Inside Baby's Diaper

What's okay -- and what to worry about -- in your baby's diaper.

A Newborn's Diaper

Dirty diapers are a part of any new parent's life. But it's still hard to imagine how a little baby can generate more than 2,000 messy diapers in the first year alone. With all the possible variations in the appearance, texture, and smell of baby's bowel movements, it's no wonder that many parents wonder and worry about what they find in their baby's diaper. Although there are typical patterns, infants and toddlers are individuals. Learning your child's patterns will help you interpret what's normal and what's not.

Most babies have their first bowel movement within the first two days of life. These stools, called meconium, tend to be thick, sticky, and tarlike. They consist of skin cells the baby shed and then swallowed while he was in the womb. After the meconium is passed, stools will vary depending on whether your newborn is breastfed or formula-fed. Breast-milk stools tend to be soft, seedy, and mustard colored, and babies will pass many small stools each day. It's normal for a breastfed 2-week-old to have eight to 10 stools a day. A formula-fed baby's stools are yellow to brown in color and firmer (think thick pudding) than the stools of a breastfed baby. Formula-fed newborns also pass fewer -- but larger and smellier -- stools.

By 1 month of age, your baby will poop less, regardless of how he's fed. The number of stools for breastfed babies drops to about four per day; formula-fed babies may pass a stool two times a day or as infrequently as once every three or four days. However, if your formula-fed infant goes more than five days or your breastfed infant more than three days without a stool, let your pediatrician know.

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