It's Almost All Normal

If your baby is breastfed, you may be surprised by the frequency -- or infrequency -- of his bowel movements. How often should a breastfed baby poop, anyway?

Smiling baby and mom

Ah, baby poop. Once you’re a mother, you become intimately acquainted with the bowel movements of another creature -- one that you love more than life itself. Poop can be an indicator of overall health and can cause stress and worry if it happens more (or less) often than expected.

The mad pooper

Some breastfed babies just poop like crazy. Seven or eight times a day is not uncommon, or seemingly every time you sit down to nurse him. I’ll never forget nursing my firstborn while he was happily (and noisily) pooping away, much to the puzzlement of my many family members who were sitting around with me.

The selective pooper

Other breastfed babies tend to hold on to their poop. They can go seven or eight days between poops, and when they do go, it can be an impressive display of pooping power. My fourth baby was like this -- nothing for days, then a gigantic diaper-filler.

Somewhere in the middle

And some breastfed babies fall somewhere in the middle. Some will poop every other day, and some will poop two times a day. Some may be predictable, and others may just surprise you.

It’s all normal

Happily, every one of these scenarios is normal for an exclusively breastfed infant. Our first pediatrician called it the “Rule of Sevens,” because the baby can poop seven times a day or go seven days in between. As long as the poop has the proper consistency -- it’s generally a mustard-yellow, seedy liquid -- the baby is fine. Going a week without pooping is a problem in older kids and adults, but breastfed babies? No problem!

Yummy poop?

And even if you have to change a poopy diaper seven times a day, most moms report that exclusive breastfed baby poop is not only inoffensive, but can smell sort of … yummy. Here at the house, we always are reminded of buttery popcorn when our babies are small, and that opinion is shared by many moms. Other non-poop smells that have been reported emanating from a baby’s diaper are: Peaches and cream oatmeal, yeast, bread, something sweet and vinegar.

So relax if your baby isn’t pooping like you do. His diet is unique and special to him and he’s getting exactly what he needs.

More on breastfeeding

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How to get help with breastfeeding

Ten breastfeeding myths you should never fall for

Tags: baby poop

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