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Newborn Bowel Movements

If you are a first time mom, then you sure must be concerned about your newborn's bowel movements. Read on to know more on this issue.
AptParenting Staff
The first few days after the baby enters the world are very crucial. The body of the baby slowly adjusts itself to the ways of the world, outside the mother's womb. Naturally, doctors ask the new parents to keep a close watch on the metabolic activities of the baby, as she tries to acclimatize to the new, changed surroundings. Newborn bowel movements is one such issue which the new parents find difficult to deal with. If this is your first time, then there is no dearth of unsolicited advice from 'experienced' friends and relatives regarding the number of times your baby should have her bowel movements. However, one must understand that every baby is unique and has a body that takes things at its own pace. Thus, there cannot be a generalized formula, where one would expect all the babies to fit in. However, there are definitely some notions regarding what's normal and what's not!

Normal Newborn Bowel Movements

Bowel Frequency
The daily frequency of bowel movements of a newborn depends upon several factors such as, whether the baby is breast-fed or formula fed, water intake, diet of the breastfeeding mother, etc. Newborns may have bowel movements for even 8 to 15 times a day. However, it is completely normal if your baby just has one bowel movement, a day. A day without a single bowel movement is also fine, as long as your baby feeds well and shows no sign of a problem. However, if your baby has a big, swollen tummy all the time, you might have to consult a pediatrician.

Bowel Color
During the first few days, your baby will pass thick, dark green colored stools. This is due to a substance called meconium, which accumulates in the intestines of the baby, while she is inside the mother's womb. However, as the baby starts feeding, the color of the stools changes to yellow subsequently. Formula fed babies may pass tan, brown colored stools after a few days. In fact, it is not uncommon to see the color change with every passing day, after the baby is born. The change in the diet of the baby also influences the color of the bowel movement.

Bowel Consistency
For the first couple of days, the baby is likely to pass thick stools, which eventually soften up. If your baby is formula fed then you may expect slightly firmer stools. On the other hand, breast-fed babies pass soft, semi liquid stools which can be mistaken for diarrhea. However, if your baby passes unusually firm stools or cries while passing, then it could be a sign of constipation. You may take this problem with the pediatrician who will be able to regulate your newborn's bowel movements with the help of certain medications.

Bowel Problems
The frequency, color, consistency can vary for every individual baby, hence even if the description of your baby's stool does not match with the information presented here, it does not necessarily indicate a bowel movement problem. However, you should definitely ring an alarm if you report a presence of blood in the stools or if your baby passes unusually hard stools. Chalky white stool denotes the absence of bile pigment and you may have to consult your pediatrician regarding this.

You may see a dramatic difference in the color, consistency and frequency of newborn bowel movements, when you introduce solid foods to your baby's diet. It may take a few years for your baby's bowel movements to regulate and become normal. Till then, you may supervise the bowel movements of your baby, but don't get too anxious about slight variations.