New parents constantly monitor the contents of those tiny diapers for signs things are progressing well, and “seedy” is a term that we quickly learn for normal. An easy marker on the newborn learning curve, the “poop check” reassures us with each change that all is well in their tiny digestive tract. But what does it mean when something is off, like when that seedy yellow poop all of a sudden changes or when the poop isn’t seedy?
The seedy texture in newborn baby poop is undigested milk fat and is more common on breastfed babies than those who are formula-fed. Seedy poop gradually disappears over time, normally after the first six weeks when the newborn digestive tract develops. As long as your baby is gaining weight steadily and seems content, there is no reason to worry.
Read on to find out more about seedy baby poop variations and what constitutes a normal find in that tiny diaper pocket. From color to smell, consistency to your newborn’s age, there are a variety of factors that influence baby poop. Even so, there are some indicators for concern, so be sure to know what to look for and when to contact your pediatrician.
What are the seeds in baby poop?
Tiny seeds in poop – think squishy rice-to-sunflower-sized nuggets – in yellow-to-brown liquidy poop is simply undigested milkfat found in breastfed baby poop. Breastmilk notoriously causes very little waste, as it is specially engineered by nature to nourish your little one. The seeds are usually found in a yellow-orange runny poop that has a sweet smell in breastfed babies.
Formula-fed babies may also have seeds in their poop too, as undigested milkfat can happen for any tiny one. Typically, however, formula-fed baby poop has a thicker consistency and is more odorous. It will also be a darker yellow-tan, tan-green, or brown color, which can vary from day to day.
Does baby poop have to be seedy?
Nope! It is just a natural variation in the wide world of baby poop.
The seeds aren’t anything to worry about, but they can be startling to see for the first time if you aren’t expecting them. Both breastfed and formula-fed babies can have seedy poops or non-seedy poops. It isn’t a cause for concern either way.
Don’t forget that all babies are different; just because one baby has seedy poop doesn’t mean all of your babies will!
Baby poop stopped being seedy
Your baby’s poop will naturally change in texture and stop being seedy as the digestive tract develops and as your baby’s body adapts and learns to digest the milkfat and use all of the nourishment in the milk.
The absence of seedy poop is actually a good sign that your little one is processing every last bit of nutrients to fill out those cute chunky rolls, but isn’t a cause for concern if there are seeds. Some milk just has more milkfat than can be digested and is filtered out as waste.
At about six weeks, your newborn’s digestive tract develops, which usually causes a shift in the consistency of poop, usually moving from seedy to less seedy or no seeds at all!
Shades of baby poop
Normal coloring of poop can shift as well, from yellow to orange to brown. It depends on what you’re eating or what nutritional supplements you may be giving to your baby. If you add iron supplements into the baby’s routine, the poop may change to a greenish hue naturally, so that usually isn’t a cause for concern. Even flecks of red are often seen in breastfed babies, as the mother’s nipples may have cracked and bled as the baby nurses.
Poop colors for concern
While seedy poop is not a cause for concern, there are several changes in your baby’s poop that do need to be addressed.
If you notice one of these in your baby, you should contact your pediatrician:
- Green poop can indicate a stomach bug or a cow’s milk allergy;
- Frothy green poop can indicate too much foremilk from a breastfed baby;
- White poop can indicate a problem with your baby’s liver and should be addressed immediately;
- Bloody or bright red poop could indicate a serious issue in the digestive tract and should be addressed immediately; and
- Black poop may be a sign of blood in the GI tract and should be addressed immediately.
If you are concerned that the color and/or consistency of your baby’s poop just isn’t right, trust your gut and take a dirty diaper with you to your pediatrician’s office. It won’t be the first time they’ve examined poop, and they will be able to give you expert advice and address your concerns, especially if the odd poop coincides with colic or other signs your baby isn’t happy.
Formula-fed baby poop not seedy
Normal formula-fed baby poop is usually a thicker consistency (think peanut butter) and has a yellow-tan to green-tan color. You should not be concerned at all if your formula-fed baby’s poop isn’t seedy, as this is a sign that your baby is digesting every last bit of that fatty goodness in the formula. Likewise, don’t be concerned if it is seedy, as some milk just has more fat than others and the body filters it out as waste.
Formula-fed baby poop may never be seedy, as the milkfat from cows in formulas is different than that in human breastmilk. There is no way to make an exact copy of human breastmilk, so formula-fed babies must rely on cow’s milk or other milk variations, such as soy or goat milk. In addition, extra amino acids are added to cow’s milk in order to try to match that in human breastmilk, but the newborn’s digestive tract breaks this down and converts it into undigested fat, often producing the seedy poop.
If your baby seems to be unhappy or having difficulty after feedings, such as being unusually fussy or gassy or colicky, or isn’t gaining weight, please contact your pediatrician for advice. Or if your baby seems unhappy around the same time the seedy poop vanishes, talk to your pediatrician. Only your trusted healthcare provider can check your baby to be sure he or she is healthy and digesting the formula normally.
Breastfed baby poop not seedy
Breastmilk is nature’s way of keeping your baby nourished and healthy, and the milk adapts over time to the baby’s needs. Scientists have found over 1,000 different proteins in human breastmilk on top of the many other nutrients and components that make it perfect for newborn babies.
Breastfed baby poop that isn’t seedy isn’t necessarily a cause for concern, as this usually indicates your baby is absorbing every last bit of the fat in your breastmilk. For the first six weeks, your baby’s digestive tract is developing, so that is why doctors recommend breastfeeding exclusively for the first six weeks if possible. That said, post-six weeks, the poop consistency will shift as the digestive tract is more readily able to absorb and process those nutrients, so don’t be alarmed if the seedy poop disappears at that point in time.
If you are concerned and your baby seems to be unhappy after feedings, such as extra fussy or gassy or colicky, or not gaining weight, please contact your pediatrician. In addition, if your baby seems unhappy around the same time that the seedy poop vanishes, please contact your pediatrician as only he or she can confirm that your baby is digesting properly.