Bowel movements and urination – Frequency and Color

 normal frequency of bowel movement and urination and color of stool and urine as well as situation where doctor's help may be needed.

Frequency of urination and bowel movement, color of urine and stool are all signs of health status of a baby. In this article, we present to you the normal frequency of urination and bowel movement as well as normal color of urine and stool as well as situations when you should seek doctor’s help.


Normal frequency of urination

Your baby may urinate as often as every one to three hours or as infrequently as four to six times a day.

This is because babies have a smaller bladder capacity and therefore they may urinate more frequently.

On the average, you may need to change diaper six times a day for a newborn and this may reduce to about 5 times a day before your baby turn 1-year-old.


Color of Urine

The normal color of urine is light yellow to dark yellow. Urine is color yellow due to presence of a pigment called urochrome.  If your child drinks a lot of water, the color of urine should be light yellow. The less the water she or he takes, the darker will be the color of the urine.  For some babies, the urine may appear pinkish, parent may mistake this for blood. In fact, the pinkish color is a result of highly concentrated urine. As long as this pinkish color urine does not persist for a week and there is no other sign of infection or injury, parent may not need to worry.


When to seek doctor’s help?

As long as the baby is wetting at least four diapers a day, there probably is no cause for concern. You may need to check your pediatrician if your baby does not urinate in more than 6 hours.

Urination should never be painful. If you notice any signs of distress while your baby is urinating, seek your pediatrician’s help as soon as possible as this could be a sign of urinary tract infection or some other problem in the urinary tract.

If there is a presence of actual blood in the urine or a bloody spot on the diaper, you should seek pediatrician’s help immediately.


Normal frequency of bowel movement

The frequency of bowel movements varies widely from breastfed baby to formula-fed baby.

Some breastfed babies may have only one bowel movement a week and still are normal. This happens because breastmilk are very nutritious and leaves very little solid waste to be eliminated from the child’s digestive system. Thus, infrequent stools are not a sign of constipation and should not be considered a problem as long as the stools are soft (no firmer than peanut butter), and your infant is otherwise normal, gaining weight steadily, and nursing regularly.


Formula-fed baby on the average should have at least one bowel movement a day. If she has fewer than this and appears to be fuzzy when passing the stool, she or he may be constipated. If the situation lasts for more than 1 day, you may want to check with your pediatrician for advice on how to handle this problem.


Many pass a stool soon after each feeding. This is a result of the gastrocolic reflex, which causes the digestive system to become active whenever the stomach is filled with food.


Color of stool for Breastfed baby

If your baby is breastfed, her stools soon should resemble light mustard with seedlike particles. the consistency of the stools may range from very soft to loose and runny


Color of stool for formula-fed baby

If your baby is drinking formula milk only, her or his stools usually will be tan or yellow in color. They will be firmer than in a baby who is breastfed, but no firmer than peanut butter.


Occasional variations in color and consistency of the stools are normal. For example, the color of stool may change when you change formula milk. Some formula milk may be rich in iron, this could cause the color of the stool to be dark green or dark brown.


When to seek doctor’s help?

Hard or very dry stools may be a sign of constipation. This can be a sign that your baby is not getting enough fluid or baby is losing too much fluid due to illness, fever, or heat.

If there are large amounts of blood, mucus, or water in the stool, seek your pediatrician’s help immediately. These symptoms may indicate an intestinal condition that warrants attention from a specialist.

If there is a sudden increase in frequency in bowel movement and there is unusually high liquid content in the stool, your baby may experience diarrhea.  Diarrhea may be a sign of intestinal infection, or it may be caused by a change in the baby’s diet.

If the baby is breastfed, she or he can even develop diarrhea because of a change in the mother’s diet. You should seek doctor’s help if your baby experience diarrhea, especially when it is associated with vomiting, fever, bloody stool, rash or your baby seems dehydrated.

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