15 Signs The Newborn Is Dehydrated (And 5 Ways To Prevent It Just In Case)

It's hard to tell when a newborn baby wants or doesn't want something since they are incapable of verbally telling us. All they can do is cry to indicated that they want or need something, or if something is wrong. So, it's up to their mom to be able to decipher whether or not something serious is going on.

If you're reading this, congratulations on becoming a mom! It doesn't matter if you are expecting or if you have already given birth because you are here for a reason - to learn more information. Pregnancy, while it can have its downfalls, is still the relatively easy part. It's after the baby has been welcomed into the world where the trouble may lie.

Moms need to pay attention to exactly how much milk their precious little one is taking in to ensure that they are getting enough fluids. It's also up to the baby's mom to make sure that they are not getting dehydrated. In newborns, dehydration can cause serious and sometimes even fatal consequences.

So, moms, make sure you pay good attention to your baby and how much they are eating. Get to know the signs of dehydration and find out what you can do to help prevent it.

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20 Sign: Crying Without Tears

If you were able to see tears for in your newborn baby’s eyes previous and now all of sudden he or she is crying and is not producing any tears, this can be a late sign of dehydration. According to Babycenter.com, “this may also be true when a child is vomiting or has diarrhea.”

When you think about it, tears are produced from fluids; if a newborn is dehydrated, this means that there is not enough fluid in the body.

Even as adults, when we are sick we can become dehydrated easily as well. This can come from not getting enough milk, being overheated, or even due to just being very sick.

If your baby has not been sick, the first step is to make sure that they are getting enough milk. This is easy to do with bottles because you can clearly see how much fluid your baby has been taking in. When breastfeeding, this can be a bit more difficult because there is no accurate way to measure how much a baby is drinking unless the mom decides to pump instead. With breastfed babies, a mom has to make sure that she is producing enough milk as well. In that case, it is best for a mom who is nursing to consult with a lactation specialist. The second step would be to talk to the baby’s pediatrician.

19 Sign: Not Enough Wet Diapers

A sign of dehydration in a newborn is when they are not producing enough wet diapers. I know what some moms may be thinking; if there aren’t a lot of wet diapers, then that means I am saving on diapers, which equals less money spent! While that may be the case, saving on diapers is not necessarily a good thing when it comes to a newborn.

According to Verywellfamily.com, a rule of thumb is that on day one of the newborn arriving, they should have at least one wet diaper. On day two, they should have two. On day three, they should have three, and on day four they should have four. On day five and beyond they should produce at least five soaking wet diapers or sometimes even more.

When a newborn isn’t getting enough fluids or if they are sick, they will not produce enough soaking wet diapers. The question some moms may now be asking is, “How do I know if the diaper is wet enough?” Well, according to Verywellfamily.com, if you do not have those amazing diapers that change colors to indicate how wet they are, you can try sticking a tissue on the wetness and seeing how wet the tissue gets.

Knowing your baby and how many diapers he or she usually produces will help you indicate if there are any issues later on. Happy diaper changing!

18 Sign: Eyes Are Sunken In

Paying close attention to how your baby’s eyes look normally can be very helpful if a serious issue or condition were ever to develop.

If you ever take notice to your baby’s eyes, and one day they happen to look sunken in when your baby wake-ups one morning – or during any time of the day, you may have a serious complication on your hand.

Sunken appearing eyes are one of the many signs of dehydration in a newborn baby, according to Thebump.com. A newborn’s eyes will not just look sunken for any reason; there is usually an underlying cause.

Like with many other things on this list, you may need to see if there are several symptoms before you are able to fully tell if its dehydration or not. But you can try to increase your little one’s milk supply to see if that helps at all if you suspect that your newborn is dehydrated. You want to make sure that he or she always stay properly hydrated, especially in hot weather or if they appear to be sick. Those are crucial times when they may need more fluids. If you have any questions, it is always best to consult with your baby’s pediatrician.

17 Sign: #1 Looks Darker

As adults, most of us are aware that when we do not stay hydrated enough our urine production will appear much darker, and it is sometimes accompanied with a stronger odor. But did you know the same thing can happen to newborn babies when they get dehydrated?

After you have noticed your little one’s urine output as looking rather normal, and if it starts to become darker, a very dark yellow, and concentrated, that is an early sign of dehydration, according to Parents.com.

However, dark urine once in a while isn’t always something to worry about, according to Verywellfamily.com, but once you start to notice the darker urine within the diaper more than a few times, it is time to evaluate whether or not your baby is actually getting enough fluids. Darker #1 can be an early sign of dehydration in a newborn baby.

Regardless if your baby is being bottle fed or breastfed, try increasing their milk intake until their tinkle starts to return to a lighter shade of yellow. If that doesn’t seem to be helping, then it may be time to contact your baby girl or boy’s pediatrician to see what they recommend doing. As long as your baby has no other symptoms, it may be okay to wait a day or two to see if their output lightens up.

16 Sign: Dry And Pale Looking Skin

Has your newborn baby girl or boy lost their natural skin color and just started looking paler than usual? Perhaps your baby appears to be having skin issues recently? Maybe their skin is a bit drier than it used to be? It could have happened gradually or suddenly. Paying attention to how your baby’s skin usually is can help you identify when he or she may be a bit to very dehydrated.

If you have answered yes to any of those questions, there is a very real possibility that your newborn may be dehydrated, according to Breastfeeding-problems.com.

The reason a person’s skin, including newborns, becomes dry when we are dehydrated is that our body is lacking water. When we lack water, our skin does not stay moisturized. Sometimes it may be difficult to tell if your baby’s skin is just dry for natural reasons or if it is because they are dehydrated. The skin may appear flaky and irritated and could also be very itchy, according to Dermalogica.com. Try increasing your little one’s fluid intake to see if it helps his or her skin as well as looking for other signs on this list to see if it could possibly be due to dehydration.

15 Sign: Newborn Looks Drowsy

A Kerala female 2600 gram newborn baby's photo 40minuts just after birth

Between his or her regular newborn naps, was your baby usually energetic and just giggling and smiling with his or her toothless grin? Did they appear to be wide awake every now and then and very playful? But now they seem overly tired and drowsy all the time.

You know something isn't right, but you just can't place your finger on it. If this is starting to happen to your newborn baby girl or boy, there is a chance that he or she may be dehydrated, according to Babycenter.com.

It's a well-known fact that we need water to survive and to be able to sustain our energy, along with food of course. And it is the same way for newborns.

Without enough water in our bodies we can become excessively tired, worn out, and even a bit lethargic.

This is another one of those signs that you may have to look for other accompanying symptoms as well.

If your baby is feeling overly tired and lethargic for a few days, you should really contact your baby's pediatrician right away. In the meantime, as soon as you start to notice this, you should try to increase your baby's milk intake If he or she will drink it.

14 Sign: Skin “Tenting”

There is another kind of skin problem for newborn babies – other than just dry and pale colored skin – when they become dehydrated. When you lightly pinch the skin on your hands, it should just jump back into place without any delay. If there is a delay in the skin before returning to normal, that is a sign of dehydration in newborns, as well as human beings in general.

The way to test this is called skin tenting, because when you pinch it will stay pinched, or “tented” since it resembles a tent.

In order to do this, you just have to take your thumb and pointer finger and take the skin in between your baby’s upper arm and forearm on the side and pinch it lightly while pulling a bit upwards. According to Curejoy.com, it stays briefly tented for more than two seconds; it could be a sign of moderate dehydration. However, if you lightly pinch the skin and it has prolonged tenting for more than two seconds, that can be a sign of severe dehydration.

If you get brief or prolonged tenting, try giving your baby more fluids to see if he or she will drink in order to rehydrate him or her. But you should really call your child’s pediatrician to see what they recommend doing.

13 Sign: Dry Lips, Mouth And Tongue

Even as adults, when we are dehydrated and very thirsty our mouth becomes very dry as well as our tongue and sometimes even our lips. Our mouth might feel gross and sticky – almost like we have peanut butter stuck to the roof of our mouth. Our lips may sometimes even begin to start cracking. It’s not a pleasant feeling, and newborns can become the same way. According to Whattoexpect.com, dry lips, tongue, and mouth are also all signs of dehydration in babies.

If you start to notice that your baby is producing less drool then normal, that can go hand in hand with having a dry mouth and tongue. A dry mouth usually equals less saliva since the mouth isn’t staying wet.

This would be a good indicator that you may need to start trying to give your baby more milk.

If you are a breastfeeding mom, make sure that your milk supply isn’t low. To do so, you have to pay attention to signs, according to Whattoexpect.com, such as is your baby gulping and swallowing during feedings or if he or she seems content after feedings.

You may want to contact your baby’s pediatrician if their mouth, tongue, and lips start to become dry to see what they recommend having you do.

12 Sign: Extremely Fussy

What another thing that can happen to us when he is excessively thirsty or dehydrated? We can become completely irritable or even agitated. Newborn babies can become extremely fussy when they are dehydrated as well, according to Babycenter.com.

When our body is low on fluids, we aren’t our usual selves. Have you ever been incredibly thirsty and unable to get to a drink of water for whatever reason? I know I have, and it can make you feel really sick, nauseous, and a bit miserable as well.

Now, imagine a little tiny newborn baby feeling that way. The only thing they can do is get fussy, irritable and then cry. They are incapable of getting fluids themselves, so they become these even more helpless little beings who have to wait on their mother to take care of them and notice that they really need to take in some milk. You can only imagine how that would make them feel. It’s no wonder they become fussy when they are dehydrated.

If your baby is really fussy and you cannot figure out what they really want or need, look at this list to see if they have any other signs or symptoms of being dehydrated.

11 Sign: Cold Hands And Feet

Babies can experience getting cold hand and feet just like an adult. The only difference is, according to Livingandloving.co.za, is that with babies, it can be a symptom of severe dehydration. Newborns can get dehydrated much easier than adults because their tiny bodies have a smaller water reserve. When you think about it, it makes perfect sense since they are so little that their body just doesn’t have the room for the reserve. Adults are bigger, therefore, we have a way store more water inside of our bodies.

As a mom, if you feel your baby’s hands and feet are really cold, and you cannot figure out any reason why check to see if they have any other signs of dehydration that may be on this list. You may need to call your baby’s pediatrician right away to see what they tell you to do.

Sometimes, in order to re-hydrate a newborn, they have to be taken to the emergency room at a hospital in order to receive intravenous (IV) fluids. But that usually only happens if the dehydration is severe enough or if your child is refusing to drink. While waiting to hear from your child’s pediatrician, or while you are waiting for them to tell you what to do, it might be a good idea to give your baby some milk in the meantime.

10 Sign: Upchucking And Looseness

When our children get sick, and they are throwing up, have diarrhea and maybe even an upset tummy, we already feel horrible for them. We worry about them and their safety and wonder what caused their ailment in the first place. According to Babycenter.comwhile vomiting and diarrhea don’t seem like a sign of dehydration, it technically can be because it leads to dehydration in newborns, young children, and even in adults.

So, whenever your little one isn’t keeping anything inside them, you need to make sure that you look for other signs on this list and call your pediatrician as soon as people to see what can be done if they are or were to become dehydrated. This would be a crucial time to try to get him or her to drink as much milk as possible to ensure that they stay properly hydrated. But if they are not keeping anything down, you may need to actually make an appointment or take your baby to the hospital so that doctors can re-hydrate your baby with intravenous (IV) fluids.

Even if your child did not necessarily need to see their pediatrician, it is always best to err on the side of caution to make sure your little one is safe and healthy.

9 Sign: Sunken Soft Spot

Have you ever wondered what the soft spots are on your newborn baby’s head? If so, here’s what it is – when a baby is born, their skull bones are connected with soft tissue, according to Babycenter.co.uk, and the soft spots are known as the posterior and anterior fontanelles. As your baby gets older, the soft spots will go away as the bones fuse together. This will make their skull appear completely solid.

You may be wondering what this has to do with signs of dehydration in newborns. Well, when a baby under two-months-old, and is still considered a newborn, according to Verywellfamily.com, their soft spot will appear sunken in when they are dehydrated, according to Babycenter.com.

When that happens, you should see if he or she has any other signs or symptoms of dehydration. Once you take note of this, you should contact your child’s pediatrician and let them know everything that you have noticed with your baby girl or boy and see what they recommend for you to do. They may tell you to bring your baby in for a check-up, or to skip that and go right to the hospital depending on all the signs that they are showing.

8 Sign: Excessive Sleeping

According to Babycenter.com, newborns sleep anywhere between 16 and 17 hours a day. They may sleep anywhere from two to four hours at a shot. Now for the question: Has your newborn been sleeping a lot more than he or she usually does and does your baby seem only to want to sleep lately?

If you answered yes, according to Babycenter.com, that is a sign that your child may be dehydrated. If we don’t have enough fluids in our body, as you have learned previously, we may feel burnt out and run down on energy.

It will make us drowsy, and when it gets bad enough, we will just want to sleep, sleep, and sleep some more.

This is very true, even for newborn babies.

Just the sign of a newborn sleeping longer than usual does not necessarily indicate that they are dehydrated. But if they have other signs on this list such as cold feet or hands, they have become extremely fussy, or if they have a dry mouth and tongue, then that may indicate that he or she is most likely dehydrated. If that is the case, you should really consider contacting your baby’s pediatrician for further instructions.

7 Sign: Losing The Pounds

The average newborn is anywhere between 5 pounds, 8 ounces and 8 pounds, 13 ounces, according to Kidshealth.org. Newborns typically should not be losing pounds after they are born. They should be steadily gaining it if anything. So, if you take notice that your baby is looking tinier and tinier than ever before, you should contact your baby’s pediatrician to make an appointment to find out what is going on.

There are plenty of health reasons and concerns which could cause a baby would lose the pounds such as issues with eating, spitting up or gastrointestinal issues. However, when a baby does drop in size, that can also be a sign of severe dehydration, according to Uptodate.com.

You would really have to look at this list to see if your newborn has any other signs such as a sunken in soft spot, excessive sleepiness or drowsiness, and even prolonged skin “tenting” for more than two seconds. If your baby has quite a few of the signs on this list, according to Babycenter.com, he or she may be severely dehydrated. In that case, you may have to call your child’s pediatrician as you are heading to the hospital so your baby can receive treatments in order to be rehydrated.

6 Sign: Rapid Pulse And Breathing

When your newborn baby is born, you may think that something is wrong with his or her pulse and breathing if you try to measure it and compare it to the heart rate and breathing to a healthy adult. According to Mayoclinic.org, the normal resting heart rate of an adult is 60 to 100 beats per minute. And the normal breaths per minute for an adult is 12 to 20, according to My.clevelandclinic.org.

However, those numbers are not accurate for a newborn baby.

Their normal average heart rate is 120 to 160 beats per minute, according to Stanfordchildrens.org. And their normal breaths per minute is 50 to 60, according to Babycenter.com.

A sign of severe dehydration in a newborn baby is a rapid pulse and breathing – which means that if it is higher than the numbers stated above, according to Parents.com. If your newborn has this sign plus others on this list, you might want to take your baby to the hospital and call his or her pediatrician on the way.

Since this is one of the severe signs, your baby may need intravenous (IV) fluids. But try not to worry, because as long as your baby is still responsive, they most likely will be able to treat your baby without any complications. The IV fluids are just to rehydrate your precious little baby.

5 Prevent: Keeping The Germs Away

One way to prevent dehydration in newborns to take proper measures to minimize their chances of getting a cold or the flu, according to Whattoexpect.com. While there is no way to completely protect your newborn from getting a cold, there are protective measures you can use to help decrease the chances of your child getting sick.

Things like making sure you and others wash your hands after going to the bathroom, handling food, touching garbage, handling medications, or any other thing that seems like your hands could become dirty or contaminated with germs before someone actually touches your newborn baby.

Regular and frequent cleanings with disinfecting wipes or sprays can help destroy germs.

Also, making sure no one kisses your newborn on the lips is also very important to help avoid the spread of germs and viruses because, according to Parents.com, newborns could become very ill. Plus, Parents.com also says that it could actually turn fatal with just one kiss on the lips.

The reason behind all of this is because when your baby gets a cold or the flu, he or she becomes more susceptible to getting dehydrated. This is why trying to take measures to prevent the cold and flu are very important.

4 Prevent: Identify The Signs

One preventative measure you could take to avoid dehydration from becoming worse or severe is to know and be able to identify the warning signs of dehydration in your newborn baby. Now, I know that this is technically not a “preventative” measure per say, but it does really help keep the symptoms from becoming worse, which helps keep your baby be healthier. So, I believe this is really worth adding to the list of ways to prevent dehydration.

There are some of the early warning signs that you should look out for before things get worse, according to Parents.com. You should pay attention to your babies amount of wet diapers and see if the number is slowly starting to decrease. Take note of whether or not your little one is sleeping more than usual. Try to notice when your baby seems thirsty even after he or she has just been fed. Check to see if your baby’s mouth and tongue seems dry. Take notice of if your child seems more irritable and fussy than what is normal for him or her. And see if your newborn has brief skin “tenting” that last for more than two seconds.

If your baby has any of the above signs, you should contact his or her pediatrician and start giving him or her more to milk as soon as possible.

3 Prevent: Feed On Demand

Some moms believe that their newborn baby should be put on a strict feeding schedule. Some moms do this because this is what their own mother did, or they think that they will be able to have a “normal” routine if their baby is fed on a schedule, or even because they want to try to get some extra sleep in between their newborn's feedings. But, according to Webmd.com, this is actually not the correct way to make sure that your baby is going to grow and develop properly while your baby is in the newborn stage. According to Verywellfamily.com, a newborn is anywhere for birth to about two-months-old.

If you want to prevent dehydration in your baby, you should really forget about the feeding schedule and feed on demand. Your baby will alert you, usually by crying, when they are hungry.

On average, according to Kidshealth.org, a newborn will usually drink anywhere between 1.5 - 3 ounces every two to three hours.

This means that even if your baby doesn’t wake up in the middle of the night, you should be waking him or her up for a feeding.

Between those breaks, if your newborn decides that she or he wants to eat, you should most likely feed your baby so that you are feeding on demand for those first two months of your baby’s life.

2 Prevent: Minimize The Chance Of Overheating

It is very important to keep your baby from overheating for many reasons, one of them being your baby could become dehydrated. There are more things then a mom may realize that could cause a baby to overheat like being dressed inappropriately for the weather. Bundling your baby up on a warm day is a very bad idea.

On hot days a onesie will usually suffice. Swaddling your baby too tight can actually cause a baby to overheat. Putting your newborn in a hot stifling room is enough to make them overheat and lose fluids, according to Babycenter.com, and, of course, not giving them enough fluids on a hot day can cause them to overheat and become dehydrated.

On hot days or when your baby is exposed to hot temperatures, it is a good idea to feed your baby a bit more often to ensure that they are keeping enough fluids in them. Even as adults, on hot days we sweat out some of our water which is why doctors tell us to stay hydrated, especially on hot days or when we are being physically active.

So, to avoid having your newborn becoming dehydrated, the best thing you can do is try your best to minimize the chances of your baby becoming overheated.

1 Prevent: Make Sure The Baby Is Full After Feeding

In general, to make sure that your newborn does not become dehydrated, it is always best to make sure that you are always giving your baby enough fluids to drink. For bottle-fed babies, this is a bit easier to do since you can physically see the amount of formula you are about to give your baby, as well as see how much they have actually drank. It’s best to let the newborn drink until they are full.

It gets a bit more challenging for breastfed babies because there is no real way to tell how much milk the newborn has drank since there is no marker or indicator on “the girls,” according to Breastfeeding-problems.com. So, letting a newborn breastfeed until they indicate that they are actually full might be advisable to ensure that they are getting enough milk.

Ways to tell if a newborn baby is full, according to Enfamil.com, is if they close their mouth if they turn their head away, they decrease or stops sucking altogether, they spit out the nip or start to fall asleep (or even actually falls asleep), or if they start to show an increasing interest in their surroundings and what is around them rather than their meal.

References: Babycenter.com, Babycenter.com, Verywellfamily.com, Thebump.com, Parents.com, Breastfeeding-problems.com, Dermalogica.com, Curejoy.com, Whattoexpect.com, Whattoexpect.com, Parents.com, Livingandloving.co.az, Babycenter.com, Verywellfamily.com, Babycenter.com, Uptodate.com, Kidshealth.org, Mommyintentionally.com, Babycenter.com, Stanfordchildren.org, Mayoclinic.org, My.clevelandclinic.org, Webmd.com, Parents.com, Webmd.com, Kidshealth.org, Enfamil.com

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