BASIC INFANT CARE 2 – Day-to-Day Care Part 1: Bowel Movements and Urination

Bowel Movements and Urination

Bringing your baby home is a big transition. In the beginning, day-to-day tasks might fill you with anxiety. That is completely normal—especially if you have not spent a lot of time around babies in the past. It will not take long until you master if their urination patterns or bowel movements are healthy. In the meantime, a great way to ease the first days’ uncertainty is to have at hand helpful sources of information. You are not alone: your pediatrician can provide the instructions and support you need to take the best possible care of your baby. Nevertheless, always remember that the most valuables cues will come from your baby. Babies let you know when they want to be fed, how they want to be held, how they like to be comforted—and this will gradually reinforce your parental instincts.


This first part of the Day-to-Day article series will share advice on two common concerning topics during the first months after birth.


1. Bowel Movements

Your baby’s digestive system is still in development. For this reason, their stools will vary in color and consistency. For their first few days, the first bowel movements will be known as meconium: the thick black or dark green substance that was present in their 犀利士
intestines before birth. Once meconium is passed, the stools will turn yellow-green and vary from very soft to loose and runny.
The stools in breastfed babies are, most of the time, yellow and liquid. For formula-fed babies, stools have a tan-yellow color. They are usually firmer than the stools of breastfed babies but no firmer than soft clay. Your baby’s stool might look green at times, but this is normal and should not be a reason to alarm.
Other expected changes include:

  • If your baby is receiving supplemental iron, the stools might turn dark brown.
  • If there is anal irritation, you might see streaks of blood on the outside of the stools.

However, if you see more significant amounts of blood, mucus, or an unusually high amount of liquid in the stools, call your pediatrician immediately. These might be signs of infection, especially if fever is also present.The frequency of bowel movements is different for every baby. Some babies pass stools immediately after each feeding. By three to six weeks after birth, it is normal for breastfed babies to have one bowel movement per week, as long as the stools are soft and your baby is gaining weight, eating regularly, and is healthy overall. If your baby is formula-fed, it is expected for them to have one bowel movement every day. If they have fewer than this and also appear to be fussier or stressed, check with your pediatrician as they might be constipated.



Urination patterns vary from baby to baby. Some babies urinate every one to three hours, while others may urinate as infrequently as every six hours. As long as the baby is wetting at least four diapers a day, there is probably no reason to be concerned.
If your baby is sick, has a fever, or the weather is very hot, it is normal for their urine output to be half the expected. It is also important to note that urination should never hurt. If your baby appears to be distressed during urination, you should call your pediatrician as this might be a sign of infection or other issues.
Urine usually is light to dark yellow in color. In the first week after birth, your baby’s urine might show a higher concentration, which will look like a pink or brick-red stain on the diaper. If the baby is urinating at least four times per day, this is usually not concerning. If it persists, call your pediatrician.
Another common issue during the first days is that baby girls show minor bloodstains on the diaper. This results from the mother’s hormones being in contact with the baby’s uterus, which is entirely normal. However, if it is accompanied by other symptoms (e.g., abdominal pain, bleeding in other body parts, fever) or if it happens after the first week of birth, you should immediately contact your pediatrician.


Estefanía Henríquez Luthje, MD

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