Get those diapers ready because your newborn is likely to need a lot of them! In the first days after being born, your newborn’s digestive system is working in new ways and experiencing breastmilk or formula for the first time. Learn how often your newborn is likely to poop during this initial transition, stool consistency, stool frequency, and the difference in bowel movements between breastfed and formula-fed babies.

Your Newborn’s First Weeks

Over the course of their first week, your newborn is clearing out digestive waste that has accumulated in utero and is starting to digest breastmilk or formula, so the frequency and consistency of bowel movements will go through drastic changes. Learn how much your newborn is likely to poop in their first weeks:

Days 1-3: Meconium

Your newborn’s first bowel movements will consist of meconium, the waste that’s been collecting in their digestive system while in utero. Meconium builds up in your newborn’s intestines from swallowing amniotic fluid (the fluid that surrounds them in the uterus).1,2,3 Meconium is a green or black, sticky or tar-like substance.1,2,3 In these first few days, while your baby is clearing out meconium, they will likely poop once or twice a day, though more can also be normal.

Days 1-5: Transitional Poop

Once meconium has mostly passed, which can happen as quickly as the first day or may take a few days, your little one’s poops will change in color, consistency and frequency.1 Expect as many as five to ten bowel movements each day for formula- or breastfed babies.1 During this time, poop may still be greenish in the presence of the final meconium as it transitions to a yellower or browner colour and the consistency will become less sticky.2

By Week 2

After a full week, how many times should a newborn poop? The answer can vary, but the range is between three and ten times a day.1,2 They may have a bowel movement after each feeding.1,2 Regular bowel movements free of meconium are a sign that your little one’s digestion is working well. It’s normal for these poops to be brightly coloured and quite wet.2

By Week 6

By the time your newborn is six weeks old, they may be having one or fewer poops a day, and you will likely be changing fewer diapers!1

Differences in Breastfed vs. Formula-fed Newborn Poop

What your newborn consumes affects what you’ll find in their diaper. Here are some key differences between the bowel movements of formula-fed vs. breastfed newborns:


Colostrum, the first milk that’s expressed by breastfeeding mothers, contains a natural laxative that helps newborns pass mecomium.2 For this reason, breastfed newborns may move through the meconium stage more quickly than formula-fed newborns, but both should pass meconium within three days.2 Breastfed babies older than six weeks may have just one bowel movement a week.2 As long as they’re eating well, gaining weight and not experiencing signs of constipation, this can be normal and healthy.2 During the transitional poop period and just after, a breastfed newborn’s poop is commonly yellow, lumpy, runny and/or may appear to include small seeds.1,3


In the first few weeks, formula-fed newborns may poop less frequently than breastfed newborns because formula takes more time to digest.2 After the transitional poop period, your formula-fed newborn’s stool may be slightly greenish or brown with a paste-like consistency.1,3

When to Call a Healthcare Provider

Knowing to expect several changes in bowel habits in your little one’s first weeks may provide some peace of mind. Still, there are times when it’s important to contact their healthcare provider. Here are the circumstances that are worth mentioning to a professional:

  • In the first few days, your newborn has less than one bowel movement a day2
  • Your newborn is still passing only meconium after four days2
  • Your newborn has never passed any meconium2
  • After five days, you are still seeing signs of meconium or transitional poop2
  • In weeks 2-6, your breastfed newborn has fewer than three small poops a day1
  • Poop is red, black (after the meconium and transitional stages), gray or white1,2,3
  • There is a lot of mucus in their stool1
  • Your newborn’s stools are hard1

In the first weeks and months with your newborn, expect to see changes to color, consistency and frequency of bowel movements, all of which are a healthy part of their digestive development. Knowing how often a healthy newborn should poop can help you notice if it’s time to give their healthcare provider a call or confirm that you can sit back and wait for the next diaper change. For other tips and tools to give your baby a great start, see more resources about your baby’s nutritional needs.