Stooling...Determining Adequate Intake

When determining adequate newborn intake, the amount, color, and consistency of the stools can be a valuable assessment tool.

By day four, the previously tar-like meconium stool should be mostly gone, replaced by four or more yellow stools, which contain small curds. These “milk stools” reflect the infant’s increased milk intake and correspond to the development of mature breast milk in mom. This pattern usually continues until six weeks or until the baby’s own bowel system (often genetically based) begins its own normal pattern. If after one week baby is still eliminating the meconium stool or passing a small amount of stool, consider inadequate intake.

A drop in urine output is a later sign of inadequate intake. Dark urine or urine containing urate crystals (“brick dust”) at one week of age is also a sign of poor intake. Normally, an infant should have approximately five to six disposable wet, colorless diapers per day once mother’s milk comes in. (For cloth diapers, six to eight per day is more normal.)