Pooing and Constipation Throughout Infancy: Part One: What is Normal?

We welcome back Dr Marilyn Emedo for a series on pooing and constipation throughout infancy.  First Installment: What is Normal?

BREASTFED newborn babies stool anywhere between 7 times a day and once every 7-10 days. Stool is commonly “loose” in consistency and yellow in colour resembling “mustard seeds”. A reduction in frequency is typically seen from the 2nd month of life. 1

BOTTLE FED babies tend to open their bowels fewer times per day.

In 90% of normal term babies, meconium (intestinal epithelial cells, lanugo, mucus, amniotic fluid, bile, and water) is passed within 24 hours of birth and by 48 hours in nearly all normal babies.2

Preterm infants may take longer than this to first open their bowels; one study reported only 37% of preterm infants (25 -36 weeks gestation) open their bowels in the first 24 hours, and 32% are delayed over 48 hours. The ongoing frequency of stool output, and expected colour and consistency thereafter depends largely on what the baby is being fed.

This picture comes from http://www.breastfeedingmaterials.com where you can download a “diaper diary” with pictures of poo of all sorts of different colours and consistencies.
  1. Newborn: First Stool and Urine. Pediatrics in Review. 1994;15(8):319-320.
  2. Duyan Camurdan, A., Beyazova,
    U., Ozkan, S. & Tunc, V. T. Defecation patterns of the
    infants mainly breastfed from birth till the 12th month: Prospective cohort study.
    Turk. J.
    Gastroenterol.
    25, 1–5 (2015).

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