It is normal for parents to be concerned about the appearance and frequency of their child's bowel movements. The stool in babies is of different consistence and color comparing to older children and adults because of the food baby consumes and several more physiological factors. So by being familiar with physiological changes that may affect the stool and pathological signs parents may be less anxious and do not worry at least about this segment of their baby's life.
First week of a baby's life
The first few days of a baby's life are very important because the baby slowly adjusts at the new environment. This is why most, if not all pediatricians, advise parents to closely monitor metabolic activities of the baby. One of the problems parents frequently worry about is baby's stool. Even though there are some general rules regarding baby's stool and defecation within the first days of a child's life, it is essential to remember that each human being is individual and acts differently to a certain extent.
Newborn Bowel Movement Frequency
There are certain factors which influence the appearance of baby's stool, the frequency of defecation etc. For instance, there are certain differences in babies who are breastfed and formula-fed ones. Intake of water also plays a major role in bowel movements.
It is estimated that a baby may defecate between 8 and 15 times per day. On the other hand, some babies do it only once a day. Even if there is no defecation for one day, this is not a reason for parents to get worried. However, if there is a lack of defecation accompanied by loss of appetite, poor feeding, abdominal swelling and additional problems, parents are due to seek prompt medical attention.
Newborn Bowel Movement Color
Initially (during the first few days) baby's stool is generally dark green. This is a so called meconium, the first baby's stool. After a few days the stool becomes of normal color and gradually becomes yellow. Formula-fed babies may have tan, brown colored stools. Changes in the color of the stool may occur from time to time which is especially noticeable once the child starts to consume different foods apart from mother's milk or formula.
Newborn Bowel Movement Consistency
It is normal if the baby's first stools are hard and thick. After a few days the stool softens up. Formula-fed babies have harder stool comparing to breastfed babies. It is essential to report frequent hard stool particularly if it causes pain and problems during the process of defecation.
Finally, apart from reporting hard stool and uncontrollable diarrhea, parents should also inform the baby's pediatrician if the stool is colorless (pale or chalky white in color).