Baby poops cause parents a lot of anxiety. Too many? Too few? Wrong colour?

Meconium

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Baby’s first bowel movements (stools) are dark green to almost black, tar-like and have no odor. This ”meconium” stool is passed in the first 2 days after birth. You can expect your baby to have at least one bowel movement per day, larger than a quarter, for the first two days of life.

If your baby is still having meconium bowel movements when he is 4 days old, see a healthcare provider to make sure baby is taking in enough milk.

Transitional Stools

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When your baby is 2-4 days old, you will start to see “transitional” stools. These are brown or green in color and are less sticky than meconium. There may also be some lighter milk curds in the stool as your baby starts to digest milk. Expect your baby to have at least 2 bowel movements a day that are larger than a quarter.

Yellow stools

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Breastfed stool is usually yellow or yellowish brown in color. It contains a lot of liquid and small cottage cheese like curds. Some of the liquid will absorb into the diaper. This type of stool is not diarrhea. Your baby should have this yellow loose type of stool by the time he is 5 days old. Baby should have at least 2 or 3 that are larger than a quarter size every day. It is not uncommon for your baby to have a bowel movement with every feeding.

Formula fed stools are usually less watery and range in color from yellowish-brown to greenish brown. They may have a bit of an odor.

Brick dust

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In the first few days of baby’s life, there may be a pink or reddish tinge in baby’s wet diaper. We call this “brick dust”. It can often be mistaken for blood. Once baby is drinking larger volumes of milk, this should go away. If your baby continues to have this reddish tinge in the diaper by the 5th day of life, contact your healthcare provider to make sure baby is drinking enough.

**Download our free app, NuuNest to track baby’s output and learn more about newborns.**

The minimum number of diapers to expect in 24 hours:

Age in days Wet diapers (pee) Dirty diapers (poop)
1 1 1
2 2 1
3 3 2
4 4 2
5 5 2-3
5+ 5-6 2-3

If you are uncertain if baby is having wet diapers, tuck a tissue into the diaper.

What If Baby Does Not Stool Every Day?

A breastfed baby, less than 3 weeks old who does not have at least one bowel movement larger than a quarter (coin) within a 24-hour period should be seen by a healthcare provider to ensure he is drinking well at the breast.

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.

Constipation is hard stool that is difficult to pass. If your baby’s stool is hard or if you are wondering if your baby is receiving enough milk, please consult with your healthcare provider.

Sometimes parents worry when their baby has a green colored stool. An occasional green stool can be normal, especially if the baby is gaining weight and seems content. Toronto-based pediatrician Jack Newman, along with lactation consultant Teresa Pitman, write that “If the baby is content and gaining well,” parents shouldn’t worry but rather “buy … sunglasses so [they] don’t see the color.” (Newman, Pitman. Guide to Breastfeeding. 2009.)

 

*You can learn more about what’s normal and when to worry in this video by pediatrician Dr. Alan Greene.