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Bowel Movements in Babies

Table of Contents


Topic Overview

How often do newborns have bowel movements?

You may be surprised at the number of diapers your newborn goes through every day.

Many newborns have at least 1 or 2 bowel movements a day. By the end of the first week, your baby may have as many as 5 to 10 a day. Your baby may pass a stool after each feeding. The number of bowel movements may go down as your baby eats more and matures during that first month.

By 6 weeks of age, your baby may not have a bowel movement every day. This usually isn't a problem as long as your baby seems comfortable and is healthy and growing, and as long as the stools aren't hard.

What will the bowel movements look like?

Your newborn baby's bowel movements (also called "stools") can change a lot in the days, weeks, and months after birth. The stools can come in many different colors and textures—all of which may be perfectly normal for your child.

How do bowel movements change as your baby grows?

As your baby grows and begins eating solid foods, you may notice changes in your baby's stool.

Stool color

Many parents worry about stool color. But most color changes are caused by food coloring or additives to food and not a serious problem. When you notice a color change, think about what your baby has been eating.

What should you watch for?

Your newborn's soiled diapers can give you clues about your baby's health.

Because a baby's stool does change a lot, it can be hard to know if your baby may have a problem. In general:

When should you call your doctor?

Call your doctor or get medical help right away if:

Contact your doctor if:


Credits for Bowel Movements in Babies

Current as of: February 10, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Susan C. Kim MD - Pediatrics
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
John Pope MD - Pediatrics


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