Factors associated with defecation patterns in 0-24-month-old children

Eur J Pediatr. 2008 Dec;167(12):1357-62. doi: 10.1007/s00431-008-0669-2. Epub 2008 Feb 9.


To identify the normal defecation patterns and the factors affecting these patterns in the first two years of life, a questionnaire was given to the parents of 1,021 children who were followed in a well-child clinic. The time of first meconium passage, presence of colic symptoms, frequency, color, and consistency of stools were recorded.Mann Whitney U, Wilcoxon, chi-square, and correlation tests were used in the statistical analyses. The median number of defecations per day was six in the first month of life. This decreased to once in the second month and almost all cases remained so until the end of the 24th month. At the second month of age, 39.3% of infants passed stools less than once a day. This pattern of rare defecation was seen until the end of 6 months, when supplemental foods were started. Stool frequency was higher in exclusively breast-fed infants (p = 0.0001). Infants who had colic symptoms in the first 2 months had less frequent defecation during the first 2 years of life (p = 0.0001). In addition to confirming the previously observed defecation patterns of 0-2-year-old infants, this study provides the relationship between colic symptoms and stool frequency, and showed that the second month of life was unique in the sense that the frequency of stooling decreased to half of the previous month and 39.3% of these infants defecated less than once a day.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Breast Feeding / statistics & numerical data*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Child Development
  • Child, Preschool
  • Constipation / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Defecation / physiology*
  • Diet / methods
  • Diet / standards
  • Dietary Fiber / standards
  • Feces
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Motility / physiology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Behavior
  • Infant Formula / statistics & numerical data*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Meconium
  • Parents*
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Toilet Training
  • Turkey / epidemiology