Getting to the bottom of newborn stool

During your baby’s first year, you can expect to change about 2,500 diapers! It can be difficult to keep up with baby’s bowel movements! With all of those diaper changes, you may be wondering what’s normal in the newborn “poop” department.

Your newborn’s bowel habits can actually tell you a lot about their health.  Stool colour, frequency and consistency tell us how much breastmilk  baby is getting.  Your baby should breastfeed at least eight times in 24 hours. The number of wet diapers baby is producing is equally important.  The urine should be clear and odourless.  To ensure your baby is getting enough breast milk, keep track of their wet and dirty diapers in a 24-hour window.  This is especially important in your newborns first week of life.For breastfed newborns, loose and frequent stools are very normal. Sometimes they are explosive! A stool that looks curd-like, yellow, loose, seedy and has little odour is quite normal…think runny Dijon mustard!  Did you know that a breastfed newborn rarely experiences diarrhea?  However, it’s important to contact your health care provider if you notice:

  • blood in the stool;
  • dark-coloured stool after the third day of breastfeeding; or
  • a large amount of mucous in the stool.

Your baby’s stool: what to expect in the first five days

Day 1-2:  The dark poop arrives; it’s sticky, dark green/black and is called meconium.  Expect at least one to two of these stools in 24 hours.

Your first milk (colostrum) does a really good job of cleaning out those bowels.  Breastfeed at least eight times in 24 hours and respond to baby’s hunger cues.

Day 2-3:   With enough frequent feeds, the poop begins to lighten in colour (green/brown/yellow). Expect at least 2-3 bowel movements in 24 hours.

Continue with feeds, at least eight times in twenty-four hours.  This gives baby enough food to nourish their growing body and keep their digestive tract moving.

Day 3-4:  Your milk is changing and so is baby’s poop!  The stool colour should now be light green-yellow and seedy. Expect at least 3-4 stools over 24 hours.

Keep up those frequent feeds; baby may poop every time he/she finishes a feed.  Listen for “suck-suck-swallow” sounds when baby feeds.

Day 4-5:  The poop is now yellow, loose and seedy.  Remember “runny Dijon” (sorry you may never eat it again). Expect at least 3 large bowel movements per day.

Congrats! You and baby are on your way.  Keep responding to baby’s hunger cues–cluster feeding is normal and ensures a steady milk supply for your growing baby. After a few weeks you may notice your baby poops less often; this is common, providing your baby is getting enough milk.

Did you know?

  • On day 1-2, baby’s tummy is the size of a cherry.  By day 5, it has grown to the size of an apricot!  This explains why babies need to eat often. Their tummy fills and empties quickly.
  • After the first month, some breastfed babies won’t produce a daily bowel movement.  This is normal, as long as the feeds are going well.  For some babies, it can be several days before they produce a stool.

Share your newborn experience with us!

For parenting information or to speak with a Public Health Nurse (every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) Simply dial 311 or 905-825-6000.

About Carolyn Wilkie, RN

For most of my nursing years I have been out in the community supporting new parents on their fabulous journey into parenthood! I love working as part of the HaltonParents team. I have 2 awesome boys, who make me smile daily! So glad we could connect.
This entry was posted in Babies, Breastfeeding Your Baby, Feeding Your Baby in the First Year, Keeping Your Baby Safe, Parenting, Pregnancy and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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