Breastfeeding A to Z

Change in Dirty Diaper Pattern

Be aware, around the time your baby is 5-6 weeks old they may start to slow down with the number of dirty diapers they have every day.  The change can be drastic.  You can go from changing a dirty diaper every feeding to seeing one dirty diaper a week! (1)  This is normal.  This usually happens between 5-6 weeks of age–but no one told your baby this.  Occasionally, a baby may change their dirty diaper habits before they are 5-6 weeks old.  This is just to make you aware of the possibility.  If you are concerned, have your baby’s weight checked.
Often parents think their baby is constipated if they stop having dirty diapers as frequently.  Constipation is not about how frequently you have a bowel movement it is about the consistency.  Constipation is rare in breastfed infants. (2)  Their stool will still be loose, maybe slightly thicker than before, but unless you have rock hard little pebbles, you have a baby who is stooling or having a dirty diaper normally–they are not constipated.  They are just going longer between having dirty diapers.  This change is due to your baby’s intestinal tract maturing.  Instead of their bowl movements being stimulated every time they start to suck there is now often a delay.
References:
  1. Mohrbacher, N, Stock, J, La Leche League International The Breastfeeding Answer Book, 3rd revised edition, Schaumburg, IL, La Leche League International, Jan 2003, pp 39, 158, 268.
  2. Wilson, WH, Lowdermilk, P, Maternal Child Nursing Care, 3rd edition, St. Louis, MO, Mosby, 2006 p 1504.