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Baby's Daily Needs: What to Expect - Topic Overview

Diaper changes

You may be surprised at the number of diapers your newborn goes through every day. It's important to change your baby's diaper, because urine and stool can irritate your baby's skin.

Paying attention to your newborn's wet and soiled diapers can also give you clues about your baby's health.

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.

Sleeping

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.

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