Routine diaper checking is essential. It is one way to monitor your baby’s digestive health. The two most critical questions mothers seem to ask about their baby’s bowel habit is the question of how many times does a newborn poop, and how does a healthy baby poop look like? This article will be tackling the former.
As you observe your baby’s poop, you will notice varieties of appearance, colour, texture and even smell. You should understand that his diet and age influence your baby’s bowel movement.
Why observe your baby’s poop?
You must check your baby’s poop each time you change his diapers. His poop can give you a vital clue about his health and whether he is taking inadequate food. You can also find out if your baby has diarrhoea or constipation, from merely looking at his poop.
How many times does a newborn poop?
It depends on some factors. For instance, the type of diet – formula-feeding or breastfeeding – influences the frequency of a newborn baby’s poop. Studies have shown that newborns who are exclusively breastfed usually pass out more poop, while bottle-fed babies may defecate less.
You should also expect a change in frequency if you are planning to change from formula-feeding to exclusive breastfeeding.
The table below should give you additional clarity on the issue:
|Time Period||Minimum number of bowel movements||Tactile property and colour of baby’s poop|
|First day||One||Tar-like, black|
|Second day||Zero or One||Tar-like, black|
|Third day||One||Transitional greenish poop|
|Fourth day||Four||Yellow or green|
|Fifth day||Three to Four||Loose, yellow|
|Sixth day||Three to Five||Loose, yellow|
|From the sixth week onward||Bowel movement should increase from one every seven to ten days to around three to five per day or even more||Loose, yellow|
Studies have shown that most babies have bowel movements within the first day of birth. 98 % of babies would have passed waste at least once after their first two days of birth. Newborn babies within this period pass a type of poop called meconium. It is the very first poop of babies and is made up of substances your baby may have consumed while in the womb. Materials like mucus, amniotic fluid and water. Meconium poop has a greenish tint and is inodorous.
Newborn babies will continue to defecate meconium poop until the third to the fifth day of birth. Then, your baby will pass what is mostly referred to as transitional poop. The transitional poop is of a significant green appearance with a loose texture. It indicates a passage to ‘milky’ poop.
By the seventh day or so, you should observe your baby is pooping a yellow or orange coloured poop. The frequency of your baby’s poop, at this stage, is intricately linked with the amount of food he consumes. Another factor is that your baby is more likely to poop after each meal because he has an immature digestive system, which will require him to pass out poop even after feeding.
So there is no ‘universally agreed’ number of times a newborn should poop. It varies tremendously, as all babies are different. But you should be concerned if your baby starts experiencing conditions like vomiting, bloated stomach and lack of appetite. When you notice such symptoms in your baby, seek medical attention immediately.
While introducing your baby to solids, you will realise his poop will begin to have an adult-like resemblance. You may notice this on his sixth month of birth. At this stage, his poop is more ‘solid’ or ‘bulky’, ‘smelly’ and ‘darkish’. All these are signs your baby’s digestive system is maturing and should not be a cause for concern. Food particles can even be found in his poop caused by his lack of teeth, which prevents him from chewing his food in the right way.
Some experts have estimated that mothers will change their baby’s diaper at least 1,500 times within their baby’s first year of birth. This will allow you to observe and familiarise yourself with the digestive health of your child.
There are very few things as important as your newborn baby’s poop to their overall health during the first year of his life. It is a good indication of your child’s physical development.