How Often Should Breastfed Babies Poop?

How often should a breastfed baby poop? This is a common question for new parents.

Breastfed babies poop less frequently than formula-fed babies. But parents are often unsure if their baby is getting enough breast milk because they don’t know how many stools should be expected in a day.

Parents need to know the normal frequency of bowel movements for breastfed babies so they can recognize when something isn’t right with their child’s diet or health.

By knowing your baby’s stool output each day you can tell if he has diarrhea, constipation, or an intestinal infection that requires medical attention. This article explains why this information is important to have as a new parent and what you should do if your baby isn’t having enough bowel movements on his own.

How Often Should a Breastfed Baby Poop?

The number of poops per day varies widely among infants. Bowel movements are frequent in breastfed babies. For the first 6 weeks, expect at least three bowel movements every day but the average is 4-8 times per day for exclusively breastfed babies.

Your baby may also have a bowel movement after each feeding.

How Often Do Formula-Fed Newborn Babies Poop?

Formula-fed infants generally have a bowel movement three to four times a day, but some can go up to three or four days without having a poop.

You don’t have to be concerned as long as your baby’s stools are soft and passed without a struggle. Call your child’s doctor if he or she doesn’t poop for more than five days, however.

Consistency in Breastfed vs. Formula-Fed Babies Poop

Breastfeeding can cause babies to have seedy, runny feces. The stool may be mustard-colored and granular.

Breastfed babies may have a looser, runnier stool. It isn’t necessarily an indication of anything being wrong. It indicates that your baby is absorbing the foods in your breast milk.

A yellow-green or light brown stool may be observed in formula-fed infants. Their bowel movements might be firmer and paste-like than a breastfed infant’s poop. The stool should not be firmer than peanut butter in texture.

How Much of Baby’s Poop Would Count as One Stool?

In the early weeks of life, if a soiled diaper has a bowel movement at least the size of a quarter, it count’s as one stool.

Dirty Diaper by Age

The First Few Days of Life

A newborn will eliminate the meconium between 24-48 hours after they are born. It will change from a dark brown, almost black, to a green-yellow color by day 4.

The First Six Weeks

For breastfed babies:

  • At least 3 bowel movements per day
  • Can poop anywhere from 3-12 stools a day
  • Runny texture and yellow color

For formula-fed babies:

  • At least 1-4 bowel movements per day
  • Paste-like texture and light brown or greenish color

After Six Weeks

For breastfed babies:

  • Can go a few days or up to a week for a bowel movement

For formula-fed babies:

  • May only have a bowel movement every other day

After Starting Solid Foods

For breastfed babies:

  • Will usually have bowel movements more often after starting solids
  • Change in more of a paste-like texture

For formula-fed babies

  • 1-2 bowel movements per day

Why Does Your Baby’s Matter?

It’s crucial to keep an eye on your baby’s dirty diapers throughout this time, especially the color, texture, and frequency of their bowel movements.

These are good signs that they are getting enough breast milk. This can be one of the techniques for monitoring their health while you’re away from the pediatrician.

How does breastfed stool smell?

The stools of breastfed infants may have a sweet aroma or an odor similar to popcorn. Other parents have stated that their infant’s poop smelled like hay or porridge.

The smell is rarely an issue as long as your baby has regular bowel movements and the stool is soft.

What causes changes to stool?

When your baby changes their diet, such as starting to eat solid foods after 6 months of age, you may notice a change in the consistency and color of their stool. You’ll notice a difference in the color and texture of your infant’s stool if they go from breast milk to formula as well.

Formula-fed infants generally have a more solid texture and maybe yellow-green or tan in hue.

How Can I Tell if My Baby is Pooping?

Even when passing soft stool, babies’ little bottoms aren’t strong or coordinated enough for easy elimination, so they grunt, groan, frown, and strain.

Is My Breastfed Baby Constipated?

Infrequent stools, especially after 6 weeks of age, are very common in breastfed infants that are healthy. If your infant is only having every few days, this is normal.

When a baby has hard, dry, infrequent bowel movements that are difficult and painful to pass, he or she is experiencing constipation. Although exclusively nursing babies seldom have these sorts of bowel movements.

What is Melena in Babies?

Melena is a term used to describe dark, black, or sticky feces. This isn’t the same as meconium stools, which can occur during the first two to five days of life.

Melena is often a sign of gastrointestinal bleeding, which can be harmful to your baby. Contact your child’s doctor right away.

Pooping should be monitored for the following reasons

One of the most common reasons to track a baby’s bowel movements is to make sure he or she gets adequate nourishment.

Another purpose of monitoring a baby’s pooping is to assess their general condition. A stool with an unusual color or texture might be a sign of a hidden illness.

Signs That Something Could be Wrong

It is critical to be aware of a baby’s typical pooping pattern since a significant variation may signal an underlying health problem.

Here are some symptoms to watch for:


According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), If an infant’s stool is loose and watery for more than one day, there is a danger of them being dehydrated.

Signs of dehydration:

  • Dry mouth
  • Fast heart rate
  • Dry diaper for 3 or more hours


The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says if your baby goes longer than a day without a bowel movement and the stool is hard, then they could be constipated.

Signs of constipation:

  • Thick, hard poop
  • Baby showing signs of straining

When to See Your Pediatrician

Always let your pediatrician know if your baby’s poop is:

  • red
  • bloody
  • black
  • pale-grey or white

This is not always an indication of an illness. Your doctor will be able to examine your baby to let you know.

Signs of Baby Not Getting Enough Milk

If your baby is not pooping on a regular or frequent basis, there may be an issue with them not getting enough breast milk or formula.

A lactation consultant can help increase milk your milk supply or ensure you have a good latch. Finding the problem on increases the chances of a baby receiving adequate nutrition from breast milk alone and having a successful breastfeeding relationship.

Blood in Your Babies Poop

A newborn baby’s stool may occasionally contain a tiny amount of blood as a result of straining to defecate. However, two or more bloody stools might indicate a problem.

If your baby passes black stool or more than one blood-tinged poop, they should visit a healthcare provider.


Breastfed babies may poop less often than formula-fed infants, but the color and consistency of their stool should be monitored. If your breastfed baby is only having poops every few days, this is normal–but if they are passing hard, dry bowel movements that are difficult to pass, then they could have constipation.

The frequency with which a baby has pooping depends on how old he/she is as well as whether he/she was breastfed or not—constipation in exclusively nursing babies seldom occurs because breastfeeding provides plenty of nourishment for them. However, it’s important to watch for signs of dehydration and diarrhea as well as a change in the color or consistency of your baby’s bowel movements.

Be sure to read The Best Oatmeal Cookies for Breastfeeding and What Not to Eat While Breastfeeding

About the author

Lacy Reason is a highly experienced and compassionate lactation counselor, who has dedicated her career to educating and supporting new mothers on their breastfeeding journey.

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