Newborn Bowel Movements
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New parents are often concerned with the appearance or frequency of their newborn baby’s bowel movements. Stools will vary according to how old your child is, whether they are breast or bottle fed, and whether or not they eat solids yet. Your baby’s stool may vary in appearance, consistency, and odor from day to day, and look very different from adult bowel movements.
 Baby’s first stools
Your baby will pass their first stool in the form of meconium. Meconium is a thick, dark green to black substance. Meconium is a mixture of bile, mucus and amniotic fluid and is left over from your baby’s time in the womb. You will probably see meconium about 12 hours after they are born. If you do not see meconium in their diaper within 24 hours of their birth, tell your pediatrician because that may be an indication of an intestinal blockage or another complication. Some babies will have passed their first bowel movement while still in the womb. This occurs most often in babies who have gone past their due date. Your healthcare provider will take special measures during the delivery if your baby has passed meconium in utero. As your baby begins to take in nutrition – formula or milk – the meconium will leave his system and the stools will begin to take on a yellowish color. Meconium stools will never be seen again after they leave your baby’s system.
 Breast fed babies
Once the meconium has left his system, his stools will change. They will be mustard colored, runny and seedy. They may vary in appearance from day to day slightly, depending on how hydrated he is and what foods the mother has consumed. Breast milk is absorbed by a babies system more completely than formula, so breast fed babies may go for a time without significant bowel movements. But it is also normal for them to have as many as ten bowel movements a day. Learn what is normal for your child and ask your pediatrician if you have any concerns.
 Bottle fed babies
Once the meconium has left his system, his stools will change. They will have a thicker consistency than breast fed babies, but still should not be any firmer than peanut butter. The stool will appear yellow brown in color. His stools may vary from day to day according to how hydrated he is.
 Frequency of stools
Each baby is different and as he gets older you will begin to see a pattern of frequency that is normal for your child. It is within the range of normal to have several stools a day and to not have a bowel movement for two or three days. If your baby is eating well and wetting at least six times a day, he is probably getting enough to eat. The frequency of your baby’s bowel movements will slow down after they turn 1 to 2 months old, and is not cause for alarm.
 Introduction of solid foods
Your baby’s stool will change in consistency, smell, and color when you introduce solids into his diet. The stools will appear thicker, darker, and have more of an odor. The stool will reflect what you have fed him; if you feed him carrots you will see more of an orange stool. Items like raisins will be passed whole until you baby’s digestive system matures.
Mild constipation may be an indication of dehydration and can occur when solid foods are introduced. Bottle fed babies are more susceptible to constipation than breast fed babies because breast milk has balanced fat and protein content and promotes a softer stool. If your baby seems irritable when having a bowel movement, streaks of blood in the stool, or they stool is pelleted, contact your child’s pediatrician for advice. He may suggest more fiber in his diet such as that found in pureed prunes, pears and apricots. Feed your baby yogurt to help with constipation.
Your child may have an occasional loose, watery stool and that is normal. But if you see frequent loose, watery stools and they appear suddenly, it may be diarrhea. Diarrhea can be caused by an illness, infection, or an allergy. Contact your pediatrician for advice when your baby has diarrhea.
 When to call the doctor
Baby bowel movements have a wide range of normal, but call the doctor if you see: