If you’re a new parent, nappy changes can be messier than you are expecting. One tried and tested trick for most newborns is to open their nappy and then immediately put it back down. This is because a rush of cool air to the nappy region can often stimulate babies to wee. This can save their clothes, your carpets and a lot of mess! 

Keeping an eye on your baby’s nappies is the best way to work out if he or she is getting enough milk. The first nappy change can be surprising, as the first poo your baby does is black, thick and sticky. This is meconium and has lined your baby’s gut in the womb. It’s often quite difficult to wipe off your baby’s skin, but plenty of cotton wool and warm water can help. 

After the meconium has moved through your baby’s digestive system, their poo will change colour, to a greener colour. By the time your baby is three or four days old, their poo will turn a yellow colour, close to mustard. It will probably have small, seed-shaped bits in it, too.

  • In the first two days, your baby should produce two or more poos. 
  • For the next two days, two or more poos per day is normal and they should be changing to a lighter, runnier, brown or greenish colour
  • After that, and for the first few weeks, two yellow poos every day is normal.

To be counted, a poo should be at least the size of a two-pound coin.

After the first six weeks, your baby may go a few more days in between poos. As long as weight gain is still as expected, the amount and frequency of bowel movements no longer suggests a problem with the amount of milk your baby gets.

In the earliest days of life, your baby is unlikely to produce much wee, but do keep an eye out for red marks in their nappy, known as “brick dust”. This can indicate that your baby is not getting enough milk. By day two, you should expect at least two wet nappies per each 24 hours. On day three and four, expect at least three wet nappies. When your baby is five days old, you should expect far more frequent wet nappies: around six or more as your baby’s intake of milk increases. 

So, as a handy rule, expect the same number of wees as your baby’s age in days from day one up to day six.

If your baby is not producing the expected number of wet nappies, or you are seeing orange or red marks in their nappies, do speak to your midwife for guidance.