Baby bowel movements

  • By Team TDO

The baby’s bowel movements can be pretty scary at the outset. Normally babies have around 8 to 10 movements a day. This can create quite an anxiety in the mother. Am I feeding the baby enough? Do I need to feed more? Is the increased number of motions due to formula feed? Several questions arise in her mind.

Here are a few basics you need to know that will help to put your mind at ease and make motherhood a joyful experience:

  1. Babies can have 8 to 10 motions per day. Sometimes they may have just one motion in a day. Either ways, as long as the bowels are moving, there is no cause to worry.
  2. In the first few days after birth, the stools passed are generally blackish green in colour, called ‘meconium’ . This is because the ‘colostrum’, i.e. the thick yellow ‘first milk’ initiates the bowel movements of the baby and clears it of all the fluids accumulated in the nine months inside the womb.
  3. Once the regular milk starts appearing from your breast, the colour of the stool changes to brown to light yellow with faint odour. The consistency is usually watery. In this stage it is not uncommon for babies to pass stools after every feed.
  4. If your baby is on formula feed, the stools may be a bit pasty and may smell strong. Formula-fed babies pass fewer stools and may tend to get constipated often.
  5. Along with the growth of the baby, its bowel movements also gradually reduce. As long as the baby is urinating and eating well, there is no need to worry much about the stools.
  6. The baby’s stools are also affected by what the mother is eating. Certain medications and foodstuff can be allergic to the bay leading to diarrhoea.
  7. Once you start solid food, the stools will again change in colour and consistency depending on what you are feeding the baby.
  8. Weaning is a very important period as far as the baby bowel movements are concerned. Diarrhoea and constipation are very common in this period. Diarrhoea lasting for more than a day needs to be investigated. At times babies don’t adapt well to weaning and constipation develops. So a bloated abdomen, crying while passing stools, blood streaked stools, hard stools may all be seen here.