Understanding your baby’s bowel movements


Newborn babies go through at least 2,000 diapers in the first year, so you have plenty of time to get familiar with their bowel movements. During the precious newborn stage, it can be difficult to know if your baby's bowel movements are healthy. You may wonder: "How many times does a newborn baby poop per day?"

For new parents, the frequency of your baby's bowel movements depends on whether you're breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, and your baby's unique digestive system also comes into play. Therefore, new parents can ask their pediatrician about their newborn's bowel movements, or refer to the following guideline.

Your baby's first bowel movement usually occurs within two days of birth. These stools, called meconium, tend to be sticky and tar-like, and are made up of skin cells that your baby shed and swallowed while in the womb. Your baby's first few diapers will contain meconium until their digestive system clears out all the residue from birth. After the meconium has passed, the consistency of the stool will vary depending on whether your baby is breastfed or formula fed.

In general, breastfed babies may produce a lot of dirty diapers in the first few weeks of life. As they get older, breastfed babies generally have fewer bowel movements than formula-fed babies. As your newborn's gastrocolic reflexes have yet to fully develop, their bodies may "make room" by passing a bowel movement each time they feed.

Newborn babies can produce as many as 8 to 10 dirty diapers a day, but some breastfed newborns only have a bowel movement every few days. Both conditions are healthy. It is normal for a breastfed baby to have only one bowel movement per week. It may also be normal to have one bowel movement with each feeding.

Another interesting fact is that the bowel movements of breastfed babies look different than those of formula-fed babies. A breastfed baby's poop is usually soft, grainy, mustard-colored and may smell differently.

As for how often do formula-fed newborns have bowel movements? Babies who are primarily formula-fed have about one to four bowel movements per day. Formula-fed newborn babies may have fewer bowel movements, but the stools and smells are different. This is because of the slow passage of waste through the large intestine when your baby is fed formula.

Some formula-fed babies have fewer bowel movements, it all depends on the baby's digestive system. The stools of formula-fed babies look yellow to brown and are firmer than those of breastfed babies.

After the newborn period (about 6 to 8 weeks or so), the frequency of bowel movements will slow down, which is normal. Digestion becomes more efficient as your baby's intestines mature. As long as the stools come out soft and your baby is at a healthy weight, it's fine if your baby poops once or twice a week.

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