Dr. Linda, my baby is 2 days old. He just pooped and it’s black! Should I worry?
No! Meconium is the first baby poop your baby will have. Its dark green to black and very sticky. 90% of babies will pass their first meconium in the first 24 hours after delivery.
Over the next three days, as your milk comes in (or your baby is taking formula), your baby’s poop will change to ‘transitional stools’ where meconium is mixed in with breastmilk or formula poop. Transitional stools usually last for a day to a day and a half.
What should you expect your baby’s poop to look like?
Baby poop changes depending on your baby’s age and what you are feeding baby.
Breastfed baby poop
Breastfed baby poop is very soft. Breast milk contains exactly what your baby needs at any given time meaning most of the milk solids are absorbed, leaving liquid and a small amount of unabsorbed material. So, when your baby has a bowel movement, you will see a squirt of yellowish fluid followed by yellow to yellow green seeds. This is not diarrhea.
Formula fed baby poop
Most formula fed babies have green colored stools. Since formula is not as easily digestible as breast milk, baby poop in formula fed babies is stickier and is about the consistency of soft to thick peanut butter. Different formulas may give your baby different types of baby poop:
Soy formula tends to give babies harder, less frequent bowel movements.
Hydrolyzed formulas used for babies with cow’s milk allergy or intolerance tend to produce softer and more frequent stools. Good Start, Nutramigen, and Alimentum are examples of these formulas.
Babies who receive both breast milk and formula tend to have baby poops more similar to formula fed babies.
How often should my baby poop?
In the first few days, babies generally have 1-4 bowel movements a day depending on what you are feeding them.
Your breastfed baby may have only one to 2 baby poops a day until your milk comes in which takes about 72 hours. Once your milk is in your baby may have a baby poop every time you feed them (around 8-12 times a day).
Formula fed babies tend to have an average of around 2-4 bowel movements a day.
As your baby grows, their bowel habits tend to change
Formula fed babies
Babies on formula tend to have around 2 bowel movements a day (mine had 6!).
Breastfed babies may continue to poop every time they eat, or, they may slow down only having one baby poop every 3-5 days (some babies may go up to seven days). This change happens sometime around 6 weeks of age and can be a little scary. But, as long as your baby is comfortable, is eating, peeing and sleeping well, and, is gaining weight well there is usually nothing to worry about. Always call your doctor if you are concerned.
Consult Your Doctor
If your baby is not having frequent bowel movements, here are signs you should consult your doctor as soon as possible:
Your baby is fussy and/or is acting uncomfortable.
Your baby is not eating as well as usual.
Your baby’s poop is hard like pellets or little balls.
Your baby screams when having a bowel movement.
There is mucus in your baby’s poop.
If your newborn baby has any of the following signs you need to get them to the doctor immediately:
A temperature of 100.4F (38.2C) or more.
Baby has a swollen, tender tummy and cries when you touch his/her tummy.
Baby looks sick or is refusing to eat.
There is blood in baby’s stool.
If your baby’s poop is white (with very little color), red or looks like currant jelly.
What color should my baby’s poop be?
Breastfed babies tend to have yellow baby poop and formula fed babies tend to have green baby poop. The more bile and the faster the baby poop has passed, the greener it will be.
If your baby’s poop is white (with very little color), red or looks like currant jelly you need to consult your doctor immediately.
Every baby is unique and will pass baby poop in their own way. There is really no one size fits all answer for every baby, but these guidelines should help you know your little one is safe and healthy.
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