Changes in Bowel Habits: Types, Causes & When to See Doctor

Sonali Kapoor

, Health A2Z

The newborn baby’s bowel movements are also known as stools. It can change a lot in the days, weeks, and months after birth. The bowel changes to yellow or yellowish brown by the end of the first week. The stools of breastfed babies tend to be more yellow than those of formula-fed babies. Today we are going to talk about changes in bowel habits and how it is harmful to your baby.


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What are the Changes in Bowel Habits?


Changes in bowel habits occur with kids from time to time. It includes how frequent your child have a bowel movement, his control when he has a bowel movement, and the bowel movement’s stability and color.


How Often do Newborns have Bowel Movements?


Most of the newborns have at least 1 or 2 bowel movements a day. By the end of the first week, the baby may have as many as 5 to 10 a day. The baby may pass a stool after each feeding. The number of bowel movements may go down as the baby eats more and matures during the first month.


By 6 weeks of age, the baby may not have a bowel movement every day. Generally, it isn’t a problem as long as the baby seems comfortable and is healthy and growing, and as long as the stools aren’t hard.


What will the Bowel Movements Look Like?


The bowel can come in many different colors and textures all of which may be perfectly normal for your child and it is also normal to have changes in bowel habits.


1. The first stool of your baby passes is thick, greenish black, and sticky. It’s called meconium.


2. The stools usually change from this thick, greenish black to green in the first few days. It changes to yellow or yellowish brown by the end of the first week.


3. The stools of breastfed babies tend to be more yellow than those of formula-fed babies. They may also be seedy-looking.


4. It’s normal for your baby’s stool to be runny or pasty, especially if he or she is breastfed.


How do Bowel Movements Change as the Baby Grows?


1. As the baby grows and begins eating solid foods, you may notice changes in your baby’s stool.


2. The stool can vary from soft to loose or even runny as the baby grows.


3. When you start to give your baby the solid foods, the stools become firmer and may have a stronger odor.


4. If food is not drawn, you may see pieces of food in the stool.


Stool Color:


Many parents get worried about stool color. Color changes are caused by food coloring or additives to food and are not a serious problem. Whenever you notice a color change, think about what your baby has been eating.


Brown, tan, yellow, and green are all normal colors for a baby’s stool. Green stools could be caused by green vegetables or green gelatin.


Red or black bowel can mean bleeding in the intestine, but it can also be caused by beets, tomato juice or soup, or red gelatin.


A white stool could mean a liver problem. It caused by medicines or a diet of milk only.


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What Color Baby Poop is Bad?


Breastfed baby poop is considered normal when it’s a mustard yellow, green or brown color. It is typically seedy and pasty in texture and may be runny enough to resemble diarrhea.


What Should You Watch For?


The newborn’s soiled diapers can give clues about the baby’s health. Because a baby’s stool does change a lot, it can be hard to know if your baby may have a problem. In general these changes in bowel habits:


A solid or dry stool could mean that your baby is not getting enough liquids or that your baby is losing liquids because of a fever or other illness.


An expand in the number of bowel movements or a lot of liquid in stools could be a sign of diarrhea.


Explosive diarrhea is a sign of infection with a virus or bacteria. Diarrhea is generally caused by a virus, and medicines don’t help. Diarrhea causes a loss of fluid (dehydration).


When Should You Call Your Doctor?


Consult a doctor or get medical help right away if the baby has new symptoms like- vomiting.


Your baby’s stools are:


  • Maroon or very bloody


  • Black (and your baby has already passed meconium).


  • White or gray


  • The child is having a lot more stools than normal for him or her


  • The baby’s stool has large amounts of mucus or water in it




In the above article, we have talked about changes in bowel habits. Due to the immature immune, digestive and body system, symptoms shown by your baby may vary. If you notice any kind of a change in your baby’s health or poop which could be severe, consult a doctor as earlier as you can.


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