Nappies in the newborn stage
By Kaya Thorpe, IBCLC, December 2022.
Urine - wet nappies
Newborns tend to wee little and often and it is often recommended they are changed frequently. Nappy changes can be done to wake a baby pre a feed if they are a bit sleepy. We expect one wet nappy for every day of life, which means
Day 1 - 1 wet nappy
Day 2 - 2 wet nappies
Day 3 - 3 wet nappies
Day 4 - 4 wet nappies
Day 5 onwards - 5 plus wet nappies which should get heavier
It can be hard to tell in the early days if a baby has done a wee or not in a nappy. If you are unsure and using disposable nappies sometimes putting cotton wool in the nappy can mean that this stays wet for longer. Cloth nappies you may be able to feel the wetness if you are not using something that is very absorbent.
A very common question you will get asked about your baby is what their nappies look like and how many they are having every day. Nappies are a really good indicator as to whether your baby is having enough milk and feeding well. Even when a baby is having great nappies there can still be feeding difficulties so this isn't the only thing we look for but it helps us build an important part of the picture.
Picture one - A baby in a cloth nappy
Disposable nappies often come with an indicator strip which changes colour when baby has passed urine. Some families find this really helpful in the early stages as a way of showing if baby has done a wee.
As nappies get heavier you will often be able to feel if they contain wee as disposable nappies get squishy once wet. Remember if you are used to dealing with toddler nappies, we do not expect as much output from a newborn.
Picture two - A baby in a disposable nappy where the strip is changing colour.
Poo is one of the things that gets us worried when babies aren't producing as much as we expect. Ideally we should be seeing at least two poos a day the size of a £2 coin once your milk has changed from colostrum to breastmilk which contains more water. If your baby isn't producing poo or at least two poos please immediately let your midwife know.
Meconium poo is the first we see and is black, sticky and has an almost tar like consistency. It is very difficult to clean off.
Picture 3 - a meconium poo
Stools will start to change from the black, thick meconium over to a runnier dark green/black poo on day 2. On day 3 we expect a green/khaki poo which is quite runny. On day 4 you should see the poo start to turn more yellow.
Picture 4 - a khaki colour runny poo
Day 5 onwards
From around day 5 onwards we expect to see these yellow runny explosions. They often have darker flecks in. If you are using formula you may also see thicker poo due to the differences in the composition of breastmilk and formula.
Picture 5 - yellow explosive breastfed poo.
If you have any concerns about the nappies your baby is producing in the first few weeks of life please immediately contact your midwife. It may be worth asking for feeding support as well to ensure that everything is going as it should be.