How often should a newborn poop?

As the parent of a newborn, you want to keep them safe and healthy. Newborns typically don't do much beyond eat, sleep, pee and poop, so you might be concerned when a newborn is not pooping as often as you think they should. 

How often should a newborn poop? While every baby is different, the number of times your infant poops in a day or week will depend on their age and whether they are drinking formula or breast milk. 

Newborn poop 24-48 hours after birth

In the first 24-48 hours after birth, newborns pass a thick, sticky, dark-colored substance called meconium. This consists of what they have consumed while inside the mother’s uterus. Once the meconium has passed and up until around six weeks, infants will typically poop two to five times per day. Breastfed babies typically poop more frequently and in smaller amounts, and as well there are those breastfed babies that digest the breast milk completely and will poop less frequently or go without pooping for a week or so. Any concerns must be consulted with their pediatrician. 

Newborn poop six weeks after birth

After six weeks, the pooping frequency may decrease to as little as once a week. This is when some parents may become concerned, but as long as the newborn is growing, eating and does not seem uncomfortable, there is no cause for concern.  

If you are worried about how often your baby is pooping, consider visiting one of our urgent care partners.  

Frequency of newborn poop on formula 

How often should a newborn poop on formula? Formula-fed babies poop typically three to four times per day. But it is not uncommon for a formula-fed baby to go as long as four days or so without pooping.  

The consistency and size of the poop of a formula-fed baby might be different than that of a breastfed baby as well. Formula-fed poop is yellow or brown with a more pasty consistency and a stronger smell.  

Frequency of newborn poop on breast milk  

How often should a newborn poop on breast milk? A baby fed breast milk will likely poop three to six times a day, often in small amounts, sometimes just a squirt. Some breastfed newborns may actually have no poop for a few days or infrequent poop because breast milk is digested differently.  As long as a breastfed baby pees several times a day, there is no cause for concern. 

As far as consistency, a breastfed baby will have poop that is yellow or light brown. It may smell slightly like butter or buttered popcorn. It can have small yellow flecks in it or look “seedy.” 

Monitoring your newborn’s poop 

Paying attention to the frequency, consistency and color of your newborn’s poop is one way to ensure your newborn is growing properly and getting enough food. Monitoring poop might be particularly important when breastfeeding because you can’t tell how much the baby is getting at a given meal.  

Track how often your baby is pooping, especially if it is less than once per day because it is easy to forget the last time they pooped. Also, monitor the color or texture of their poop. If there is a significant change in color or consistency without any change to their diet, consider speaking to your pediatrician. 

Here are a few signs of concern to look out for: 

  • Abdominal pain or discomfort 
  • Bright red blood in the stool 
  • Diarrhea or passing watery poop more than once per day 
  • Pooping less than once a week 
  • Unusual colors such as green, gray or white 

If you are concerned about your baby’s bowel movement consistency, frequency or color, consult a pediatrician with any questions. 

Newborn poop FAQs 

Here are a few commonly asked questions about newborn poop: 

What colors of poop in a newborn are normal?  

Normal colors of poop are yellow, brown, orange or greenish. Green poop could be a sign of an illness, especially if there are other symptoms, such as fever or diarrhea. Infants younger than one week old typically have black poop, but black poop is a concern if they are older. 

Poop colors that are not normal are red, white or gray. If your baby has these poop colors, it is important to consult a healthcare provider. 

How long can a newborn go without pooping? 

The pooping frequency will depend on the child’s diet and age. Newborns typically poop multiple times per day or even as little as once per week. 

How many times should a newborn poop per day? 

A newborn can poop three to five times per day, typically after every meal. But this may not always be the case. The frequency will depend on the infant's diet, age and other factors. 

Seeking pediatric services 

If you are ever concerned about how your newborn is pooping, eating or feeling, it is always a good idea to consult a healthcare professional. Newborns cannot communicate when something is seriously wrong. Therefore, it is essential to seek care if they are acting out of the ordinary.  

For immediate attention for most nonemergent concerns, visit one of our urgent care partners or schedule a virtual visit at a center near you. Most of our urgent care centers only see babies over the age of six months and virtual visits start at 12 months and up.