities not only gives poop it’s a dark color but could also lead to constipation, which could be quite a discomfort for your baby.

Most parents make a puree of berries that is easy to digest by your baby. This method is best if your baby is younger than 12 months because most babies start walking between 12 to 18 months, and walking helps a lot in the digestion process.

Black beans

If your baby is 7 to 10 months old, boiled and mashed black beans or kidney beans could be a great source of protein for your little one. Like the other foods mentioned above, the skin of these beans is hard to digest and is usually eliminated undigested through your baby’s gut.

You could give your baby a tablespoon or two of well-cooked mashed beans. It could be a great start when you are trying to introduce solid food to your baby. Keep in mind that some beans are way easier to digest than their counterparts, so you should always try a different variety to know what suits your baby the best.

Gripe water

My baby used to suffer from stomach ache due to gas or acid reflux, a lot of my mom friends advised me to use gripe water as it calms colic and relieves gas in the baby’s stomach.

After a few doses of gripe water, I started to notice my baby’s poop afterward, having a soft coffee ground and dark-colored appearance. It turns out that gripe water contains vegetable charcoal, which stains the poop in dark color. And it’s completely expelled through poop during the digestion process.

Supplemental intake of vitamins

If you are taking vitamin supplements while breastfeeding your baby, there are more chances that your baby will look dark, almost black in color. As these multivitamin supplements mostly contain iron and zinc as trace minerals, they can travel to the baby’s gut and show up in poop during breastfeeding.

Meconium

Meconium or newborn baby poop is thick, dark black, and sticky. This is because of in utero ingestion of blood cells and amniotic fluid together with other substances. It is usually odorless and expected to pass within the first 3 days. After that, your baby will begin to produce normal poop having a green color.

FAQs

What causes black coffee ground stool?

The classic wet coffee ground appearance of stool is a sign of gut infection with bleeding. Your baby’s poop should never resemble this. If you suspect this sort of change in your baby, along with fever, vomiting, and tenderness around the stomach, then it’s time to call your pediatrician.

What color baby poop is bad?

Dark, black-stained stool showing up in poop can raise concerns to new parents. But always find the cause before panicking, it could be due to recent food that your baby ate. Check for visual distress and other signs and symptoms of distress before consulting your doctor.

What foods cause black poop?

Bananas, blackberries, blueberries, prunes, black beans, gripe water, and vitamin supplements containing iron/ folic acid cause a close to the black appearance of poop.

A recent change in diet can change the visual appearance of stool. There is no need to worry, just mix up the diet a little bit, or you can consult a pediatrician and he/she will guide you about the right diet plan for your baby.

Takeaway

Dark coffee ground appearance with the black specks is normally caused by dietary intake including bananas, berries, beans, or gripe water to ease digestion.

At six months old, your baby is ready to ingest semi-solid foods, a change in diet could result in a change in the color, texture, consistency, and duration of poop. It will presumably become solid, and the color will resemble the food your little one recently ate, which could include fruit skin and seeds, along with a varying change in the odor and smell. As the digestive system develops, your baby will have an easy time digesting these foods.

However, if your baby’s poop resembles black color wet coffee ground, then the cause is blood, either internal bleeding or swallowing blood from mother’s bleeding nipples while nursing. It is a serious concern, and if you see that the poop is resembling wet coffee ground, do not throw away the diaper and consult a pediatrician immediately.

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