Merck Manual

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Stools and Urine in Infants


Deborah M. Consolini

, MD, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital

Reviewed/Revised Sep 2023

After the first few days of life, infants should have at least 6 to 8 wet diapers a day but may have more. The urine varies in color from nearly clear to dark yellow.

Stools vary a great deal among infants in frequency, color, and consistency depending on the nature of the individual infants and the contents of their diet. The number of times infants defecate varies from once every other day to 6 or 8 times a day. Stool consistency ranges from firm and formed to soft and runny. Stool color ranges from mustard yellow to dark brown. The stool of breastfed infants Breastfeeding Breast milk is the ideal food for newborns and infants. Although babies may be fed breast milk or formula, the World Health Organization (WHO) and American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend... read more Breastfeeding tends to be softer and of lighter color than that of formula-fed infants Formula Feeding In the hospital, newborns are usually fed shortly after delivery, then ideally on demand thereafter. During the first week after birth, babies take ½ ounce to 2 ounces at a time, gradually increasing... read more Formula Feeding .

Diapers must be changed often to keep the underlying skin dry. Wet skin chafes more easily than dry skin and is more likely to develop diaper rash Diaper rash (diaper dermatitis) A rash is an abnormal change in the texture or color of the skin. Known causes of rashes include irritation, allergies, drugs, and bacterial, fungal, or viral infections. Rashes include redness... read more Diaper rash (diaper dermatitis) . Modern, super-absorbent disposable diapers contain a layer of gel that absorbs liquid and keeps it away from the skin. These diapers keep skin drier than cloth diapers after small to moderate amounts of urine, but diapers of any type should be changed when the skin is exposed to wetness. Bacteria normally present in stool can break down urea, a substance in urine, resulting in an alkaline pH that irritates the skin, so diapers should be checked frequently for stool and changed immediately.

Baby powders help keep skin dry when the infant is sweating slightly, but they do not help keep the skin dry from urine or stool and are not essential. Powder made of talcum may cause lung problems if inhaled by infants, so parents who want to use baby powder should purchase baby powders that contain cornstarch instead.

Drugs Mentioned In This Article

Generic Name Select Brand Names
Aluvea , BP-50% Urea , BP-K50, Carmol, CEM-Urea, Cerovel, DermacinRx Urea, Epimide-50, Gord Urea, Gordons Urea, Hydro 35 , Hydro 40, Kerafoam, Kerafoam 42, Keralac, Keralac Nailstik, Keratol, Keratol Plus, Kerol, Kerol AD, Kerol ZX, Latrix, Mectalyte, Nutraplus, RE Urea 40, RE Urea 50 , Rea Lo, Remeven, RE-U40, RYNODERM , U40, U-Kera, Ultra Mide 25, Ultralytic-2, Umecta, Umecta Nail Film, URALISS, Uramaxin , Uramaxin GT, Urea, Ureacin-10, Ureacin-20, Urealac , Ureaphil, Uredeb, URE-K , Uremez-40, Ure-Na, Uresol, Utopic, Vanamide, Xurea, X-VIATE
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