Pooping By the Numbers

Once babies have proven themselves capable of clearing out their meconium and have moved on to dishing out the “real thing,” you can be relatively assured that their plumbing is in good working order and turn your attention to the so-called normal pooping patterns of infancy.

What’s considered normal at this stage of the game (and for months to come) ranges anywhere from one poop every several days to several poops every day. Some are like the sprinters of the pooping world—fast and furious—while others are more like distance runners—slow and steady.

In general, breastfed babies poop more than formula-fed ones, and younger babies poop more than older ones. Newborn babies and young infants also tend to have several tiny poops in succession, so as a point of practicality we recommend waiting a few minutes until your newborn is convincingly finished rather than jumping into diaper-changing action after the first signs of activity.

From your pediatrician’s perspective, the actual number of poops is likely to be less important than the fact that everything is generally moving along.

Enough is Enough

In the spirit of helping you distinguish between the healthy but fast and furious pooper and those newborns pooping beyond the limits of acceptability, experts in the field of newborn care suggest the following rule of thumb: Any time a newborn’s poop becomes progressively more watery or outpaces feeding frequency, it’s time to seek medical advice.

Author Laura A. Jana, MD, FAAP and Jennifer Shu, MD, FAAP
Last Updated 11/2/2009
Source Heading Home With Your Newborn, 2nd Edition (Copyright © 2010 American Academy of Pediatrics)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
Article excerpted from healthychildren.org, copyright of the original author.

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