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Newborn Digestion: The FAQ on Breast Milk Stool

Judes das FAQ zum Muttermilchstuhl Bild einer stillenden Mutter

Photo by Ana Curcan on Unsplash


The stool of babies changes significantly, making it one of the most popular topics of conversation among parents. Does that sound familiar? But this is not only understandable, it's also important! Your baby can't tell you when they're feeling a bit uncomfortable, but the contents of their diaper offer insights.

What does newborn breast milk stool typically look like? Breast milk stool is mustard brown to light yellow. The consistency can also vary: it may be liquid, soft, or yogurt-like.

A Wide Range is Normal for Breast Milk Stool

However, those who have never changed a diaper may not know how to distinguish between normal stool and diarrhea. The type of food also has a significant influence: we want to show what the stool of a breastfed baby looks like.

Observation is important, but don't forget: Especially in the first year, many things are normal and dependent on the type of nutrition.

Bowel Movements in Breastfed Babies - The Breast Milk Stool

What Consistency and Color Should Breast Milk Stool Have?

Ochre, yellowish, or mustard brown - there isn't just one color of breast milk stool. The consistency also varies significantly: whether liquid, soft, or yogurt-like, all of these types of stool are completely normal.

The smell can vary from aromatic to slightly sour. Some say it has a yeasty or even fruity odor. Which scent note describes your baby's diaper contents for you?

The breast milk stool often appears at the end of the first week of life. At this point, mature breast milk follows transitional milk, which quite literally reshapes the nature of the stool. Before transitional milk (at the very beginning), there was the black-green meconium (also called baby's first stool).

You can find more on the subject of baby’s first stool, commonly referred to as meconium, in this blog post.


How Often Does a Breastfed Child Have a Bowel Movement?

The frequency of bowel movements varies for each baby. However, when the diaper remains empty, many are alarmed. You don't need to worry, as fluctuations are part of your child's development. Your baby is growing and their digestive system is maturing.

These growth spurts of your baby have an impact on their digestion. But that's not the only thing: External changes also quickly show up in the diaper. You are probably familiar with this from your own digestion, which can be influenced by factors such as stress or even the menstrual cycle.

What It Could Mean When There Is No Bowel Movement

Breastfed babies sometimes go days without a bowel movement. Midwives say that five to seven days can be completely within the normal range. It may even be that your baby only has a bowel movement every ten days. There is no reason at all to worry.

The Influence of Breastfeeding on the Number of Eliminations

In general, fully breastfed babies have more bowel movements than those who are bottle-fed, as shown by this study. Very roughly speaking, breastfed children have bowel movements several times a day to every 10 days. Whether it's ten times a day or only every ten days - many things count as normal for breastfed children.

How is it with your baby? You see, there is no clear definition of normal in this topic. It is completely normal for babies to sometimes have no bowel movement for a day or to have more the next day. In most cases, these are normal fluctuations.

As a parent, you have a sense of how your baby is doing. Trust that!

Judes cloth diapers development bowel movement breast milk stool baby during diapering

Photo by @nathalie.pulcini

How Long Does a Baby Have Breast Milk Stool?

How long your baby has milk stool depends on the duration of breastfeeding. Generally, it can take up to six weeks for the stool of a breastfed baby to settle into a regular consistency.

Some babies may have bowel movements less frequently than others, which is not a cause for concern as long as your baby is healthy and shows no other signs of problems.

It's important to note that your baby's stool can change when they start eating solid foods or if the mother changes something in her diet.

How Thin Can Breast Milk Stool Be?

Watery stools are often quickly interpreted as diarrhea. However, your baby's digestion differs massively from ours. As an adult, this can sometimes be a bit confusing.

Due to the wide range of possible consistencies, even thin and frequent stool is absolutely within the norm.

What Does Diarrhea Look Like in Breastfed Babies?

Breastfeeding protects against diarrhea. Thus, thin stool is often quite normal and not considered diarrhea.

If your child actually has diarrhea, you may notice an unusual color, smell, or consistency. The stool is exceptionally watery or occurs much more frequently than usual, and the child seems unwell? Then it is highly likely that your child is currently fighting an infection. As soon as your child starts on solid food, the risk of diarrhea also increases. Unhygienic solid foods or dirty objects the child puts in their mouth often trigger diarrhea.

The Influence of Breast Milk on Healthy Digestion

Breast milk has a significant impact on your baby's bowel movements. It is specifically designed to meet the needs of a newborn and contains many important nutrients that help babies stay healthy.

The composition of breast milk varies during breastfeeding and adjusts to your baby's needs. In the first days after birth, breast milk contains colostrum, which is rich in antibodies and defense agents to protect your baby from infections. Breast milk also contains special sugars that help promote the growth of good bacteria in your baby's gut, thereby supporting digestion.

The Enzymes in Breast Milk Aid Digestion

Enzymes in breast milk enhance the digestive process for babies. In particular, breast milk contains lipase, an enzyme that helps break down the fat molecules in the milk, making it easier for nutrients to be absorbed. This allows the baby's stool to be soft and easy to pass. Absolutely fascinating how nature has arranged this, isn't it?

Another important aspect is that breast milk provides babies with enough fluid to prevent constipation and ease bowel movements. Breast milk also has a natural laxative effect that can stimulate digestion.

So, breast milk positively influences your baby's bowel movements! It provides all the essential nutrients, enzymes, and defensive agents needed for the baby to be healthy.

Judes cloth diapers baby with book on blanket topic breast milk stool

How Can I Promote the Bowel Movements of the Newborn?

Many parents know that the digestion of a newborn is an important aspect of ensuring that they are healthy and happy. Therefore, they want to understand and promote their baby's bowel movements.

Don't forget that every baby is different and may have different needs. Keeping this knowledge in mind helps to diaper worry-free. With these tips, you can optimally support your child in their eliminations.

  1. Breastfeeding
    It is important to ensure that your baby gets enough breast milk. Breastfeeding alone promotes bowel movements. As described above, the milk contains natural laxatives and aids digestion.
  2. Belly Massage
    A gentle belly massage can help to stimulate the newborn's digestion and relieve constipation. Gently massage your baby's belly in a clockwise direction, taking care not to exert too much pressure.
  3. Warm Bath
    A warm bath can also help to stimulate the newborn's digestion. The warm water relaxes the abdominal muscles, so the baby can relax better, which often leads to emptying of the bowels.
  4. Hydration
    It is important for the baby to get enough fluids to prevent constipation. So make sure that your baby drinks enough milk or water to stay hydrated. However, no additional water is necessary before starting solid food.

Removing Stains and More - How to Diaper Your Breastfed Baby

Should I change the diaper before or after breastfeeding? This is a question all parents face, and over time, you and your child will find a common routine. Since your baby does not have a regular rhythm right after birth, the timing of diaper changing is not of great importance. You will notice when the diaper is full and your baby feels uncomfortable.

This changes after the first four weeks of life. Then it makes sense to change the baby's diaper after breastfeeding. The reason for this is that many babies pass stool during or after breastfeeding. This is due to the high amount of milk sugar (lactose) in breast milk, which helps to stimulate the baby's metabolism and promote digestion.

How Judes Accompany You During Breast Milk Stool

The advantage of Judes is how uncomplicated and easy they are to use in everyday life. And that applies even from the first days of life: Whether it's meconium or breast milk stool - Judes hold up.

Since breast milk stool is water-soluble, it can simply be washed out of the diaper in the washing machine. Poo Paper is not necessary for this type of stool. If there happen to be any stains on the inner diaper, you can just hang it out in the sun. A few hours later, the discolorations will be gone.

The Conclusion on the Bowel Movements of Newborns

The contents of your baby's diaper are a good indicator of health and wellbeing. However, the child's digestion develops significantly in the first few months. What consistency is the right one? And is the color of the newborn's stool healthy?

Breast milk has a strong influence on bowel movements. It is designed so that your baby gets everything it needs and the digestion is optimally supported. However, every child is also slightly different. Normally, breast milk stool is mustard brown to light yellow and has a liquid to yoghurt-like consistency.

How frequently your baby passes stool can vary greatly. As long as your baby seems content, you do not need to worry. By the way, breastfed babies have more bowel movements than babies who are fed with a bottle.

The timing you choose for diapering doesn't matter initially - your baby does not yet recognize a rhythm. After the first four weeks, it makes sense to change the diaper after breastfeeding, as many babies pass stool during or after breastfeeding.

Cloth diapers support you during this time thanks to sustainable and uncomplicated diapering. Since breast milk stool is water-soluble, you don't need Poo Paper at the beginning but can simply wash the Judes.


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