Babies do three things – eat, sleep and poop. And if you’ve recently become a parent (congrats!), it may come as a shock to you just how many nappies your little one can get through a day.
Newborn poop isn’t very much like its adult counterpart, which can take you by surprise when you first start changing nappies! Here’s everything you need to know about what’s normal and what’s not in the world of newborn baby poop.
How Often Should a Newborn Poop?
While there isn’t an exact poop quota your baby should meet each day, here’s what a normal day of pooping might look like:
- On average, babies have about four poops a day during the first week of their life. This decreases to an average of two per day by their first birthday.
- Breast milk is considered a natural laxative, so breastfed babies may poop at every feed during their first few weeks. Thankfully, this ‘in and out’ phase doesn’t last very long, and they might not poop for several days after the six-week mark. Phew!
- Formula-fed babies, on the other hand, can poop up to five times a day when newborn, reducing to as little as once per day after a few months.
While all of this might seem like too much poop to handle, there’s generally not a lot to worry about. Some babies are quite literally pooping machines, while others can go a few days without pooping at all!
As long as your baby seems happy, bouncy and is eating well, chances are things are fine – even if you need to change them 12 times a day!
Newborn Baby Poop Colours
A better indication of your baby’s digestive health is the colour of their poop.
Below is a rough guide to the different shades of baby poop and what the colours might mean:
- Meconium: large, dark, thick and tarry poop that can be sticky and very hard to clean up. Meconium contains cells and other substances that line your baby’s digestive tract during pregnancy. This kind of poop is generally nothing to worry about and will subside after the first 3 or 4 days.
- Mustard Yellow: Breastfed babies often poo yellow stools. The consistency will generally be loose (sometimes very loose!), and smell (semi) sweet – not like your average poop!
- Pale Yellow or Pale Brown: Babies who are formula-fed might have semi-formed poops that are this colour. They may strain a little to work this kind of poo out, but this is totally normal!
- Green: While a few green nappies are usually nothing to worry about, babies who frequently poop green, watery stools might have diarrhoea. It could be a sign that your baby has an allergy or intolerance, so it’s best to check this one out with your health advisor.
- Pink or Red: Reddish baby poop could be a sign of blood, but there’s no need to panic if you spot it. Call your doctor and they’ll be able to tell you what’s going on. It could just be a sign of allergies or constipation.
- White: Very pale, white poop is very rare, but it could indicate an underlying problem. Contact your doctor straight away if you spot this kind of poop.
We’re sure you’re aware by now just how much a baby’s poo can vary! If your little one is eating well, gaining weight and growing, chances are everything is fine.
While it’s not unusual for breastfed babies’ poop to be loose, if your baby’s poop is frequently watery, it could be a sign of diarrhoea.
Diarrhoea can be a symptom of many things, including infection, teething, antibiotics, dietary changes or allergies. It’s always best to get your baby checked out by a doctor to find the root cause of the problem!
Remember – if your baby does have diarrhoea, it’s important to keep their fluid levels in check. Breastfeed or offer your baby the bottle more frequently to help them get the extra fluids they need.
Newborn Constipation Signs
You might think your baby is constipated if they seem to strain when pooping. But if you’re feeding your baby formula this is quite normal. Formula is a little harder for babies to digest (and makes their poop more solid), and it’s completely normal for them to seem strained or upset when passing a poop. As long as their poop is soft and a normal colour, everything should be fine.
Your baby might be genuinely constipated if they show any of the following signs:
- Pooping fewer than three times a week.
- They have hard, dry and lumpy poops that look like pellets.
- They’re eating less and aren’t as hungry.
- Their little tummy is firm.
- Their poops are larger than usual and are difficult to pass.
- They seem a little grizzly and fatigued.
How to Relieve Constipation in Newborns
Constipation can be caused by a number of things, including dehydration or a change in diet. Thankfully, these can be easily treated using the following methods:
Lay your baby down on their back on a soft, safe and comfortable surface. Gently give their tummy a massage to help get things moving. You can use your fingertips to make circular motions across their belly in a clockwise pattern.
You can try exercising your baby to help things along. Lay them down on a soft, safe surface and gently move their legs in a cycling motion. These movements will encourage their bowels to function and provide some relief.
A nice warm bath
Bathe your little one in warm water to help their abdominal muscles relax and discourage them from straining. This can also help soothe some of the discomfort associated with constipation.
Nappy Cream for Newborns
Pooping problems can lead to your baby’s nappy area getting irritated. While nappy rashes are super common, they can also be super uncomfortable for your baby, so it’s important to protect their skin.
If your baby already has a nappy rash that’s causing them discomfort, you should use a nappy rash cream to treat it. You can ask your family doctor or pharmacist for a recommendation on this.
Once you’ve applied the nappy rash cream, you can use a thin layer of barrier cream to protect their sensitive skin. This should be done during every change, and it will help prevent an uncomfortable nappy rash from upsetting your little one!