One question that frequently comes up with mums and dads who exclusively provide breast milk for their baby is how often their baby should be going “number two.” Isn’t it normal for your baby to be pooping once or twice a day, just as healthy adults typically should be? Or is it okay to go days without a dirty diaper?
To answer this question, let’s back this up to your baby’s first few days to weeks of life.
Your Baby’s First Six Weeks
When your baby first arrives, it’s not uncommon for your bub to only have one or two wet diapers for the first two to three days. As mama’s milk supply ramps up, however, the urine and poop output will also increase.
The first poop your baby has will be a dark and sticky stool known as meconium. This substance has been stored in the baby’s digestive tract well before they made their grand entrance into this world. The natural laxative in your breast milk’s colostrum (your first milk) helps move the meconium out, though it may stay present in your milk until your baby is six weeks old.
Once the meconium has cleared out, your baby’s stools will become softer, lighter in color, and more frequent. Up to your baby’s first six weeks of life, it’s common to poop two to five times a day. The stool may show up in a myriad of colors, from tan and yellow to even green. The consistency can also change, resembling prepared mustard, pea soup, or sometimes scrambled eggs.
After The First Six Weeks
When your baby is nearing two months of age, it’s not uncommon for the number of soiled diapers to decrease. While some babies may continue to have dirty diapers once or twice a day, a lot of breastfed babies will go days without having a poopy diaper.
Why the decline in messy diapers? One reason is that the amount of colostrum in breast milk should be gone by the time your baby is six weeks old. Another is that breast milk is a very efficient source of food. Very little of it goes to waste, so very little of it needs to be removed from the body.
Keep in mind that this applies to exclusively breastfed babies. As soon as other food sources such as solids and even formula are introduced, your baby’s pooping frequency will change.
Warning Signs to Look Out For
If your baby is steadily gaining weight, has several wet diapers, and is comfortable, parents shouldn’t be overly concerned about the number of dirty diapers they are changing in a day or a week.
If you suspect your baby may be constipated, have an intestinal blockage, or another medical condition, here are the warning signs to look out for:
- Your baby’s stools are hard
- Blood is present in the stool
- Your baby is in discomfort when trying to pass stool
- Your baby has a fever
- Your baby isn’t interested in nursing
- Your baby’s spit up is yellow or green
- Your baby is vomiting
If your baby is suffering from any of the above, it is imperative that you seek medical care as soon as possible.
Every Baby Is Unique
Just as every child and adult is unique, so is your baby. Babies have their own schedule in terms of when they wet and soil their diaper, and that schedule will continue to change as their diet and digestive tract matures.