Because of the short time food spends in the digestive tract of a baby, your child's stools can come out in all sorts of colors, depending on what she has eaten, according to the Children's Hospital. However, some colors can be particularly worrying to parents, including dark-colored stools.
Normal stool can be many different colors, often ranging from yellow to green to brown. It can even be red, blue or purple if your baby has had something with food coloring in it or something that is naturally these colors, according to the Mayo Clinic. Right after birth, it is usually dark and sticky. This is called meconium. Dark-colored stools after a baby is a few days old, especially those that are black or bloody, should be mentioned to the doctor since these can be related to serious health conditions.
Bleeding in the lower digestive tract can cause red stools, as can red-colored foods or medications. Bleeding in the stomach can cause black stools, and so can bile or dark-colored foods or medications, according to Children's Hospital.
The only colors of stool that are related to disease are white, red and black, according to the Children's Hospital. Usually, oddly colored stools, including green, purple or blue stools, are caused by something the baby ate and are not to be worried about.
Since dark-colored stools can be due to bleeding, a doctor should check out your baby if she appears to be sick or if the stool continues to be black or red for more than a day or two, and all foods that could cause the color have been taken out of her diet.
The consistency of the stool is just as important as the color when it comes to determining illness, states the Mayo Clinic. Stools that are very watery could mean diarrhea, while those that are hard could mean constipation. Should you be particularly worried about your child's stools, you should save a sample in the refrigerator and bring it to your child's doctor to be examined.