Supporting Breastfeeding

La Leche League Canada

The Scoop on Poop

on January 20, 2014

 

Before you have your baby you can’t imagine that you will spend time thinking about and discussing the contents of your baby’s diaper. Then baby arrives and you find yourself mildly obsessed about … poop!  So what is considered normal?

Day 1 & 2:  1-2 wet diapers and the same number of stools. The poop in the early days is black and tarry. Colostrum has laxative properties which help to clear the bowel of the matter that built up while baby was in utero.

Day 3 to 5:  3-5 wet diapers and 3-4 stools. In this period the stools should be changing from black to greenish brown and then to yellow.

Day 5-7: 4-6 wet diapers and 3-4 stools. By now stools should be yellow and seedy.

Dad&Newborn

In this period frequent feeding with good stool output is a sign of effective breastfeeding. Frequent feeding and a low number of poops is a red flag that the baby may not be latching and sucking effectively.  Diaper output is rough indicator of milk intake. Weight checks are more accurate.

Diaper output changes over time. 4 stools a day is average in the early weeks. After 6 weeks the frequency can change, sometimes dramatically. Some babies older than 6 weeks may go a week to 10 days without having a poopy diaper. This is not a cause for concern as long as the baby is continuing to gain weight appropriately. *

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Some frequently asked questions:

What does a normal bowel movement (stool) of a breastfed baby look like?

The first bowel movement will be black, tarry, and sticky; this is called meconium and is often difficult to get off a baby’s bottom. This is the stool that was built up in his colon during pregnancy. Over the first few days, the appearance of the stool changes. After the meconium has passed, the normal bowel movement for a breastfed baby is usually bright yellow, seedy, loose and abundant.

How can my baby get rid of the meconium more quickly?

There are natural laxatives in colostrum which help babies expel the meconium. The more breastfeeding your baby does in the early days the more colostrum he takes in and the faster the meconium clears. As the milk volume increases, he will start to have transitional stools.

What does the stool look like as it changes?

Between 48 and 72 hours after birth, the meconium changes to dark green and then lightens in colour to yellow. By Day 6 the breastfed baby will have stools which are yellow, loose, and sometimes described as seedy. Normally stools will be at least the size of a Toonie (2.5 cm).  This is summarized in a table here.

I’ve heard it is normal for babies to go for days without a bowel movement?

A bowel movement with every feeding is common in the early weeks. However around 6 weeks of age some babies change their stooling pattern from very frequently to once a day, or once every few days, to even once every week or so. Your exclusively breastfed baby is not constipated as long as the stool is still loose (pudding like) and a mustardy yellow colour when he does have a bowel movement. The stools should also be substantial. (Remember: the longer it has been between stools, the bigger it will be.) *

loving gaze

 

http://www.lllc.ca/our-blllogs

*  http://www.lllc.ca/faq-page

 

If you need more information or have a breastfeeding problem or concern, you are strongly encouraged to talk directly to a La Leche League Leader.  In Canada, Leaders can be located by clicking http://www.lllc.ca/find-group  or  Internationally http://www.llli.org/.  

 

 

 

 

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2 responses to “The Scoop on Poop

  1. […] Frequent feeding and a low number of poops are a red flag that the baby may not be latching and sucking effectively.  Read more here . […]

  2. […] • His diapers are on track.  Read more here. […]

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