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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.

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.

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 easily.
  • 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 rapidly.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: May 01, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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