Infant Stools

Infant Stools when Breastfed or Bottle-fed

Weird subject to be talking about, but most mothers want to know about their baby’s poop. Is he constipated? Does he have diarrhea?

Why is my baby's poop a different color? What is normal and what is not, when it comes to infant stool?

Your Baby’s First Poop (meconium)

Newborn poop “Meconium", which is usually a dark greenish or black color, is sticky and is excreted after birth. This newborn stool is actually bile, amniotic fluid and dead skin cells that have collected in the baby’s intestines while in the mother’s womb.

Meconium is usually passed within 12 hours from birth, but is moved out of the baby’s system faster when the baby receives colostrum (clear liquid that is produced before you produce mature milk). So the more you breastfeed, the faster this meconium is removed from your baby’s system.

Normal Infant Bowel Movements

  • Normal breastfed baby poop is usually a mustardy yellow color, grainy in texture and quite runny (unless it's the first few bowel movements, that are dark in color because of the meconium, discussed above).
  • Many lactating mothers say that their baby’s poop does not have a bad smell, but rather a sweetish smell.
  • Some mothers might be worried that their babies have diarrhea, but loose stools are perfectly normal in breastfed babies.
  • Formula fed babies have stools that are firmer and darker in color.

Frequency of Baby Bowel Movements

  • After the first week of life, breastfed babies usually have a bowel movement after every feed. After a period of 6 weeks they can continue to have up to 5 per day or one bowel movement every 7-10 days. (See table below for minimum bowel movements expected daily). Each bowel movement has to be at least 2.5cm in diameter to be considered a bowel movement.
  • Formula fed babies usually only poop +/- 5 times per day in the beginning and after a few months, it decreases to about one poop per day.

Newborn Urination

  • A baby will pass about 30ml of urine on the first day of life.
  • By the end of the first week, your baby should be passing between 100 – 200ml daily.
  • A baby will have one extra urination for each day of life until day six. So, in other words, one urination on day 1, two wet diapers on day 2 and so forth. 
  • After this, a baby should have between 6 and 8 wet diapers per day for the first few weeks.

Urination in older babies

After 6 weeks, a baby will have a wetter diaper with each urination, so a baby may have fewer wet diapers per day.

Color and smell of the urine

Urine should always be a pale color and should not have a strong smell. A strong smelling, dark urine can be a sign of dehydration or other issue.

Other urination issues

Some babies may pass urate crystals in their urine during day one or two after birth. They may also leave reddish stains in the diaper. This is normal in the first two days and there is no need for concern, unless the little-one is not producing enough urine nappies.


Is your breastfed infant not pooping?

Breastfed babies do not need to poop every day; some breastfed babies may even go 8 - 10 days without a bowel movement. This is because the breast milk is better absorbed than formula.

If your baby goes for more than 10 days without a bowel movement, you should contact your paediatrician.

Mothers might worry that their babies are constipated, when they makes noises (grunts and groans) while pooping, but this is normal. A newborn baby is still getting accustomed to the workings of the body.

Formula fed babies should have at least one bowel movement per day and they should be soft.

Symptoms of Infant Constipation

Tight tummy, cramps and colic like symptoms, dry stools, small pellets, fussiness, crying and blood on the stools.

Read more about constipation causes and constipation in the breastfed infant.


How do you know when it's diarrhea?

There will usually be a sudden change in frequency and the stools will be runny;  these stools are also usually foul smelling. The baby may show signs of a fever, etc.

Try to keep your baby away from fruit juice and, if the problem persists, check that your baby does not have food sensitivities. Breastfed babies are less likely to get diarrhea, because they are not exposed to the bacteria commonly found in bottles. Also, breast milk protects the gut. 

Read more about newborn diarrhea.

Baby Poop Color

Green Bowel Movements

Most of the time, a green bowel movement is nothing to worry about.

There are a couple of things that may cause green poop:

Oversupply of breast milk can result in the consumption of too much watery foremilk. Allow your baby to drink from one breast, until he/she unlatches, before offering the other one, so that he/she  receives the fatty hind milk as well. (So, in other words, do not time feedings on each breast). The mother can always express the other breast and breastfeed from that side with the next breastfeeding session. This will help to reduce the supply. 

  • If the mother eats a lot of salad or green foods it can affect her baby’s poop color.

Black Poop

If it is not caused by the Meconium during the first few days, black poop can be the result of taking iron supplementation or iron fortified formula. If this is not the case, the mother should contact a paediatrician, so that they can check for intestinal bleeding.

Chalky White Baby Poop

This indicates a lack of bile in the liver needed to digest food. You will need to get your baby to the doctor! Other possible reasons for a white poop.

Blood in Poop

Bloody poop can indicate constipation. A bloody stool can also be caused by blood in breast milk, which is usually due to cracked nipples. Food allergies and intestinal bleeding may also cause this.

Read more about blood in infants stools here.

Introducing Solids

This should be done gradually, to help prevent baby from becoming constipated and to prevent engorgement. Many foods may also change the color of infant poop. For example, pumpkin can turn the poop orange or peas might turn it green. Infant stools may also become more pungent, darker in color and of a thicker consistency when solids are introduced.

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