Your Baby's Days

Diaper changes

All that milk your baby is consuming will mean lots of diaper changes. A newborn baby wets his diapers six to eight times a day, and it'll probably take you a total of an hour a day to change his diapers. In the first few days, your baby should also pass meconium, that black sticky stuff that filled his intestines in the womb. After that his stools will be yellow with small seeds.

Within a week, these weird stools should become soft and light yellow if you nurse your baby; if you give him formula, they'll be firmer and tan in color. It's normal for a newborn to need his diaper changed every time you feed him because babies are born with a "gastrocolic reflex." As soon as they eat, their intestines are stimulated to have a bowel movement. This process should slow down after four to six weeks.

Your baby should sleep sixteen to twenty hours a day. Up to 80 percent of her zzz-time is spent in active, or REM, sleep rather than deeper, dreamless sleep because her nervous system is still immature. You may wonder why you're so tired if your baby is sleeping so many hours a day. The answer is simple: Your newborn is probably sleeping only three to five hours at a stretch, and you're not used to having your sleep interrupted. Your baby doesn't know the difference between night and day; it will take her at least a month to start sleeping more after dark than she does during daylight hours.

Originally published in You & Your Baby: Pregnancy.

All content on this Web site, including medical opinion and any other health-related information, is for informational purposes only and should not be considered to be a specific diagnosis or treatment plan for any individual situation. Use of this site and the information contained herein does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.

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