You’ll find yourself changing your newborn’s nappies a lot and while you may have lots of questions around your baby’s poop colour, you may also have some around baby pee. You may be curious about how frequently your little one should be peeing, what colour it should be or if it has a strong smell to it and what this may mean.
In this guide to baby pee we answer all of these questions and let you know when you should be seeking medical attention.
How often should my baby be peeing?
If your baby is peeing a lot it’s usually a good sign and means your newborn is getting enough food. If you’re breastfeeding your newborn, then six or more wet nappies a day during your baby’s first month is normal. However, if you notice your baby is peeing more than usual, such as more than once every hour, then contact your child’s healthcare provider. If your baby is suffering from a urinary tract infection (UTI) they may cry when peeing, have a fever, be irritable and not want to feed. In general, if your baby has four to six wet nappies a day.
What if my newborn is not peeing?
If your newborn is peeing less than four times a day it could indicate that they’re unwell, have a fever or be trying to manage the heat. These three different things can cause your baby’s urine output to drop by about half, which is pretty normal. It’s likely they’ll return to their normal peeing routine once they’re feeling better or the weather cools down. Another reason your baby may not be peeing a lot is if they’re not eating enough. This can be hard to judge so it’s important to look out for other signs that may indicate this, such as if they’re oversleeping or if they’re lethargic.
* If your baby doesn’t pee at all within six to eight hours or after being ill, contact your healthcare provider immediately.
Newborn pee colour
Just like adults, healthy baby pee will be light to dark yellow colour. This colour may change from time to time and, even though most of the time it’s nothing to worry about, there may be other occasions it indicates there’s a problem.
Check out our baby pee colour chart below for a quick indication of what your baby’s pee colour means:
Light to dark yellow pee: light yellow pee is a good sign and healthy. Darker yellow pee could indicate your baby is a little dehydrated and needs to consume more liquids. Breastmilk and formula is suitable for babies under six months. Afterwards, your baby can start drinking small amounts of water.
Pink: this is highly concentrated pee (try not to mistake it with blood). If your baby is peeing a lot there’s no need to worry, however if this colour persists contact your healthcare provider. If your newborn girl has a pinkish stain in her nappy it could indicate blood in her pee. This is usually temporary and caused by the mum’s hormones. If these pink spots continue to appear or her pee is consistently pink after she turns one week old, contact your healthcare provider.
Orange, red or brown: this usually indicates blood in your baby’s pee. Blood in your baby’s urine is not normal for either boys or girls (after one week old) and usually indicates there’s a problem. The term for blood in pee is hematuria and you should contact your child’s healthcare provider if you spot these colours in your baby’s pee.
Red, brown or cloudy: this could be a sign that your baby is suffering from a UTI or kidney infection. If this occurs, contact your child’s healthcare provider immediately and more so if there’s also blood in it.
Red-brown: this colour is also referred to as ‘brick-dust’ as it looks a little like brick-dust has been sprinkled into your baby’s urine. It can often be mistaken for blood. It’s actually urate crystals (a by-product of concentrated urine) and should go once your baby has consumed more fluids.
Different baby pee smells
You may be curious what it means if your baby’s pee has a particular smell to it, especially if it’s pretty strong or unpleasant.
Strong smelling urine
This could be a sign that your baby has a bacterial infection such as a UTI. It can lead to serious illness if left unrteated, which is why it’s important to contact your healthcare provider if you think your baby has one. Signs for an infection to look out for include blood in your baby’s pee; if it looks cloudy and is smelly. If your baby has a UTI they may be irritable, have a fever, be peeing a lot more than often, or showing discomfort whilst peeing.
On the flip side, if your baby’s pee smells strong and is highly concentrated it could be a sign your baby is dehydrated.
If your baby’s pee smells a little like maple syrup it may indicate a serious illness called Maple Syrup Urine Disease (MSUD). Signs for this usually occur within the first few days of birth or between five months and seven years. Sweet-smelling urine can also be a sign of diabetes. Both of these are serious, so if your baby’s pee smells sweet contact your healthcare provider.
Remember, the times to be most concerned about your baby’s pee is if it presents orange, brown or red tints, as this could be a sign of blood. If your baby isn’t peeing at all (or under the normal amount) or it smells sweet. Contact your healthcare provider if any of these occur or if you have any other concerns about your baby’s urine.