Everything You Need to Know About Newborn Poop

Article By
Published On
01 Mar, 2021
Read Time
4 minutes

When you break it down, newborn babies tend to do three things – eat, sleep and poop. And if you’ve recently become a parent (congrats!), it may come as a shock to you just how many nappies your little one can get through a day.  

Newborn poop isn’t very much like its adult counterpart, which can take you by surprise when you first start changing nappies! Here’s everything you need to know about what’s normal and what’s not in the world of newborn baby poop. 

How often should a newborn poop?

While there isn’t an exact poop quota your baby should meet each day, on average, babies have about four poops a day during the first week of their life. This decreases to an average of two per day by their first birthday.  

Breast milk is considered a natural laxative, so breastfed babies may poop at every feed during their first few weeks. Thankfully, this 'in and out' phase doesn't last very long, and they might not poop for several days after the six-week mark. Formula-fed newborn babies, on the other hand, can poop up to five times a day. This reduces to as little as once a day after a few months.

While all of this might seem like too much poop to handle, there’s generally not a lot to worry about. Some babies are quite literally pooping machines, while others can go a few days without pooping at all!  

If your baby seems happy and is eating well, chances are things are fine (even if you need to change them 12 times a day), but it’s always best to trust your parenting instinct and speak to your GP, midwife, or health visitor if you're worried about your little one's bowel movements.

Types of newborn baby poop

There are different stages of baby poop, from meconium to normal newborn poop, and the colour and consistency may vary from day to day as their digestive system starts functioning. Let's run through each stage in more detail.

Meconium: Within 48 hours

Meconium is a baby's first poop and it's already in the bowel at the time of birth.

It’s dark, thick, and tarry, and can be sticky and very hard to clean up. It contains cells and other substances that line your baby’s digestive tract during pregnancy. This kind of poop usually subsides after three or four days. You should speak to your GP if your baby hasn’t passed any meconium 48 hours after birth.

Green poop: Day three to four

Greenish-coloured poop is usually a sign that the last of the meconium is leaving a baby's bowel. During this stage, their poop is still dark but has a green tinge as they start to digest milk.

Yellow poop: Day five to six

From around day five, your baby's poop may look like it has seeds in it. Newborn poo at this stage is usually runny, but not very smelly. If your baby is formula-fed their poop may have a slightly darker tan shade and might be a bit smellier!

Newborn poop colours and what they mean

A good indication of your baby’s digestive health is the colour of their poop!

  • Mustard yellow: Breastfed babies often poo yellow stools. The consistency will generally be loose (sometimes very loose!), and smell (semi) sweet – not like your average poop!  
  • Pale yellow or pale brown: Formula-fed babies might have semi-formed poops that are this colour, and they may strain a little to work this kind of poo out as it can be a little firm.
  • Green: While a few green nappies are usually nothing to worry about, babies who frequently poop green, watery stools might have diarrhoea. It could be a sign that your baby has an allergy or intolerance, so it’s best to check this one out with your health advisor.  
  • Pink or red: Red or pink baby poop could be a sign of blood, but there’s no need to panic if you spot it. See your doctor and they’ll be able to tell you what’s going on. It could be a sign of allergies or constipation. Alternatively, if you see blood in your baby's nappy, it could be harmless false or pseudo menstruation – a very light bleed from a baby girl's vagina that's caused by the effects of mum's hormones on their baby's system.
  • White: Very pale, white poop is very rare, but it could indicate an underlying problem. Contact your doctor straight away if you spot this kind of poop.  

Signs of newborn diarrhoea

We’re sure you’re aware by now just how much a baby’s poo can vary! If your little one is eating well, gaining weight, and growing, chances are everything is fine.  

While it’s not unusual for a breastfed baby's poop to be loose, if their poop is frequently watery, it could be a sign of diarrhoea.  

What can cause diarrhoea in newborns?

Diarrhoea can be a symptom of many things, including infection, teething, antibiotics, dietary changes, or allergies. It’s always best to get your baby checked out by a doctor to find the root cause of the problem.

Remember, if your baby does have diarrhoea, it’s important to keep their fluid levels in check. Breastfeed or offer your baby the bottle more frequently to help them get the extra fluids they need and avoid dehydration.

Newborn constipation signs

Your newborn baby might be constipated if they show any of the following signs: 

  • pooping fewer than three times a week
  • they have hard, dry and lumpy poops that look like pellets
  • they’re eating less and aren’t as hungry
  • their little tummy is firm
  • their poops are larger than usual and are difficult to pass
  • they seem a little grizzly and fatigued

How often should a newborn baby pee?

There are no set guidelines on how many times a newborn should urinate, but if their nappy is wet regularly that's a good sign.

  • 24 hours after birth: Typically one wee
  • Day one to two: Typically two or more wees
  • Day three to four: Typically three more wees
  • Day five to six: Typically five or more wees

The term 'heavy nappy' means it's full of wee or poop and is due for a change!