Infrequent bowel movements: Is this normal for breastfed baby?

My daughter is breastfeeding her first baby. The baby is five weeks old. The baby does not have a bowel movement for a whole week; some times longer. My daughter does not seem concerned about this. She has baby books and says this is normal. The baby seems to be a very restless sleeper. Should she be concerned about the baby not having a bowel movement for such a long period of time? She is a very conscientious and devoted mother.

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Debbi Donovan

Debbi Donovan is a Board Certified Lactation Consultant, as well as a retired La Leche League Leader. For more than a decade, Debbi... Read more

It is usually around the age of 5 to 6 weeks that a baby's bowel habits may begin to change. Prior to that time, we like to see a breastfed baby stooling at least twice a day. This is one factor that lets us know that he is getting the amount of milk he needs for good growth. After 5 or 6 weeksof age breastfed babies often transition to less frequent, but more abundant stooling. For this age group we like to see regular, substantial bowel movements. Healthy, and happy breastfed babies sometimes only have a bowel movement every 10 days or so.

If your daughter's baby is growing well (about 4 to 8 ounces per week)and does not have signs of constipation, such as dry and hard to pass stools and/or a distended (and uncomfortable) belly, I would not worry about his infrequent stooling pattern. It is also quite common for babies to be restless while sleeping.

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