How do you determine if your baby is urinating enough and if the color is normal?
Babies need to produce 6 – 8 soiled diapers in a 24 hour period. These 6 – 8 diapers can be a combination of urine or stool diapers. This quota of soiled diapers is what is expected, and it is a sign that the baby is ingesting enough breast milk.
Since our modern day diapers are “super-absorbent,” it is often difficult to tell if the child has urinated, which becomes a significant concern to the baby’s caregiver. Therefore, I suggest folding a tissue and placing it in the diaper, to see if the tissue is wet with urine and to determine the urine’s color.
You will want to see a clear yellow color to the urine, but when the breastfeeding routine is first getting established, a slightly stronger shade of yellow is also okay. However, you should know that while a diaper which appears slightly red is acceptable, a diaper that is tinged with orange is NOT okay and can be a sign of dehydration.
What if you see orange?
If you see orange in the diaper, it’s time to take notice and be concerned, because it means that the baby needs to take in more fluids; however, this condition is easy to fix. I suggest you feed the baby more often, do lots of breast compression to help baby swallow more milk while nursing, and if the baby is still does not appear to be eating enough you should finger-feed your baby either pumped breast milk or formula.
Do not give water. Although it is our goal is to get more fluid into the baby, that fluid needs to be either pumped breast milk or formula.
What if you see red?
If you see red in the diaper, it is as a result of excess hormone from the mother, and is normal and of no concern. Seeing red in a baby girls diaper within the first few weeks of the baby’s life is actually common. It is considered the girls ‘first menstrual cycle’ and is nothing to be concerned about. This is the baby’s way of riding her body from the mother’s hormones. You will often notice that the baby also has swollen breasts, which are equally a result of hormones.
Remember, as long as you are seeing the color red and not orange – do not be concerned.