The bowel motions of babies vary greatly. What is normal for one child isn’t necessarily normal for another. Below is some information to help you understand what normal bowel motions can look like for babies.
- The first bowel motion your newborn baby will pass is called meconium. This is a greenish black, sticky substance
- When the meconium is passed, it is a sign that the bowel is working and not obstructed
- Your baby’s stools will change colour and consistency as their digestive system matures and they get used to feeding on milk.
- Most breastfed newborn babies will pass several stools a day until they are around six weeks old
- Infrequent bowel motions in the first 6 weeks, even if they’re soft, may be a sign that a breastfed baby isn’t getting enough milk
- As they get older, bowel motion frequency will decrease and it’s not uncommon for breastfed babies who are a couple of months old not to poo for several days or even up to a week
- Breastfed babies rarely experience constipation
- Stools can range in colour from yellow to bright green
- Their stools can also be runny, which doesn’t necessarily indicate they have diarrhoea.
To read more about babies and Diarrhoea click here
Formula Fed Motions
- Formula fed babies tend to poo less frequently (normally once a day) than breastfed babies in the first few weeks
- Their stools are usually firmer, which are a similar consistency to plasticine or play dough
- The colour of stools can vary from being greyish yellow, to a shade of brown or sometimes they even appear to be grey-blue
- If your baby changes formula, it’s not unusual that there be a change in their bowel motions
- Some babies will experience constipation while their body adjusts to the introduction of formula. For more information on Constipation click here.
If you are concerned speak to your healthcare professional.
As you start to include solid foods in your child’s diet, you can expect their bowel habits to change again. Their stools will often take on the colour of the food they have recently eaten. For example, if they have eaten beetroot it may appear red or after eating spinach, their poo may look green.
You may also notice their stools look undigested, especially after eating vegetables. This is normal and will change as your baby’s bowel matures.
Try to avoid getting too preoccupied with your baby’s bowel habits. As long as your baby is thriving, gaining weight and appears happy, there is not too much cause for concern.