When Should You Worry About Newborn Bowel Movements

A common question that many new parents will ask is: how many newborn bowel movements should occur throughout a day?

All parents will hear about is that their new babies will eat, sleep and poop and do nothing else – apart from crying to tell you that these three are needed. It makes you think that a lot of bowel movements will be happening.

Not as Many Newborn Bowel Movements as You Think

Newborn Bowel MovementsThe truth is that your baby will not have as many bowel movements as you are probably thinking. Between eight and ten is normal but there are some babies who will only have one.

One is a healthy amount – none in a day is a sign that something is wrong, especially if your baby’s abdomen is swollen.

The Types of Stools

It is not just important to consider the number of newborn bowel movements; you will also need to look at the color of the stools – not the nicest thing in the world but important to make sure you have a healthy baby.

The first stools should be green to black in color. This is known as meconium and is some of the bile, amniotic fluid and the mucus that was produced during the life in the womb.

This will usually be seen within the first 12 hours of birth but should be there within the first 24 hours – you will need to talk to a doctor if that is not the case as it will show that there is some blockage somewhere in the intestines.

Bowel Movements in the Womb

There are times that the first newborn bowel movements will be while the baby is still inside. This is especially common with late deliveries and is something that a doctor will check for and is usually spotted before delivery. There will be special measures taken if this is the case, since there are complications with this.

Later Bowel Movements

As babies gain the nutrition from the milk, the newborn bowel movements will start to look yellow. This is because the meconium will have left the system. Seedy, running and a yellow mustard color is perfectly normal and healthy. The color will change every day but this is just a part of the hydration and the food that has been consumed – both baby and mother.

Babies that are breast fed often have fewer bowel movements because the liquid is absorbed much easier. If you are concerned at all about the look of the stools or the amount of bowel movements that your baby is having, you should speak to your pediatrician, who will be able to help settle your fears.

When You Need to Call a Doctor

There are times when you will need to immediately call a doctor about your newborn bowel movements. The first is when there are bloody streaks. This is often a sign that there is constipation and the stools are making fissures in the rectum.

The next time is when the stools are white and is a sign that there is not enough bile digesting the food. Black bowel movements are also a concern, which is when there is blood coming from the digestive system.


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