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Right from the time you welcome your child into this world, your mind will be filled with questions. A common question that bothers almost all new parents is regarding the pooping habits of a baby. Parents often have this common question in their mind – ‘How should the poop of a healthy baby be?’
The poop of a baby is an indication of his health, as a lot of diseases and disorders the child is facing can be identified by simply examining the colour of his poop. As a mother, you will go through a lot of diaper-changing episodes in the near future, so make sure to notice the frequency and colour of his poop to check if there is anything wrong with your baby.
Let us take a look at newborn stool frequency, and what it means in the early stages of his life so that you can take better care of your newborn.
How Often Does a Newborn Baby Poop?
The table below gives an indication of the minimum number of bowel movements expected of a child per 24-hour period in the first six months of his life.
|Time Period||Minimum number of bowel movements||Texture and colour of the stool|
|Day 1||1||Tarry, black|
|Day 2||0 to 1||Tarry, black|
|Day 3||1||Transitional green|
|Day 4||4||Yellow or green|
|Day 5||3 to 4||Loose, yellow|
|Day 6||3 to 5||Loose, yellow|
|6 weeks +||Increases from 1 every 7 to 10 days to around 3 to 5 per day or even more||Loose, yellow|
Pooping in babies is an indication that there are no problems with the digestive system of the child. You should be happy to see your baby poop in the first 24 hours of his life, since the absence of poop points to the existence of a problem in his digestive system.
During the first 24 hours, the poop of your baby is in the meconium stage. The poop will be black and sticky, and usually hard to wipe off. Your baby is expected to pass stools within 24 hours of birth. The poop mainly consists of the matter he ingested when he was inside the uterus, and is mostly made up of fluids and cells. Oddly enough, the poop will be odourless. This is because the friendly bacteria have not yet colonized his gut. The bowel movement occurs because of the colostrum he’ll feed on, which performs the function of a laxative to help push out the matter from the body of the child.
After that, the poop eventually becomes more watery and loose. This continues for around twelve more weeks because the digestive system of the child is still in development. It will not be absorbing the nutrients from the breast milk quite effectively, so much of it will simply go out of his body through his poop. The undigested sugar and milk in the body tend to act as a laxative, leading to frequent bowel movements. However, the stools become less watery and more predictable as the baby grows.
When your baby starts eating solid foods, you can expect poop that is much more adult-like. This usually occurs around the five-month mark, when you start feeding solid food to your child. The poop becomes firm and dark in colour and has a distinctly bad odour. Note that the colour of the poop is slightly dependent on the meal he would have had previously; this is completely normal and is indicative of a good digestive system. Sometimes, you may even find bits of veggies in his poop. This is because hard foods are usually passed on by the digestive system as they are not properly chewed, owing to the lack of molars.
In any way, a mother will be expected to make at least a thousand diaper changes in the first year of parenthood. So, observe the colour and texture of the poop for an idea about the health of your child.
How Many Times a Day Should Breastfed Babies Poop?
During the early stages of breastfeeding, your child may not have a strong digestive system to absorb all the nutrients he receives. This means that a lot of the milk is simply passed out of the body through stools, which leads to the stools being yellow in colour and having a loose consistency in the first few months. You can expect your child to poop at least four times a day in the first few weeks of his life. The frequency of pooping eventually increases as he grows. Most commonly, breastfed babies poop after every feeding, sometimes even twelve times a day or more.
How Many Times Does a Formula-Fed Baby Poop?
Compared to children who are breastfed, formula-fed babies poop far less. This is because of the lack of colostrum in their diet, which acts as a natural laxative and is present in high amounts in breastmilk. The frequency of the child pooping will be around three or four times a day, and the texture will be more solid compared to that of breastfed babies. The colour is less yellow and more greenish and darker.
As he grows, you will find that your baby poops only once a day, whether formula-fed or breastfed. This is an indication of the digestive system becoming healthier and does not mean that there is anything wrong with the baby.
When to Consult a Paediatrician
When your little one poops, it could sometimes cause you alarm just to see the different expressions on his face and the sounds he’ll make – groans and frowns throughout. However, this needn’t be considered a problem. Your baby’s digestive system is just developing and it’s normal for him to go through some strain to pass stools. Such things don’t call for medical attention, but trust your motherly instincts to decide when you have to pay the doctor a visit. The signs below will give you an indication that something is amiss with your baby’s digestive health:
- If the stool of the baby is showing traces of blood or if it seems oddly coloured
- If your baby seems constipated
- If his poop is filled with mucus or water, meaning that your child might be having some sort of allergy or infection
- If your newborn’s stools are still black in colour, i.e., after day four of his birth
- If he passes more stools than what is usual for him
- If his stools are white or grey in colour
The poop of your baby can give you an insight into his health, so it’s important that you always take note of the frequency and consistency of his bowel movements in the early stages. Since your baby won’t be able to communicate any problems or discomfort at such a young age, you should definitely pay attention to his poop so that any diseases or problems can be recognised immediately.
References and Resources
Also Read: Baby Poop: What’s Normal & What’s Not