How many diaper changes should my newborn get per day? Newborn Care

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mom changing baby's diaper
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When it comes to what's "normal" or "average" for a newborn, there are always going to be variables. But every new mom wants to know how frequently she should be whisking her baby off to the changing table. Here are pediatricians' and moms' best tips on dirty diaper protocol.

Change With Each Feeding

"In the first few days of life, a newborn should have the same number of wet diapers as they are days old. For example, a brand-new baby should have at least one wet diaper in the first 24 hours, a 2-day-old should have two wet diapers, a 3-day-old should have three wet diapers, and a 4-day-old should have at least four wet diapers per day. After four days of life, newborns often have five, six, or more wet diapers per day. Their bladders are small and don't hold very much urine at a time,...

"In the first few days of life, a newborn should have the same number of wet diapers as they are days old. For example, a brand-new baby should have at least one wet diaper in the first 24 hours, a 2-day-old should have two wet diapers, a 3-day-old should have three wet diapers, and a 4-day-old should have at least four wet diapers per day. After four days of life, newborns often have five, six, or more wet diapers per day. Their bladders are small and don't hold very much urine at a time, so the bladder empties often.

"A newborn should have at least one stool per day for the first several days of life. After this time, there is a wide range of normal stooling patterns. Some babies stool one to two times per day, but many newborns can stool with every feeding, up to eight to 10 times per day. It is common for babies to stool during a feeding because of the gastrocolic reflex. When the stomach gets filled with food, it triggers the colon to expel stool to make room for the new food coming in. Normally, I recommend changing the diaper around each feeding." -- Dori Anchin, MD, pediatrician at Maria Fareri Children's Hospital, a member of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth), Valhalla, NY 

Keep the Diaper Dry & Clean

"Infants urinate 15 to 20 times daily, but each time doesn't soak the diaper. Check at least after each feeding, and aim to keep the diaper area dry and clean." -- Hannah Chow, MD, FAAP, pediatrician and codirector of the Loyola Center for Health at North Riverside, IL

Roughly 6 to 10 Times a Day

"In my experience, there is no correct number of diaper changes for a newborn. Change them when they poop. Change them when they have a lot of pee. More likely than not, it will be poop, and you'll have six to 10 changes a day. Change the diaper as soon as you notice poop to keep diaper rash at bay."

You Don't Have to Change Every Wet Diaper

"I think the average number of diapers a day is around 10. Newborns poop lots, and you don't want to have your baby's cute little tushy sitting in that. But for pee diapers, you don't have to change the baby every time they go. If you did, you would probably go through like 30 diapers a day!"

Every Two Hours or So

"I changed my newborn every two hours or so. My baby was feeding every two hours, so it was easy to make that a routine: change diaper, then feed baby. No one wants to deal with diaper rash on an infant, so it's best to just change them often." 

It Seems Constant

"All the time. My baby pooped allllll the time. But I also followed my lactation consultant's advice and changed her diapers before every feeding. I could never keep that diaper from having a blue line [indicating she was wet]." 

The advice on CafeMom aims to educate, inform, and provide a range of solutions to the issues moms care about. It is not a substitute for consultation with a medical professional or treatment for a specific condition. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem without consulting a qualified professional. Please contact your health-care provider with questions and concerns.