How often should a breastfed baby poo?
Babies who are fed breast milk usually pass softer poo more often than those who are formula fed.
The ‘on-demand’ way breastfed babies tend to feed and the milk they get means that their poo is usually runny and golden in colour. It also doesn't smell too strongly.
They may poo several times a day, especially in the first few weeks of life. After a month or so the frequency may reduce; they may even go a few days without a bowel movement.
Breast milk is designed to be easily digested so there might not be much waste. As long as your baby is growing well, gaining weight and their poo is soft, you don’t need to worry.
How often should a formula fed baby poo?
Formula-fed babies' poo tends to be firmer, darker brown and stronger smelling than breastfed babies. Some formulas can also make your baby's poo a different colour such as dark green.
If you change from breast to formula feeding, your baby’s poo is likely to become darker and more paste-like.
Constipation is quite common in formula fed babies. If your baby is struggling to poo, changing their formula may help, but this should only be done after talking it through with your GP or Health Visitor.
Talk to your GP or Health Visitor if you have any concerns about their feeding or pooing.
Tips for helping your baby to poo
- A relaxing warm bath can help to get poo moving.
- Gentle tummy massage – watch this video to see how to do this safely
- Bicycle leg exercises – lay your baby on their back and gently move their legs in a circle/bicycle motion. This will help their stomach muscles to move and put gentle stimulation on their bowels.
- If your baby is already eating solid foods then diluted fruit juice, such as apple, pear or prune, or the fruit itself can help to stimulate their bowel. Fruits, such as apples, pears and prunes, contain sorbitol. This is a natural laxative, helping the bowel retain water, which helps their poo stay soft and easy to pass.
Starting solid food (weaning)
Weaning changes poo. Once your baby starts on solids, their poo will smell stronger and be less easy to wipe.
As they begin to try a bigger selection of foods, their poo becomes thicker and darker.
More fibre-rich foods will pass straight through your baby, until their digestive system has developed enough to deal with them properly.
Before your toddler stops wearing nappies, there are lots of skills for them to learn with your help to make the process easier.
We have lots more information and support about how to prepare your child for potty training.
Making sure your toddler is drinking enough and they’re passing a daily soft poo will make toilet training a lot easier.
It’s important to get any underlying constipation treated before you stop using nappies as it will make the process difficult.
Constipation in babies and toddlers
Constipation can start at any age and is particularly common in toddlers especially at the potty training stage.
Recognising the signs and symptoms of baby constipation means you can avoid it becoming a ‘chronic’ problem and get the treatment your baby needs.
If you think that your child may be constipated, use our poo diary to track how often they are pooing. Our poo checker shows the different types of poo and what they mean: