Stool Questions

Parents often ask questions about their babies stool. So let’s discuss what is normal and what’s not.

Color. The stool is usually yellow in a breast-fed baby, greenish in a formula-fed one. When to worry? If you see blood, especially a lot of it. What to do? See your pediatrician.

Expected Frequency. Can be up to ten times a day in a breast-fed newborn; passing of the stool by a newborn is a sign of a good food intake. Babies should have at least one stool a day. There may be occasional healthy infant (not a newborn) that may have one stool in five days; this child is not constipated if he still acts happy and his bowel movements are soft and do not cause pain. When to worry? If your newborn baby (under one month of age) did not have a bowel movement for 48 hours; or, if your child does not have daily stools in general. What to do? It depends on your child’s age:

  • If you have a newborn with no bowel movements for 48 hours, see your pediatrician: your baby may be suffering from poor food intake rather than from constipation.
  • For an infant you can use a glycerin suppository (get it over the counter) cut in half: put it in your baby’s rectum and hold the butt cheeks together for a moment.
  • If an older child is constipated, you may try a glycerin suppository as well, or in tough cases a pediatric enema (also available over the counter). That will help you to relieve your child’s discomfort and help him pass the stool on that particular occasion, but it does not prevent future episodes. So it is strongly recommended to see your pediatrician and among other things discuss a change in your child’s diet you need to implement.

Normal Consistency. The stool is usually liquid with some “seeds” in a newborn and couple months after. If your child is older than 6 months he should be eating some solid food daily and his stools should be soft but not liquid. When to worry? Pellet-like stools in an infant. Older children should not have hard large caliber stools or watery stools. What to do? See a doctor.

The rule of thumb is: if your child eats well and is active during the day, there should not be any issues with his stool.


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