The question:

My breastfed baby only has one bowel movement every week! Could he be constipated? Does he need more water?

The Pediatrician Answers:
Whether or not this is a problem depends on your baby's age. Breastfed infants in the first week of life should have several bowel movements per day; this is a sign of good breastmilk intake. Stool frequency generally remains high until about the age of 1-2 months. At 1-2 months of age, some infants will have an abrupt change in the frequency of their bowel movements from several per day to one every several days. As long as the baby is growing normally, this is a normal pattern and should not be of concern.

Constipation is defined as firm stools; this almost never occurs in a breastfed infant who is being exclusively breastfed. Breastfed infants will often have firmer bowel movements after the introduction of solid foods into the diet.

Extra water is not needed in the breastfed infant. Studies done on infants living in very warm climates show that breastfed infants who feed frequently and are growing well get plenty of fluid from the breastmilk and do not require extra water.

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