First-time moms and dads might have a few worries about their new babies, especially when it comes to their children’s bowel movements. Aside from the sometimes strange colors and consistencies of their baby’s poop, they might also have some questions about how often their little one needs to poop each day.
Pediatrician Dr. Ella Salvador tells SmartParenting.com.ph in a 2016 article that the frequency of bowel movements can vary among different babies. Some can poop up to seven or eight times per day, while some only poop every other day.
Parents says that in the first one or two months of a child’s life, she can make up to ten dirty diapers a day. This is because of the gastrocolic reflex, which “occurs as the stomach stretches with food and the colon is automatically signaled to empty and make room for more.” Since this reflex is less developed in babies, they can poop each time they feed.
The frequency of a baby’s poop can also be affected by her diet. According to What to Expect, on average, breastfed babies make one poopy diaper for every day of life: In other words, they poop once on Day 1, twice on Day 2, and so on. However, it is also normal for breastfed newborns to make between one dirty diaper every few days to several dirty diapers in one day.
Bundoo also points out that it is common for babies’ poop frequency to slow down to once a day after about a month of life.
Formula-fed babies, on the other hand, usually poop around three to four times per day, says What to Expect, although some may also go three to four days without a bowel movement. Parents says that formula-fed infants poop less frequently because their stool moves through the intestines more slowly.
Once a baby starts on her solids, the frequency of her bowel movements can change again since her stomach is adjusting to new foods. According to Parents, breastfed babies’ poop typically thickens while formula-fed babies’ poop typically softens.
The bottom line is that each child’s poop frequency varies; what’s more important to pay attention to is the consistency of your baby’s stool and whether or not her bowel movements are painful.
What to Expect advises that there is no need to worry about how often your baby poops as long as her stools are soft and passed without a struggle. However, if she hasn’t had a bowel movement in more than five days, she passes firm and pebble-like stools, and her bowel movements are painful — all of which can be symptoms of constipation — it might be time to call your pediatrician.