Changing nappies is not really any parent’s favourite job, but changing your baby regularly is really important, and regular wet and dirty nappies are a good sign that your baby is healthy.
One thing that surprises new parents is just how often their baby does a wee or a poo – by the time your baby is a week old, they may be having more than six wet nappies a day and two or more dirty nappies!
This table shows how often your baby should have wet or dirty nappies based on their age:
||1-2 or more
||1 or more black/dark green
||3 or more
||2 or more dark green/changing
||5 or more
||2 or more becoming yellow and looser
||6 or more
||2 or more yellow, watery, seedy appearance
Regular wet and dirty nappies show that your baby is feeding well and healthy. If your baby is having fewer wet or dirty nappies than usual, you should speak to your GP or midwife. If your baby hasn’t had a wet nappy for 12 hours, you should seek medical advice right away as they may be dehydrated.
Newborns have extremely sensitive skin, so they need to be changed regularly to prevent nappy rash. You should always change a dirty nappy right away to prevent damage to the skin, but you don’t necessarily need to change nappies as soon as they are wet. If your baby’s skin isn’t as sensitive, you can wait until before or after a feed to change them.
You might see urate crystals in your baby’s nappy, especially in the first few days. This has the appearance of an orange-red stain and can be mistaken for blood. These can also be a sign of dehydration (internal link), so look out for other symptoms and seek medical advice if you are concerned.
If you have a baby girl, she may have a small amount of bleeding from her vagina in the early days, like a “mini period”. Babies are exposed to your hormones in the womb, so when they are no longer getting these it can cause some vaginal bleeding. This is completely normal and nothing to be concerned about, but if you are at all worried you should speak to your midwife or maternity support worker.
Find out more about how to changes nappies, how to dispose of them, normal dirty nappies and more from NHS UK