Newborn
Not peeing in the first 24 hours points to some urinary tract problem.

A newborn baby usually passes urine for the first time within 12 to 24 hours after birth. Not peeing in the first 24 hours points to some urinary tract problem. As the mother and her baby need to stay in the hospital for 24 to 48 hours after a normal delivery, it becomes easy for the doctors to diagnose the condition early.

During the first 2-3 days, a breastfed baby may not produce much urine, and thus, may not have wet diapers. The peeing frequency increases as the intake of the mother’s milk increases over the next few days (the mother starts breastfeeding the baby frequently in a day).

It is completely normal for the baby to urinate anywhere between 1-6 hours (or 4-8 wet diapers) a day.

In the first 2 days of life, a newborn may pee dark yellow, orange, or even pink urine due to the excretion of waste products known as urates into the urine, which is normal. Certain foods, herbs, and supplements could change the color of the breast milk and cause the breastfed newborn’s urine color to get a pink, green, or orange tint. The doctor may be able to tell you what exactly is causing the change in the urine color.

What is the peeing frequency in bottle-fed infants?

The amount of urine that the newborn produces depends on the amount of fluid they drink.

If the baby’s feeding frequency goes up to more than 2 ounces of formula every 3 hours, they may urinate more, and the mother may see more wet diapers. If the baby is sleepy and consumes less liquid, the urination frequency gets lower.

What causes a newborn to pee less?

The newborn may urinate less if:

  • It is summer.
  • The climate is extremely cold.
  • They have a fever.
  • They are not drinking enough liquids (breast milk or formula milk). The darker the color, the more concentrated the urine.

Highly concentrated urine (due to less liquid intake) can cause the urine to appear pink and make the mother mistake it for blood in the urine. In such cases, mothers need not worry if the baby is wetting at least 4 diapers a day.

QUESTION

Newborn babies don't sleep very much. See Answer

When should I call the doctor for my newborn?

Checking your baby temperature
Knowing when to call the pediatrician can be a perplexing prospect for new parents.

Parenting brings along several challenges. Taking care of a newborn is not child's play. No child comes with an instruction manual. With so many self-proclaimed newborn "experts" out there, you may often be left perplexed. There are times when you can be entirely clueless about what is the right thing to do for your baby. It's perfectly normal to get worried about symptoms that may be harmless. It may, however, be risky at times to avoid seemingly harmless signs in your baby that may be due to serious health conditions.

The best rule is when in doubt, contact your doctor. Unnecessary visits to the doctor, however, may be a bit heavy on your savings and can even expose your baby to infections during health care visits.

The inability of the baby to communicate makes it difficult for the mothers to recognize the troubles that the baby is facing. Hence, it is necessary to either call the child specialist (pediatrician) right away or visit them if the mother spots certain signs in the baby that include:

  • Fewer than four wet diapers in 24 hours
  • Dark yellow/orange/pink/red, concentrated, smelly urine that is also less in quantity
  • Actual red spot on the diaper

Signs of dehydration:

  • Dryness of lips and tongue
  • The sinking of the soft spot (known as sunken fontanelle) on top of the baby's head
  • Poor feeding

Your pediatrician will assess your child thoroughly to see if the problem is due to a urinary tract infection or some other abnormality.

10 signs your newborn may be sick

Although it may not be always possible to be sure if you have to call the doctor, some of the issues with your newborn that may need a doctor’s advice include the following:

  1. Your baby seems dehydrated: Signs of dehydration in a baby include lack of tears when the baby cries, sunken soft spot on the baby's head, reduced number of wet diapers (generally 6-8 diapers are normally changed in a day), sunken eyes, and dry mouth. Dehydration can be dangerous for your baby and needs urgent medical attention.
  2. Your baby is not feeding enough: One of the commonest signs of a sick baby is a refusal to feed. Babies have small stomachs that need to be fed at short intervals, generally every 2-3 hours. They have very little energy reserves, as well. If your baby is not taking enough feeds, it's time to contact your child's doctor.
  3. Skin is too warm or too cold: Babies are prone to both hypothermia (low body temperature) and fever (high body temperature). If you feel that your baby is too cold or too warm, check his or her temperature. A temperature of 100.4 F or higher is considered a fever. Hypothermia (too low body temperature) is when the baby's body temperature is below 97.7 F. Contact your child's pediatrician in either of the cases.
  4. Altered bowel movements: Contact your child's pediatrician if your baby has any signs or symptoms of bowel changes, such as loose or watery stools, hard or scanty stools, or your baby struggles during bowel movements.
  5. Behavior changes: If your baby is too sleepy, lethargic, floppy, or cries inconsolably, you must contact your child's doctor.
  6. Skin rash: Contact your child's doctor if your baby has a rash anywhere on the body.
  7. Any signs of breathing difficulties: If your baby has a stuffy nose, rapid breathing, flaring nostrils, grunting, coughing, bluish skin color, or retraction of the ribs, contact your pediatrician immediately.
  8. Eye or ear discharge: If your baby has sticky discharge from one or both eyes or ear drainage, contact your pediatrician.
  9. Any appearance of blood: If you see blood in the baby's spit-up, nose discharge, poop, or navel, contact your doctor. Any pain in or bleeding from the penis also requires medical attention.
  10. Signs of jaundice: These include yellowing of the skin, eyes, or inside of the mouth. Call your doctor if your baby has jaundice.

SLIDESHOW

Parenting Guide: Healthy Eating for Kids See Slideshow

When to seek emergency medical care for your baby

Besides the aforementioned reasons, do not hesitate from contacting your pediatrician if you believe that your child needs medical help. You must seek emergency medical attention in the following cases:

  • Poisoning
  • Near drowning
  • Electric shock
  • Increasing breathing distress
  • Bluish or greyish lips, face or nails
  • Unconscious or severely lethargic or limp baby
  • Burns or smoke inhalation
  • Abnormal body movements
  • Injuries, especially head injuries
  • Rectal temperature above 100.4 F (38 C) or below 97.7 F (36.5 C)

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Medically Reviewed on 5/4/2022
References
Baby's First Days: Bowel Movements & Urination. Available at: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/Pages/Babys-First-Days-Bowel-Movements-and-Urination.aspx

Dehydration and diarrhea, Paediatrics & Child Health, 2003;8(7): 459–60

Johnson, Winter. "New Baby at Home? When to Call the Doctor." Oct. 16, 2014. Stanford Children's Health. <https://healthier.stanfordchildrens.org/en/new-baby-home-call-doctor>.

"When to Call the Doctor for Your Newborn Baby." Nov. 25, 2020. Cleveland Clinic. <https://health.clevelandclinic.org/when-to-call-the-doctor-for-your-newborn-baby/>.