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Mamagazine

How Often Should A Newborn Baby Poop?

Peanut butter coloured poop? Mustard coloured poop? Chocolate coloured poop? Go ahead and accept these are three food items you won’t be eating anytime soon after you’re done reading this!

Baby poo - and what's considered 'normal' - is hot topic for new parents. Parents in our community often come to us with the ever-daunting task of figuring out how often should a newborn poop, what their baby’s poop colour means, and whether they should be worried or not.

Mamamade have gathered together the facts on all things baby poop to put your mind at rest! We've spoken to Great Ormond Street paediatrician and mum Dr Shruti Nathwani to put together this baby poop guide.

WARNING! Messy content follows!

How Often Should A Newborn Baby Poop?

Firstly, we want to say that this can vary HUGELY from baby to baby and even though it's hard, it's very for parents to try and not compare their baby's poo to others!

Asking how often should a newborn poop is one of the most common new parent questions. At the minimum, you should expect about three bowel movements a day, though some newborns will have anywhere from 4-12 per day and others will only poop once every few days. Bowel movements will change as your baby ages, especially as they start eating more solids.

There can be a difference in poop frequency between breastfed and bottlefed babies.

If you're breastfeeding 🤱 then your baby may poo several times a day, sometimes as often as every feed. This usually decreases after around six weeks.

If you're bottle feeding 🍼 then you may see up to 5 full nappies a day in the first few weeks, decreasing to about once a day after a few months.

As long as your baby is passing soft stools, is feeding well and not showing any signs of discomfort or distress then infrequent poos aren't usually an issue, and don't always mean that your baby is constipated.

However, if no stool passes for more than 7-10 days, or earlier if baby appears unwell, let your health visitor know or contact your GP.

If you’re concerned about your baby’s bowel movement frequency then don't hesitate to ask your doctor any questions!

What colour should my baby's poop be? 

Introducing... The Baby Poo Colour Chart!

Though healthy baby poop can vary in colour and shade, there are some colours that are never a good sign. The following warrant a timely review of your newborn baby by a medical professional.

Black Sticky Baby Poo 🖤

A newborn baby's first poo is unique and has its own special name - meconium.

It's greenish-black in appearance and will be very sticky. Meconium will be passed either during labour or within 24 hours of delivery. 

Over the first 3 days after birth, your baby's poo will likely be dark green in colour.

Mustard Yellow Baby Poo 💛

Over the next few days, your baby's poo will undergo some pretty huge transitions! It will usually change to a runny, odourless, yellow or mustard colour if they are being breastfed. If they are being formula fed it will be likely solid, smelly and lighter brown.

The consistency can also vary. A formula fed baby poo will probably appear paste-like, while a breastfed baby poo can look a little like scrambled egg 🍳 (sorry to put you off that one for a while!)

You may notice tiny little 'seeds' in your baby's poo if you choose to breastfeed. These are little pellets of undigested milk can are are TOTALLY normal, so don't panic if you see them!

Dark Green Baby Poo 💚

Sometimes formula fed babies can have dark green poop due to high iron content in formula. If your baby seems otherwise healthy then this is not a cause for concern.

But, if your baby is not formula fed or taking an iron supplement then speak to your health visitor or GP to rule out anything more serious.

Bright Green and Watery Poo 💧

If you see a brighter, frothy, green stool and you’re breastfeeding, this is because your baby is receiving more foremilk (low-calorie milk that passes first during the feed) and less hindmilk (higher fat content).

Try either feeding for around 20 minutes on each breast or start new feeds on the breast you ended on last.

Brown or Dark Brown Baby Poo 🤎

Once solids start to be introduced (around 6 months) into your baby's diet their poop becomes thicker, more smelly and darker brown. This is totally normal and expected.

It's not a totally pretty sight but expect your little ones poo to become more adult-like as they develop!

Generally, baby poop is considered 'normal' when the colour sits on the spectrum of yellow-brown-green. The following shades can be causes for more serious concern:

Chalky White Baby Poo 🤍

Chalky white or grey baby poo can sometimes be a sign there is a liver function issue. If you notice this, call your GP immediately.

Pink or Red Baby Poo ❤️

Streaks of pink or red can sometimes occur when a baby is constipated and straining too hard to poo. Therefore, the red can be tiny amounts of blood caused by this strain.

If the red streaks are very bright red in colour this may have been caused by infection, allergies or another medical problem. Make sure you address this immediately with your health visitor or GP.

When should I speak to my GP or health visitor about baby poop concerns?

To summarise, seek the advice of a medical professional if you notice any of the following:

  • Blood in baby poo
  • Chalky white baby poo
  • Black baby poo after 3 days of life and not on iron supplements
  • Diarrhoea
  • Green mucus in baby poo for more than 2 days
  • Constipation and discomfort for baby when pooing
  • No baby poo for more than 7 days, or earlier if baby is unwell

Mamamade’s Final Thoughts

Don’t worry too much about how often your newborn baby should poo, or whether it's the right shade of brown, yellow or green! 

In general, if your baby is feeding well, gaining weight and seems healthy overall then take comfort that you’re on the right track!

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If you've got more parenting questions then join our online Mamamade community, Mamamates. You can ask us and other parents anything and everything, from breastfeeding to sleep regression, weaning and more!

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