Baby's Daily Needs: What to Expect - Topic Overview
Diaper changes continued...
The number of diapers a newborn wets is sometimes hard to
know, because disposable diapers work so well to wick moisture. In
general, though, your newborn should have about 3 wet diapers a day for the first few days. After that, your baby should have at least 6 wet
diapers a day throughout the first month of life. The urine should be yellow in color. Don't be alarmed, though, if you notice a pink color to the urine during your newborn's first 3 days of life. It is common for newborns to pass crystals in the urine (highly concentrated urine) which makes the urine look pink. If the pink color lasts, or if at any time your baby seems to be in pain while urinating, call your doctor.
Your newborn's stools usually will change from black to green in the first few days. Then they will change to yellow or yellowish brown by the end of the first week. Breast-fed
babies typically have more yellowish stools than formula-fed
babies. They also tend to have stools more often. Many newborns have at least 1 or 2 bowel movements a day. By the end of the first week, your baby may have as many as 5 to 10 a day. For more information about stools and when to call the doctor, see Bowel Movements in Babies.
Call your doctor if your baby does not regularly produce wet or soiled diapers and
shows other signs of
dehydration, such as strong-smelling urine that is a
dark yellow color.
A newborn moves between sleeping and waking during a 24-hour day. Most newborns sleep for a total of 18 hours each day, waking for short periods at
least every 2 to 3 hours. When your newborn wakes up, he or she will usually be
hungry and need to be fed. This pattern dominates your baby's first few weeks.
Sleeping patterns vary with each child and gradually evolve over the
first year. Sleep habits are influenced by the baby's temperament and feeling
of being well fed and the parents' response to waking episodes. Some babies
naturally seem to need more sleep than others.
Periods of murmuring and restlessness every 50 to 60 minutes are a normal part of the baby sleep cycle. These periods are known as "active sleep." The restlessness
usually lasts a few minutes, and if babies are left alone, they usually fall
back to sleep.
The sleep cycles include:
- Drowsy sleep. The baby moves little but may be
wakened easily. His or her eyes may start to close or gently open. Drowsy sleep
can occur at the start or end of the sleep cycle.
- Quiet, or deep,
sleep. The baby moves very little; has deep, regular breathing; and has no
noticeable eye movement under the eyelids. The baby is not wakened
- Active, or light, sleep. The baby appears restless and
breathes quickly and irregularly. Eye movement is noticeable under the eyelids.
A 1-month-old may spend about 50% of his or her sleep time in active sleep,
while older children and adults spend about 20%. It is believed that a baby has
longer periods of active sleep than an adult because the brain is developing