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Baby Bowel Movement Frequency – Newborn Bowel Movements

Bowel movement in an infant is one of the primary concerns among new parents. So, how many bowel movements a day is normal in babies? Well, this would completely depend on how old your baby is and on what food is your baby is on. Newborns generally have 8 to 10 bowel movements per day. Usually after each breastfeeding, your baby will have a bowel movement. This, however,  could vary in babies and therefore  you need not be worried in case your newborns bowel movement frequency is less.

The first bowel movement in newborn occurs within 24 hours from the birth. If this bowel movement doesn’t occur, doctors perform tests to ensure that there are no intestinal blockages. Thereafter, the bowel movement in the child will depend on the diet of both the mother and the baby.

Baby bowel movement frequency can be divided into two categories – breastfed newborn bowel movement and formula-fed newborn bowel movement. The reason being, bowel movements  in newborns differ according to the diet the baby is on.

Breastfed Babies Bowel Movements

In case of breastfed babies, the stool generally looks golden yellow or mustard color. The frequency of bowel movement may not be consistent but your newborn may have bowel movements each time post breastfeeding. Infants have been known to have bowel movements as many as 15 times per day and in some cases, infants bowel movements have been observed every 3 or 5 days. This doesn’t necessary mean trouble since it takes time for the baby to switch to regular bowel movements. In case of breastfed newborn babies, diet of the mother affects the frequency of bowel movement in the baby.

Formula-fed Babies Bowel Movements

Usually, the bowel movement in formula fed babies is more consistent than that of the breastfed babies. As long as the baby has one bowel movement per day, there should be no cause of concern. In case of formula-fed babies, the stool is a lot more firm than that of the breastfed babies and therefore if the baby does not pass motion for couple of days, it could possibly be that the baby has constipation. The color of baby’s stool may range from yellow, tan to brown.

Formula-fed babies may show signs of strain/grunts or their face may even turn red while having bowel movements. This is quite normal and there is no need to be worried. However, you need to be concerned only in case if there is any blood present in the motion. Bowel movements in infants on formula feed will depend on the baby’s diet, how hydrated the baby is, and in some cases, whether the baby has any intestinal problems or not.

Newborn Bowel Movements – Must Know Facts

Here are a few facts that you must be aware of regarding infant bowel movement:

After birth, the newborn will have it’s first bowel movement within 24 hours. The stool may appear to be thick and dark green in color and is called meconium. Meconium consists of shed skin cells, amniotic fluid and bile which gets collected in baby’s intestine during pregnancy. Since the baby’s digestive system starts functioning by swallowing the amniotic fluid, the initial bowel movement in newborn’s will discard meconium. Once the infant expels all of it, the stool will take a normal color and the frequency becomes regular.

It is normal for breastfeeding babies to have bowel movements right after breastfeeding. So, don’t be worried in case the baby has bowel movement less than a few hours after being breastfed.

If your newborn is not having bowel movement for more than a week or if the newborn’s bowel movements are dry and pellet like or if there are traces of blood in the stool, you must immediately consult a pediatrician.

Irrespective of your baby being on formula feed or breastfeed, it is believed that if the baby has at least one bowel movement per day, then there is nothing to worry about.

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