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How Many Wet Diapers Should My Baby Have Each Day?

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Updated June 02, 2014

Mother changing baby's diaper on bed.
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Question: How Many Wet Diapers Should My Baby Have Each Day?

I am breastfeeding and worried my baby is not getting enough breastmilk. My doctor told me that I should keep track of how many wet diapers my baby has in a day to know that she is getting fed enough milk. How many wet diapers should I be expect? How wet of a diaper should I be looking for? And should I count her stools as well? Thanks for your help!

Answer:

Your doctor's advice to count wet diapers is sound advice. Many breastfeeding moms get frustrated that they can not know for certain how much breastmilk their baby is getting. However, what goes in must come out, and wet diapers are one way to get an idea if your baby is getting enough breastmilk.

How Many Wet Diapers Per Day in the First Week?

During the first 4 days of your baby's life, you can expect an increase in wet diapers and stools each day.

  • Day 1: 1 wet diaper and 1 black, tarry stool
  • Day 2: 2 wet diapers and 2 brownish-black tarry stools
  • Day 3: 3 wet diapers and 3 brownish to green stools (the stools should be getting lighter in color)
  • Day 4: 4 wet diapers and 4 greenish to yellow stools

Wet Diaper Counts for Day 5 and Beyond

At day 5 and in the days following, your breastfed baby should produce 5 soaking weight diapers per day and have about 3 yellow stools daily. Rest assured, exact stool counts can vary however. So do not be alarmed if stool counts or the stool color does not match up perfectly. Particularly if you have also introduced infant formula or solid foods you may notice less stools or stools of "interesting" colors. The wet diaper counts is far more indicative of whether your baby is getting enough breastmilk. For more info: Watch: The Basics of Newborn Poop.

How an I Tell If the Diaper Is Wet Enough?

Particularly for newborns it can be difficult to tell if the diaper is wet enough. While cloth diapers are fairly easy to tell if your baby has wet enough, disposables can be a bit more mysterious.

A helpful tip would be to use disposable diapers with a wetness indicator. Pampers is one brand that has the clever color-changing wetness indicator. No need to stick your finger in the diaper or sniff it to get a sense of whether it has been wet or not. If you do not have a wetness indicator diaper, another tip would be to place a piece of tissue paper in your baby's diaper to help better reveal the secret if she wet her diaper or not.

How Much Formula Does My Baby Need?

If you are formula feeding or bottlefeeding breastmilk, knowing that your baby is getting enough milk is quite a bit easier. Guidelines for how much formula can be found based on age or weight of your baby.

What If Diaper Counts Are Too Low?

If your baby does not seem to be wetting enough, get in touch with your pediatrician. If you are breastfeeding, continue breastfeeding frequently - a minimum of every 2 hours. However, if your baby wants to be bed even more frequently, that's fine too. Cluster feeding is a common behavior in newborn babies.

If you are concerned that your breastmilk supply may not be sufficient, there are several proven tips for increasing breastmilk supply. However, do not jump to the conclusion that something is necessarily wrong. Talk with a lactation consultant or doctor to confirm your suspicion.

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