Newborns should have at least one bowel movement, larger than a quarter size, each day for their first and second days after birth.Their first stools, called meconium, are dark green to almost black in color. The consistency is tar-like and they typically have no odor.
If your baby continues to have meconium bowel movements when he is 4 days old, see a healthcare provider to make sure baby is taking in enough milk.
When your baby is two to four days old, you will begin to see “transitional” stools. These bowel movements are brown or green in color and less sticky than the meconium. You may also see some lighter milk curds in the stool as your baby starts to drink more milk.
Expect your baby to have at least 2 bowel movements a day that are larger than a quarter.
By the time your baby is 5 days old, he should be having loose yellow or yellowy brown stool that contains small white milk curds. This type of stool is quite liquidy, causing some parents to mistake it for diarrhea!
Expect at least 2 or 3 stools, larger than a quarter size, each day. Some babies will have a bowel movement every feeding. This is not a problem. We don’t worry about too much breast milk poop.
If you are formula feeding, your baby’s stool will be less watery and can range in color from yellowish-brown to greenish brown. It may also have a bit of an odor.
In the first few days of your baby’s life, your may see a pink or reddish tinge in your baby’s wet diaper. This is called “brick dust” and it is caused by uric acid crystals in the urine. (It literally looks like someone ground a red brick into powder and soaked it into the diaper.) It is often mistaken for blood.
Brick dust is normal for the first two or three days but once baby is drinking larger volumes of milk and the urine gets less concentrated, it should disappear.
If your baby continues to have this reddish tinge in the diaper by the 4th day of life, contact your healthcare provider to make sure baby is drinking enough.
The minimum number of diapers to expect in 24 hours:
Age in days Wet diapers (pee)Dirty diapers (poop)111221332442552-35+5-62-3
If you are uncertain if baby is having wet diapers, tuck a tissue into the diaper.
What If Baby Does Not Stool Every Day?
Babies under 3 weeks:
If you are breastfeeding and your baby is less than 3 weeks old, expect him to have at least one bowel movement (larger than a quarter coin) each day. If your baby is not stooling at least once a day, he should be seen by your health care provider to make sure he is taking in enough milk. (Note: Sometimes breastfed babies of this age do NOT stool every day but are perfectly healthy and gaining well. See your health care provider to be sure.)
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Two to four months old:
At this age, some babies may only have a larger bowel movement every 5-7 days. If the stool is soft and yellowish and the baby is otherwise well and gaining weight, there is no concern.
Constipated stool is hard and difficult to pass. If your baby has hard stool or if you are wondering if your baby is getting enough milk, please consult with your healthcare provider.
Sometimes parents worry when their baby has a green colored stool. As mentioned above, young babies go through a stage of green stool called ‘transitional stool’. As baby gets older, you may notice an occasional green stool again. This can be normal, especially if your baby is gaining weight and seems content. Toronto-based pediatrician Jack Newman, along with lactation consultant Teresa Pitman, write “If the baby is content and gaining well,” parents shouldn’t worry but rather “buy … sunglasses so [they] don’t see the color.” (Newman, Pitman. Guide to Breastfeeding. 2009.)
Want to learn more?
Learn more about what’s normal and when to worry about your baby’s poops in this video by pediatrician Dr. Alan Greene.
*Updated July 31, 2019