Those first sleep-deprived days after labor and delivery often pass in a blur of feedings and diaper changes. Newborn moms frequently wonder, “How often should a baby poop?" Your child’s poop schedule is as individual as their hair color and in many cases is based on what they eat.
Breastfed babies may poop several times a day — sometimes after every feeding. Infants on formula may poop slightly less, and some healthy infants may only go once every couple of days. If your baby eats regularly and continues to gain weight, their poop schedule shouldn’t be of too much concern.
During your child's life, their stools are continually changing, mainly due to the introduction of new foods. Occasionally, an unusual poop may be the first symptom of a problem in your child's health. It's best to become familiar with the most common kinds of baby poop so you can recognize anything out of the ordinary. Baby poop charts like the one below can help you prepare for unexpected surprises in your child's diaper.
Your newborn’s first poop may look like tar in consistency and color. This substance is called meconium and is quite normal. It's made up of materials that were in your baby's digestive tract while they were in your uterus. As an added benefit, meconium is odorless since the baby’s colon is still free of bacteria.
Poop from a liquid diet
After feedings have started, breastfeeding moms may notice their baby’s poop is thin with tiny seeds, almost like mustard. Babies on formula may have slightly thicker bowel movements which have the color and consistency of peanut butter.
Poop from solid food
As you start to give your baby solid food, their poop changes to the more familiar dark brown color with a slightly mushy consistency. The types and colors of foods influence the colors of the stool and also bring about less-than-pleasant odors.
Less common infant stool types can range from watery diarrhea to hard, round pebbles. Sometimes breastfeeding moms may require antibiotics, which can loosen infant stools. Illnesses or other food sensitivities may cause runny poops as well. Diarrhea is when your baby poops more often, and it is looser than average, even watery. Infant diarrhea can quickly lead to dehydration, so always consult your doctor if diarrhea continues longer than 24 hours.
Constipation is the exact opposite of diarrhea, with poops that are harder than usual and less frequent. Constipation may begin once you start your child on regular food. Consult your doctor if your child is straining to have a bowel movement and keeps having unusually hard stools.
Excessive slimy poops or the presence of bright red blood are also cause for concern and should be discussed with your doctor.