baby pee

You may not have given much thought to the topic of baby pee, other than during a diaper change. But many parents have questions about their baby’s urine, such as how often a newborn should pee or what different baby pee smells and colors might signify. Our guide to baby pee answers all these questions and more! By the end, you’ll have a clearer picture of how many wet diapers you should expect from your newborn and when to contact your child’s healthcare provider.

How Many Wet Diapers Should a Newborn Have?

Within 24 hours after birth, your newborn will probably pee once, so you can expect one wet diaper. In the following days, and as your baby consumes more milk, the number of wet diapers increases. After about a week, a typical peeing routine for a baby will result in about four to six wet diapers per day. Counting the number of wet diapers each day can help you understand your baby’s normal peeing routine and indicate how your little one is doing. There’s quite a wide range of healthy urinary frequency for a baby, with some babies peeing every one to three hours and others just four to six times a day. But in general, you’ll want to look for at least four to six wet diapers each day.

What Does It Mean if Your Baby Is Peeing a Lot?

If it seems that your baby is peeing a lot, that’s usually a good thing and typically means they’re getting enough to eat. In your baby’s first month, if you are breastfeeding and your milk supply is well established, six or more wet diapers a day generally indicates that your baby is getting adequate nourishment. However, if you notice your baby is peeing a lot more than what’s “normal” (such as more than once every hour), look for other signs and contact your child’s healthcare provider if you have concerns. For example, children with a urinary tract infection (UTI) may pee more frequently or show signs of pain or discomfort while urinating, such as crying or body tension.

What Does It Mean if Your Newborn Is Not Peeing?

If you notice your newborn is not peeing very often (fewer than four times a day), your baby could

  • be ill

  • have a fever

  • be managing the heat.

With illnesses, fevers, or hot weather, your baby’s output of urine may drop by half, which is actually quite normal. Once your baby’s health improves and the weather cools, your little one will likely return to their typical pee routine. If your newborn isn’t eating enough, however, that’s another reason they might not be peeing very much. When you’re breastfeeding your baby, it can be hard to judge how much your baby is consuming. Look for other signs that your baby isn’t getting enough to eat, which (along with not peeing or pooping) may include the following:

  • Lethargy. If your little one isn’t eating enough, they might be very sleepy or seem extra “easy” to care for.

  • Prolonged sleep. If your baby is regularly sleeping for four or more hours at a time, it could be an indication of inadequate nutrition. It’s best to contact your child’s healthcare provider if this happens.

Of course, if your newborn is still not peeing after a fever breaks or heat wave has passed, when no illness persists, or after feeding, contact your child’s healthcare provider ASAP, especially if your baby doesn’t pee at all within a span of six to eight hours.

Newborn Pee Color

Baby pee looks similar to adult pee, in that the urine of healthy newborns has a light to dark yellow pee color. Darker shades indicate concentrated urine, which may mean that your baby is slightly dehydrated. But in general, a normal pee color for a newborn is a shade of yellow. However, your little one’s urine may have a slightly different color from time to time. Many colors are totally normal and nothing to worry about, whereas others may indicate a problem. You’ll find a baby urine color chart below, and we’ll also provide information about various shades of newborn pee, which can include tints of light yellow, dark yellow, pink, red, orange, or brown.

Light to Dark Yellow Baby Pee

As mentioned above, light yellow urine is healthy. It means your baby is getting enough nourishment and peeing regularly. The darker the yellow color, the more concentrated the urine. Although a healthy baby can have dark-yellow urine, this color could also indicate that your little one needs to consume more liquids to stay hydrated. Keep in mind that babies younger than 6 months should drink only breast milk or formula to stay hydrated. Once your little one turns 6 months old, you can start introducing small amounts of water.

Pink, Orange, Red, or Brown Baby Pee

A pink, orange, red, or brown hue to your baby’s pee can mean a few different things. Some conditions are temporary, some are harmless, and some need medical attention.

Pink

It’s easy to assume that a pink spot on your baby’s diaper is blood, but this is often just highly concentrated urine. As long as your baby is peeing a lot, then there’s likely no cause for concern. However, if this color persists, contact your child’s healthcare provider. For a newborn baby girl, a pinkish stain on the diaper could indicate blood in her pee, but it’s typically temporary and caused by the mother’s hormones. If your baby girl continues to have pink spots on her diaper or pink pee after she turns 1 week old, contact her healthcare provider. Orange, Red, or Brown

An orange, red, or brown tint may indicate the presence of blood in your newborn’s urine. Whether you have a baby boy or girl, blood in pee (after 1 week for girls) is not normal and usually means there’s a problem. The medical name for this condition is hematuria, and it can be caused by many things, including

  • physical injury

  • inflammation

  • infection

  • blood clotting

  • exposure to toxins

  • kidney stones

  • medications

  • high levels of minerals in the urine

  • hereditary conditions

  • immune system abnormalities.

If you suspect blood in your newborn’s urine and see a pink, orange, red, or brown tint, contact your child’s healthcare provider ASAP. If it’s hematuria, the provider can address it quickly. However, once your baby is past the newborn stage and you’ve introduced solid foods, these colors could be a result of your baby eating something colorful, like beets or blackberries. Either way, you’ll probably feel better once you contact the healthcare provider, who will identify the underlying cause and make sure your little one gets any necessary treatment.

Red or Brown and Cloudy Baby Pee

If your baby’s pee is cloudy and accompanies a color change, it could be a urinary tract or kidney infection. A kidney infection is actually a type of UTI, so these can go hand-in-hand. Contact your child’s healthcare provider ASAP if you notice any cloudy urine, especially if it also has a red or brown hue.

“Brick Dust” Baby Pee

A common descriptor of a red-brown hue in baby pee is “brick dust.” It actually looks a bit like dust from red bricks sprinkled into the urine, often mistaken for blood. When you see this in your baby’s pee, it could mean they’re not nursing enough or consuming enough formula. This “dust” is actually urate crystals, which will not appear once your baby consumes more fluids and nutrients.

Baby Urine Color Chart

Much like our color chart for newborn poop, we’ve created one for pee, so you’ll have an easy guide as to what your baby’s urine may be telling you.

Baby Pee Smells

Along with concerns about your newborn’s pee color, you may also wonder what it means when your baby’s urine is especially smelly. Sometimes, colorful pee and smelly pee indicate the same thing.

Strong Smelling Urine in Babies

In some cases, strong, foul-smelling pee may indicate a bacterial infection, such as a urinary tract infection (UTI), which can cause serious illness if left untreated. When a baby’s urine smells particularly strong, kind of like ammonia, look for signs of an infection, which include blood in urine, plus cloudy and smelly pee. Babies with a UTI may also have a fever, start peeing a lot more frequently, or show signs of discomfort while urinating. Toddlers can get UTIs, too, and when that’s the case, they may complain about pain while peeing, need to pee frequently, or have accidents during or after potty-training. Consult your child’s healthcare provider if your baby’s pee smells foul or strong like ammonia, or if they have any of the above symptoms. However, a strong pee smell doesn’t always indicate an infection. If your breastfed baby’s urine smells strong and is highly concentrated with a dark yellow color, your little one may be dehydrated. Giving your baby more fluids (just breast milk or formula until 6 months old) will typically do the trick. Diet and medication can also be reasons that baby pee smells strong. Check in with your little one’s healthcare provider with any concerns about this.

Sweet-Smelling Pee

This may sound a little odd, but your baby’s pee might smell sweet like maple syrup. This odor indicates a rare, serious illness called Maple Syrup Urine Disease (MSUD), which typically shows signs either within the first three days of birth or between 5 months and 7 years. It’s a metabolic disorder that stops the body from properly converting food to energy. Diabetes is another disease that could cause sweet-smelling baby pee. Because both diabetes and MSUD are very serious conditions, contact your child’s healthcare provider if you notice a sweet smell to your baby’s pee.

The Bottom Line

As you’ve discovered, baby pee can sometimes be more complicated than just changing a diaper! Still, those daily diaper changes offer opportunities to monitor your baby’s health. Pay attention to the number of wet diapers, the color of your baby’s pee, and even the smell of your baby’s pee. All of these can reassure you that your little on is thriving or suggest that you’ll need contact your child’s healthcare provider. To sum it up:

  • Urinary frequency. Most newborns should have at least four to six wet diapers a day, although how many your baby produces could end up being one every hour or every three hours.

  • Urine color. A healthy baby has yellow pee—either light, dark, or somewhere in between. Pink-tinted pee usually means highly concentrated urine, whereas red, orange, or brown hues indicate blood, which isn’t normal.

  • Urine smell. Baby pee can smell strong without any issues. But if your baby’s pee smells particularly strong or foul, it could be a sign of a UTI.

Now that you understand the ins and outs of baby pee, you’ll have a better idea of how many wet diapers will come your way and when your baby’s urine (or lack of it) indicates a problem. In the meantime, download the Pampers Club App and reward yourself for all those diaper changes with Pampers Cash!