Learning About Bowel Movements in Newborns

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How often do newborns have bowel movements?

Every baby has different bowel habits.

Many newborns have at least 1 or 2 bowel movements a day. By the end of the first week, your baby may have as many as 5 to 10 a day. Your baby may pass a stool after each feeding. But as your baby eats more and matures during that first month, the number of bowel movements may decrease.

By 6 weeks of age, your baby may not have a bowel movement every day. This usually isn't a problem as long as your baby seems comfortable and is healthy and growing, and as long as the stools aren't hard.

What will the bowel movements look like?

Your newborn baby's bowel movements (also known as "stools") can change a lot in the days, weeks, and months after birth. The stools can come in many different colours and textures-all of which may be perfectly normal for your child.

The first stool your baby passes is thick, greenish black, and sticky. It's called meconium.

The stools usually change from this thick, greenish black to green in the first few days. They'll change to yellow or yellowish brown by the end of the first week.

The stools of breastfed babies tend to be more yellow than those of bottle-fed babies.

It's normal for your baby's stool to be runny or pasty, especially if he or she is breastfed.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your baby has new symptoms such as vomiting.
  • Your baby's stools are:
    • Maroon or very bloody.
    • Black (and your baby has already passed meconium).
    • White or grey.
  • Your child is having a lot more stools than normal for him or her.
  • Your baby's stools are hard, or he or she strains to pass stool.
  • Your baby's stool has large amounts of mucus or water in it.

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if your child has any problems.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to keep a list of the medicines your child takes. Ask your doctor when you can expect to have your child's test results.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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Current as of: July 26, 2016