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Harvard Commentaries
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Harvard Commentaries
Reviewed by the Faculty of Harvard Medical School


Bowel Movements During Infancy


August 12, 2014

Guiding Your Child Through The Infant Year
29010
Infant Care
Bowel Movements During Infancy
Bowel Movements During Infancy
htmBowelMovementsInfancy
Find out what types of bowel movements your baby is likely to have and how often he will have them.
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InteliHealth
2011-05-29
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InteliHealth Medical Content
2013-03-11
Reviewed by the Faculty of Harvard Medical School

Bowel Movements During Infancy

Your baby's first bowel movement normally occurs within 24 hours of birth. It is a thick, sticky, dark green or black paste called meconium, which is the amniotic fluid and other liquids made by the baby's intestines before birth. During the next three to four days, once your baby begins to drink breast milk or formula, the stool loses its stickiness and changes from its dark greenish black color to brownish green, then to brown and to yellow.

By the end of the first week, stools of breast-fed babies tend to be mushy and odorless, usually mustard-yellow colored with a loose consistency, and can be mistaken for diarrhea. If you're taking laxatives while nursing, your baby's stools may be even softer. Formula-fed babies, meanwhile, tend to have more formed stools with a stronger odor and colors ranging from yellow to green to brown.

Most newborns pass between three to five stools a day, even more often with breast-fed infants. At one month, your baby may still have as many as three to five bowel movements daily, usually occurring right after a feeding. Keep in mind, though, that it's not unusual, or unhealthy, for some babies, especially breast-fed babies, to go as long as three days between bowel movements. If the time between bowel movements is longer, or if your baby seems uncomfortable, contact your baby's health care provider.

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