How Often Baby should Poop

Baby will usually pass meconium, series of black to dark green stool passed after birth within 48 hours. After this the frequency and consistency of baby’s poop will change. This is a guide to what you can expect.

Newborns usually pass meconium stool during their first day, but should then move on to passing green-yellow or yellow-brown poop with white curds.

“Pooping is a great sign that baby’s digestive system is working properly. After the first few days, breastfed babies usually have at least three bowel movements per day during the first six weeks, and then will start having larger bowel movements every one to four days while still eating only breast milk.”

On average, a breastfed baby will poop between 5-12 times per day. Making fewer than three bowel movements in 24 hours is considered constipation in a breastfed baby.

Babies usually poop once a day or so, but every baby is different. Babies over 6 weeks old may poop several times a day or several times a week. If your baby is eating well and gaining weight steadily, try not to worry too much about how often they go.

Babies generally have a bowel movement several times per day and after most meals. As the baby’s GI tract matures, the frequency of a bowel movement may start to decrease and become more predictable.

It’s important to monitor your newborn’s diapers. Newborn waste can tell you a lot about their health and if they are consuming enough milk. Dirty diapers can also help assure you that your newborn isn’t dehydrated or constipated.

How often your newborn poops during the first weeks of life depends largely on whether they are breastfeeding or formula-feeding.

Breastfed newborns typically have several bowel movements each day. Formula-fed newborns may have fewer. If you switch from breastfeeding to formula-feeding, or vice versa, expect changes to your newborn’s stool consistency.

There also may be a change in the frequency of diaper changes. Your baby may have an average of five to six wet (urine-filled) diapers each day during this time.

Read on to learn more about what to expect and when to call your baby’s pediatrician.

How often should a newborn poop? 

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In the first 24–48 hoursTrusted Source after birth, a newborn passes a substance called meconium. This thick, dark green or brown stool contains material that the baby has ingested while in the uterus.

In the following days, the baby will begin pooping and peeing more regularly. Until about 6 weeks of age, most babies pass stool two to five times per day. Some babies have a bowel movement after every meal.

Between 6 weeks and 3 months of age, the frequency of pooping typically decreases. Many babies poop only once a day and some as infrequently as once a week. This is usually not a sign of a problem, as long as the baby maintains a healthy weight.

2012 studyTrusted Source analyzed stool frequency in 600 newborns under 3 months of age. In the first weeks of life, breastfed babies in the study pooped an average of 3.65 times per day. By 3 months, the average frequency was 1.88 times per day. Formula-fed babies pooped slightly less often at each developmental stage.

Reasons to monitor pooping 

One of the main reasons to keep track of a baby’s bowel movements is to ensure that the baby is receiving enough food.

This may be an especially good idea if a baby is feeding directly from the breast, because a person cannot measure how much the baby is taking in.

2006 studyTrusted Source of breastfed infants found that the number of bowel movements in the first 5 days of life may be an early indicator of breastfeeding success. Babies who produced more stool during this period tended to develop healthier weight.

For this reason, checking diapers may be an effective way of telling whether a breastfed baby is receiving enough food.

Another reason to monitor a baby’s pooping is to check their overall health. Stool with an unusual color or consistency can indicate an underlying health problem.HEALTHLINE NEWSLETTERGet actionable tips to help support your parenthood journey

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Signs of inadequate food intake

A baby who is not receiving enough food may:

  • not have at least one bowel movement per day
  • produce fewer than five wet diapers daily after the first few days of life
  • have signs of dehydration, such as dry lips or sunken eyes
  • be lethargic
  • lose weight

Other signs of a problem

Newborns older than 1 month may poop much less frequently than those who are younger, particularly if they breastfeed.

Overall, it is important to be aware of a baby’s typical pooping pattern because a sudden change can indicate a health problem. Below are some signs to look out for:

Poop that has an unusual color

Healthy poop has a mild odor and is light yellow, brown, or greenish.

It is not uncommon to find specks of black blood in poop as a result of breastfeeding with cracked, bleeding nipples. But if red blood is present, call a doctor.

Also, green streaks throughout poop can be a sign of infection.
If stool is gray or white, this could indicate that an infant is not digesting food properly.

If a baby has finished passing meconium and later passes black poop, this can be a sign of internal bleeding.

A person can learn more about the color of an infant’s poop here.

Diarrhea

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)Trusted Source, if an infant is passing loose and watery stool for more than 1 day, there is a chance of dehydration.

Signs of dehydration can include:

  • a dry mouth, tongue, and lips
  • a faster heartbeat than usual
  • no tears when the infant is crying
  • dry diapers for 3 or more hours

Constipation

The American Academy of Pediatrics note that a baby might have constipation if they have one or fewer bowel movements per day, with stool that is hard.

A baby with constipation may also cry or show other signs of straining. Some babies turn reddish.

Gentle exercises may help a baby poop. Try laying the baby on their back and gently moving their legs.

When to see a doctor

Seek professional care and advice if a baby shows any of the following signs:

Signs of inadequate nutrition

Irregular or infrequent pooping can indicate that the baby is not getting enough food, especially if they are breastfeeding.

lactation counselor can help increase the amount of milk. Often, this involves nursing more and pumping after each nursing session. Receiving the right guidance early on increases the chances of the baby receiving enough nutrition from breast milk alone.

Diarrhea

The FDATrusted Source recommend calling a doctor if an infant has any of the following:

  • signs of dehydration
  • diarrhea that lasts longer than 24 hours
  • a fever of at least 102°F
  • tarry, black stool
  • stool that contains pus or blood
  • irritability and sleepiness
  • sunken cheeks or eyes
  • a depression or dip in the soft spot on top of the head

It is important to note that blood may appear in stool as a result of irritation of the rectum. A pediatrician can recommend cream to help reduce the discomfort.

Constipation

Call a doctor if a newborn has constipation that has not responded to home treatment or is accompanied by any of the following:

Blood in stools

If a baby passes black poop or more than one blood-tinged stool, they should see a doctor.


Sometimes, a baby may have a little blood in their stool from straining to poop. However, two or more blood-tinged stools may indicate a more serious problem.https://47129d2dc2976dd0b75cb6821aade7d9.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

Summary 

Babies begin pooping regularly a few days after birth. Most babies younger than 6 weeks poop around two to five times per day. Babies between 6 weeks and 3 months of age typically poop less.

Monitoring a baby’s bowel movements is a helpful way to check on their nutrition and overall health.

Contact a doctor if a newborn has diarrhea, persistent constipation, or blood-tinged stools.

Also seek professional advice if a baby may not be receiving adequate nutrition. A lactation counselor can help, and a group for new parents can provide additional support and tips.

How Often Should a Breastfed Baby Poop

The frequency of a newborn’s bowel movements can reveal important information about their overall health.

Checking diapers can, for example, help a person monitor whether a baby is receiving enough food. This may be especially important when a baby is feeding directly from the breast, which makes it hard to gauge their exact intake.

This article describes how often a newborn should poop at different stages of development. We also look into some digestive signs that may warrant a visit to the doctor.

Dirty diaper by age

A newborn will pass meconium, a black, sticky, tar-like substance in the first few days after birth. After about three days, newborn bowel movements turn into a lighter, runnier stool. It may be light brown, yellow, or yellow-green in color.

Days 1-3First 6 weeksAfter starting solids
BreastfedNewborn will pass meconium by 24-48 hours after birth. It will change to a green-yellow color by day 4.Runny, yellow stool. Expect at least 3 bowel movements per day, but may be up to 4-12 for some babies. After this, baby may only poop every few days.Baby will usually pass more stool after starting solids.
Formula-fedNewborn will pass meconium by 24-48 hours after birth. It will change to a green-yellow color by day 4.Light brown or greenish stool. Expect at least 1-4 bowel movements per day. After the first month, baby may only pass stool every other day.1-2 stools per day.

Stool consistency in breastfed vs. formula-fed babies

Breastfed babies may pass seedy, loose stools. The stool may look like mustard in color and texture.

Breastfed babies may also have a looser, runnier stool. That isn’t a bad sign. It means your baby is absorbing the solids in your breast milk.

Formula-fed babies may pass a yellow-green or light brown stool. Their bowel movements may be firmer and more paste-like than a breastfed baby’s stool. However, the stool shouldn’t be firmer than the consistency of peanut butter.

Causes for changes to stool

You will likely notice a change to your newborn’s stool as they grow. You also may see a difference if their diet changes in any way.

For example, switching from breastmilk to formula or changing the type of formula you give your baby can lead to changes in stool amount, consistency, and color.

As your baby starts eating solids, you may see small pieces of food in their stool. These changes in diet may also alter the number of times your baby poops per day.

Always talk to your newborn’s pediatrician if you are concerned about a change in your baby’s stools.

When to seek help

See your newborn’s pediatrician or seek medical help right away if you notice the following in a diaper:

  • maroon or bloody stools
  • black stools after your baby has already passed meconium (usually after day four)
  • white or grey stools
  • more stool per day than is normal for your baby
  • stool with a large amount of mucus or water

Your newborn may experience diarrhea or explosive diarrhea in the first few months of life. It may be a symptom of a virus or bacteria. Let your pediatrician know. Dehydration is a common problem that accompanies diarrhea.

While uncommon in the newborn period, particularly with breastfeeding, your baby may be constipated if they are experiencing hard stools or having trouble passing stool.

If this happens, call their pediatrician. The pediatrician will recommend some things you can do to help. Apple or prune juice is sometimes suggested, but never give your newborn baby juice without a doctor’s recommendation first.

Seeking help for breastfed babies

If your breastfed newborn isn’t passing stool, it may be a sign they aren’t eating enough. See your pediatrician or a lactation consultant. They may need to check your latch and position.

Let your pediatrician know if you notice consistently bright green or neon green stool. While this is often normal, it may be because of a breast milk imbalance or sensitivity to something in your diet.

It may also be a symptom of a virus. Your doctor will best be able to diagnose the problem.https://cdc972e75c60f5beaf38c41b8a9e51a4.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

Takeaway

Your newborn’s stool is an important window into their health for the first few months of life. You may notice several changes in their stool during this time. This is usually normal and a healthy sign of growth and development.

Your pediatrician will likely ask about your child’s diapers at each appointment. Use your pediatrician as a resource. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or raise concerns you have about your newborn’s stool.

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