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How Long Can A Baby Go Without Pooping?

Medically reviewed by Ruben Macapinlac, MD, DPPS · Pediatrics · Philippine Pediatric Society

Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated Nov 23, 2023

How Long Can A Baby Go Without Pooping?

Many first-time parents wonder about their baby’s bowel movement. Is it normal for them to pass stool frequently? How long can a baby go without pooping? The answers and more when you read this article.

Bowel Movement in Babies Vary

Before we go into detail about bowel movement and baby poop, let’s first highlight one crucial fact: several factors come into play regarding baby stool. One of those factors is age.

Case in point, immediately after birth, your baby passes meconium – their first poop. Meconium is dark greenish-black and is sticky; sometimes, it’s so sticky that you need to wipe it off with petroleum jelly.

how long can a baby go without pooping

After meconium, expect your baby’s poop to take on less black, more dark green color. It will also be less sticky. This is called transition poop, and it’s a sign that your little one is eliminating all the meconium and starting to digest breastmilk or formula.

Transition poop usually lasts until their 5th day; after that, the answers to questions like how long can a baby go without pooping largely depends on their development and diet.

Once your baby starts on solid foods, their stool appearance and frequency will also change.

Breastfed Baby Poop

If you’re breastfeeding your baby, here’s what you can expect after the transitional poop:

  • Their stool appears bright yellow or golden in color.
  • It has a mild odor.
  • The texture is runny, which may or may not contain whitish curds, called seeds.
  • Your baby may frequently poop, 7 to 10 times a day; this is because their digestive system is still developing, and they are likely to “squirt little poop,” usually after each feeding.

Before they reach 6 weeks, it’s normal for breastfed babies to poop at least thrice a day. Over time, when their digestive system can easily absorb breastmilk, they will poop less often – once a day or even once a week (or longer).

Formula-Fed Baby Poop

Are you giving your baby formula milk? If so, you can expect the following after the transitional poop:

  • Your baby’s stool is firmer, often with the consistency of peanut butter. This is because formula milk is harder to digest.
  • It could be brownish. The greenish color is also likely since babies still cannot absorb the iron in the formula milk.
  • It has a stronger odor.
  • They poop less often than breastfed babies, usually 3 to 5 times daily or as little as twice a day.

How long can a formula-fed baby go without pooping? Experts say after their first or 2nd month, a baby passes stool only once in a day or two.

When to Bring Your Baby to the Doctor

Regarding baby bowel movement, these primary issues need medical intervention:

  • Diarrhea or bloody stool
  • Constipation
  • Fever, which may be a sign of infection


For breastfed newborn babies, it’s a little difficult to spot diarrhea because their stool is normally soft and runny. Experts advise on checking for a change in frequency and amount of liquid in the poop.

Case in point, bring your child to the doctor if their poop has more water and they pass stool more than once after each feeding session.

For formula-fed and older babies with firmer stool, it’s easier to spot loose, watery poop.

Bring them to the doctor is crucial because diarrhea can lead to dehydration.

how long can a baby go without pooping


How long a baby can go without pooping depends on their age and diet.

For instance, breastfed babies can go without pooping for more than a week and still not experience constipation. This is because they absorb breastmilk so well there are no “leftovers.”

Additionally, babies may squirm and look as if they are straining when pooping. But it’s just because they are still getting used to pooping in general.

What the experts suggest is to pay close attention to their poop’s consistency. If they cry during bowel movements and you notice that their stool is hard, dry, or pebble-like, they might be constipated. Contact the doctor, too, if you see blood in their stool.


Contact your healthcare provider right away if your baby develops bloody poop or slimy, greenish poop along with other symptoms such as fever, loss of appetite, and irritability.

Learn more about Baby’s First Year here. 


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Ruben Macapinlac, MD, DPPS

Pediatrics · Philippine Pediatric Society

Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated Nov 23, 2023

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