Scoop on Baby Poop
There is probably no topic that we have been asked about more frequently than baby’s bowel movements (stools).
Baby’s first stools
Baby’s first stools after birth are black or dark green in color, sticky and the consistency of tar. Babies typically have at least one stool larger than a quarter each day for the first couple of days. Colostrum will help baby’s body get rid of the meconium.
(To see full color photos of the stages of baby poop, click here.)
Once all of the meconium has passed, baby will begin to have a “transitional” type of stool. This type of stool is brown or green in color and is not stuck to the baby’s skin the way the meconium was. You will begin to see some lighter milk curds as your baby starts to digest your milk.
Yellow loose stool
Around the 3rd day of life, babies start to have a more yellowish loose stool with cottage cheese-like curds. Parents often mistake this type of stool for diarrhea as its consistency can be liquid. Expect your baby to have at least 2 or 3 stools larger than a quarter size each day. Some babies will have a bowel movement with every feed.
Formula fed stools differ from the breastfed baby’s stools. Formula fed stools are usually less watery and range in color from yellowish-brown to greenish brown. They also differ in that they may have a bit of an odor.
As babies get older, their stool patterns often change. From 2-4 months of age, some babies may only have a larger bowel movement every 5-7 days. As long as the stool is soft and yellowish and the baby is otherwise well and gaining weight, there is no concern.
Consult with your healthcare provider if:
- Your baby continues to have dark sticky stools (meconium) after 4 days of age
- Your baby is less than 3 weeks old and has gone longer than 24 hours without having a bowel movement. Note: this can be normal for some babies but it is best to make sure baby is drinking well.
- There is blood in baby’s stool
- Baby passes stools that are hard and dry
References and More Information:
- “Baby’s First Days: Bowel Movements & Urination.” HealthyChildren.org. American Academy of Pediatrics, 08 Jan. 2009. Web.
- “All About Diapers (what goes in, must come out).” lllc.ca, La Leche League Canada, n.d. Web.
About the authors:
Cindy and Jana are Registered Nurses and International Board Certified Lactation Consultants who have assisted over 20,000 families.
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