It’s amazing how important poop is. Seriously. I never would have thought that one of the easiest ways to tell if your child is healthy is by looking at their poop.
Sounds gross, but you get used to it.
Breastfed baby poop and formula baby poop have different aspects. In this post, we’ll talk about breastfed baby poop.
I remember when I was looking into what to pack in the hospital bag. I found something that said newborns poop about 10 times a day.
Alright, a minimum of 10 diapers a day then. I packed 24.
Hospitals do provide diapers; you don’t have to pack them. But I wanted to start cloth diapers on Sara right away.
So I brought 24 flats with me.
Turns out, we were a little too overwhelmed to start the cloth diapers at the hospital and just went with the disposables provided by the hospital.
And you know what? Sara went through only one or two diapers the first day.
The information I had read was about an older newborn. Up to four days old babies poop and wet the number of days old they are.
So a baby one day old poops once. A baby two days old poops twice. After about a week, babies starting pooping about 10 times a day.
Meconium and Bilirubin
So what does new baby poop look like? Black tar.
It’s called meconium.
It’s made up of all the things baby swallowed while in the womb: bile, mucus, amniotic fluid, lanugo, etc.
It takes a few days for meconium to fully move through the system. The more baby breastfeeds, the faster it’ll move out of the system.
Mother Nature knows what she’s doing. The milk for the first few days actually isn’t milk. It’s called colostrum and is a natural laxative.
So the more colostrum Baby drinks, the easier it will be for him or her to poop out all the meconium and any bilirubin in their system.
Bilirubin is a natural product of the body breaking down red blood cells. Our livers take it out of the bloodstream and then our digestive tract disposes of it.
The problem for newborns is that their livers are still developing. So their little bodies can struggle to expose of it all. Too much in the body is poisonous.
If Baby is not able to poop out all the meconium and bilirubin within a few days, they are at risk for baby jaundice. And about half of newborns do experience it.
If you don’t know, jaundice is the yellowing of the skin and eyes. If you believe your baby has jaundice, it’s okay, just call the doctor. They can treat it. If you wait, then it gets harder to treat.
Some studies have looked at the link between breastfeeding and baby jaundice. None of the babies who breastfed at least 10 times during their first 24 hours of life experienced jaundice. The babies who breastfed less experienced it more often.
Green and Yellow Poop
By day three, you will most likely see the black, tar-like meconium give way to green and yellow poop.
By day five, the meconium should be all gone. And by then, Baby should be pooping around 10 times a day. This poop has a runny consistency and may have small lumps in it.
Newborns poop little bits several times a day. As babies get older, they poop less often, but big amounts at once.
How often and how much your baby poops tells you whether or not they’re eating enough, usually.
Some babies naturally poop extra or less.
If your baby is a newborn older than a week and not pooping at least four times a day, get their weight checked.
If their weight gain is fine, then your baby naturally poops less.
If your baby hasn’t gained enough weight, then work with your pediatrician to make a plan to get baby to eat more.
We went through a period of Sara not gaining enough weight. The pediatrician told me to feed her at least once every three hours, even at night.
That was a bit rough.
I would feed her, set the timer on my phone, wait for it to go off or for her to get hungry, and repeat all day long. She was growing like crazy at that time and needed to eat a lot.
Older Baby Poops
When Sara hit a month old, I was shocked to discover her pooping patterns were changing. She was only pooping about once a day. I was a bit concerned.
The pediatrician said it was normal.
The same thing happened at two months. Sara started pooping only a few times a week.
The pediatrician said that as long as she didn’t go longer than a week, she was fine.
Now we are at month three and her patterns have changed again. She’s back to pooping almost once a day.
These are Sara’s pooping patterns. Your breastfed baby is likely to be different. Some stay on a regular multiple times a day pooping schedule. Others change over to the once a week and stay like that.
So long as baby is eating, gaining weight, and not having constipation troubles it’s fine.
Your pediatrician will work with you if there seem to be any problems.
You’ll likely be asked to chart how often your baby eats, wets, and poops. If Baby has no issues, the chart won’t be used. But if Baby is struggling, the chart can be invaluable in identifying the problem.
Exclusively breastfed babies rarely get constipated. They may poop infrequently, but so long as they are gaining weight appropriately, have runny, lumpy stools, and don’t struggle to poop, they are not constipated.
A breastfed baby is constipated when their stools turn from runny and lumpy to hard.
Once breastfed babies start eating solids, they are more likely to get constipated. If you think your baby is constipated, reach out to your pediatrician, and they will work with you to treat your baby.
That’s the Skinny on Breastfed Baby Poop
Have you come across any poop struggles when breastfeeding your baby? Or been surprised by the change in the frequency of pooping from month to month?