I have heard a lot of misinformation regarding the normalcy of a breastfed infant’s stooling patterns lately. It’s time to clear that up in today’s post, The TRUTH about poop.
Misconception #1: “It’s okay for a breastfed baby not to poop.”
Truth: It depends on the age of the baby. After 4-6 weeks of age the composition of breast milk changes and this is why babies may poop less frequently. However, before 6 weeks it is very important to monitor your baby’s output. What is normal anyway?
Day 1: 1 stool/1 urine
Day 2: 2 stools/2 urines
Day 3: 3 stools/3 urines
Day 4: 3 stools/4 urines
Day 5: 3 stools/5 urines
Day 6: 3 stools/6 urines
After 6 days it levels out to 3 stools and 6 soaking wet diapers per day.
If a baby doesn’t poop at least once in 24 hours you should consult with your baby’s pediatrician and then a lactation expert to assess breastfeeding.
Misconception #2: “My baby isn’t pooping because breast milk is efficient and is completely absorbed.”
Truth: Again, age is a factor. What goes in, must come out. Output is a great way to monitor intake. We cannot know how much a breastfed baby gets in a feeding so making sure the baby is voiding appropriately is one way to know baby is getting enough to eat. Why is this so important? The number one reason for not meeting these minimums is inadequate milk intake.
Misconception #3: “The blue line in disposable diapers is enough to measure adequate urine output.”
Truth: This is a very helpful tool no doubt that indicates whether or not your baby has dirtied their diaper. Another method that is helpful is placing a piece of toilet paper or Kleenex in the diaper. How wet is “soaking wet” … Did you know that these recommendations come from cloth diapers and not disposable? An example you can do at home to demonstrate a soaking wet diaper is to take 3 tablespoons of water and pour it into a diaper, cloth or disposable. Once you get a feel for what it’s supposed to be like you will be able to tell if your baby is urinating enough during the day.
In conclusion: These are the current recommendations for normal voiding habits for healthy newborns. YOU know your baby best. Trust your instinct mamas! Most babies meet these minimums just fine. If you feel like something may be up or you’re concerned you can always call and ask your care provider or link up with a Lactation Consultant. It’s important to keep this information in mind before saying that it’s ok for a baby not to poop. That may or may not be harmful advice depending on the age of the baby. We always want to make sure that when we give advice we do so safely. Your proper guidance may mean the difference between a baby failing to thrive and growing like a weed!
Did your baby ever have trouble meeting these guidelines? What happened? What would your advice be for moms in these situations?
Counseling the Nursing Mother 5th Edition