Frequently Asked Questions - All About Diapers (what goes in, must come out)

The first bowel movement will be black, tarry, and sticky; this is called meconium and is often difficult to get off a baby's bottom. This is the stool that was built up in his colon during pregnancy. Over the first few days, the appearance of the stool changes. After the meconium has passed, the normal bowel movement for a breastfed baby is usually bright yellow, seedy, loose and abundant.

There are natural laxatives in colostrum which help babies expel the meconium. The more breastfeeding your baby does in the early days the more colostrum he takes in and the faster the meconium clears. As the milk volume increases, he will start to have transitional stools.

Between 48 and 72 hours after birth, the meconium changes to dark green and then lightens in colour to yellow. By Day 6 the breastfed baby will have stools which are yellow, loose, and sometimes described as seedy. Normally stools will be at least the size of a Toonie (2.5 cm). This is summarized in a table at the end of the Information sheet #457 How to Know Your Baby is Getting Enough. Contact a local Leader to get a copy.

A bowel movement with every feeding is common in the early weeks. However around 6 weeks of age some babies change their stooling pattern from very frequently to once a day, or once every few days, to even once every week or so. Your exclusively breastfed baby is not constipated as long as the stool is still loose (pudding like) and a mustardy yellow colour when he does have a bowel movement. The stools should also be substantial. (Remember: the longer it has been between stools, the bigger it will be.) Expected bowel movements are summarized in Information Sheet #457 How to Know your Baby is Getting Enough Milk.

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