When you are first getting acquainted with your little one, there is a lot of staring into their sweet eyes, relishing their soft skin — and wondering what the hell just came out of their diaper. Whether it's explosive, smelly, funky colors, or all of the above, it's not always easy to pin down what's going on with your baby's bathroom habits. But what about their urine? Are there rules about frequency and color? If you're wondering, then here's what the color of your baby's pee can tell you, according to experts.
"Urine is usually yellow," Dr. Danelle Fisher, a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics (FAAP) and chair of pediatrics at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California, tells Romper in an email interview. "Worrisome colors of urine include brown or red, which could indicate blood in the urine." Fisher notes, however, that urine does concentrate overnight, so first morning diapers may seem more pungent than the rest of the day, but that should resolve as the baby drinks.
Dr. Gina Posner, a pediatrician at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California, agrees, adding that, while urine should be a light yellow, "the more concentrated it is, the more dark yellow it is. Red in the urine could signify blood, so you would always want to bring a baby in to get her or his urine tested if it ever appears red," she tells Romper in an email interview.
According to Verywell Family, some changes in urine, however, are normal. For example, if you're breastfeeding, then certain foods, food dyes, herbs, and vitamin supplements could change the color of your breast milk and therefore turn your newborn's urine green, pink, or orange.
In terms of how often your baby should be peeing, New Kids Center noted that by the time your infant is 5 days old, they should be having around six to eight wet diapers. There can be, however, a bit of a difference for formula fed versus breastfed babies: Babies who take formula typically have six to eight wet diapers a day, "but may have up to 10 wet diapers because bottle feeding gives them more fluids than breastfed babies," the website said.
Signs of dehydration in babies include going more than six hours without a wet diaper, urine that looks darker and smells stronger than usual, lethargy, and no tears while crying, according to Baby Center. Serious signs of dehydration include sunken eyes, excessive sleepiness or fussiness, and/or sunken fontanels (the soft spots on your baby's head), the website noted. If your baby shows signs of severe dehydration, then you should immediately visit the emergency room.
Preventing dehydration becomes especially important when your baby is exposed to hot weather or sick, according to What To Expect. In the case of high temperatures, the website said you should avoid warm weather altogether and/or make sure to dress them in light, breathable clothing. On the other hand, you can prevent illness by washing hands frequently, and staying current with well-baby visits and immunizations. If your little one does become sick, then your healthcare provider might recommend electrolyte replacement with something like Pedialyte.
Ultimately, what happens in your baby's diaper is pretty important and you might surprise yourself by how frequently you begin discussing poop, pee, and everything in between once your little one arrives. After all, kids have a way of turning the most "Oh, I will never ..." of us into parents who say things like, "Ah, it's just pee — at least it's sterile."
Hey, no one said parenting wasn't messy, am I right?
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.