Infant Stools when Breastfed or Bottle-fed
Weird subject to be talking about, but most Moms want to know about
their baby’s poop. Is he constipated? Does he have diarrhoea?
Why is Baby's poop a different color? What is normal and what is not, when it comes to
Your Baby’s First Poop (meconium)
“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 Baby’s
intestines while in Mom’s womb.
Meconium is usually passed within 12 hours from birth, but is moved out of Baby’s system faster when 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 breastfeeding Mothers say that their baby’s poop does not have a bad smell, but rather a sweetish smell.
* Some Moms might be worried that their baby has diarrhoea, but a loose poop is 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 about 5 times per day in the beginning and after a few months it decreases to about one poop per day.
Minimum number of bowel movements expected per 24-hour period in the first six months
Bowel movements (minimum)
Color & texture
green or yellow
6 weeks +
Range from 1 every 7-10 days, to 3-5 per day or more
* 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 having 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.
Moms might worry that their baby is constipated,when he/she makes noises (grunts
and groans) while pooping, but this is normal. 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 Baby constipation causes and constipation in the breastfed infant.
How do you know when it's diarrhoea?
There will usually be a sudden change in frequency and the stools will be runny; these stools are also usually foul smelling. Baby may have signs of a fever, etc.
Try keeping 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 diarrhoea because they are not exposed to the bacteria commonly found in bottles.
Read more here on newborn diarrhea.
Baby Poop Color
Infant 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:
can cause green baby poops; this will return to normal as soon as the jaundice is resolved.
* Formulas that are fortified with Iron can also cause green baby poop.
* Food sensitivities that are usually accompanied by a rash. Read more on food sensitivity or allergy here.
* Green mucus poop that is frothy may indicate
foremilk/hindmilk imbalance. It may also indicate other problems. Read more on mucous in infant stools.
of breast milk can result in your baby drinking too much of the watery
foremilk. Mothers should make sure that their babies drink from one breast until their baby 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). Mom can always just pump the other
breast and breastfeed from that side with the next breastfeeding
- If Mom eats a lot of salad or green foods it can affect Baby’s poop color.
If it is not caused by the Meconium during the first few days, black poop in Baby can be the result of
taking iron supplementation or iron fortified formula. If this
is not the case, Moms 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 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 be a cause.
Read more on blood in infants stools here.
This should be done gradually to help prevent constipation in Baby and
in Mom's breasts. 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.
Signs of a Problem in Infant Stools
* Infant stools that contain blood may be a sign of constipation (try increasing Baby’s fluid intake). Yogurt can also keep constipation away (only for babies that are 6 months and older).
* Sudden change in frequency and fluidity in an infant stools may be a sign of diarrhoea.
Other pages on "breastfeeding problems" in connection with infant stools
- Breastfeeding and colic
- Breastfeeding a lactose intolerant baby
- Food sensitivities in the breastfed infant
- Failure to thrive / Growth failure
- Cystic Fibrosis and breastfeeding
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10 bowel movement per day Not rated yet
My son is 4 1/2 month old, from last one week he started pooping 9-10 times per day. Color in green liquid form not hard. He is exclusively breastfeed. …
poops three times a day Not rated yet
My baby is a month old today and for the past 3days, he has been stooling for 2-3 times a day. I breasted and bottle feed him because he eats a lot.
didnt poo for 3 days Not rated yet
My 2 months old baby didnt poo for 3 days and hubby told me to drink me prune juice. I drank one glass of prune juice and a next day my baby had a watery …
Texture of poop Not rated yet
my 2 month old breastfed only daughter's stools just recently turned from the mustard yellow seedy color to more of a watery yellowish green with no "seeds" …
My baby is 3 weeks old Not rated yet
So my baby is three weeks old and I don't get a whole lot of breast milk I try to pump and I used to get enough milk.
I would get almost to 3oz of it …
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Site by BFeeding Mamma, Tracy Behr. Currently studying through Child birth International (CBC, CBD). Also an accomplished author and Mommy of two.