Newborns may seem like they eat a lot, but in reality, they have really tiny tummies, which is why the need to be fed often. If a newborn is being nursed, they should be fed roughly 8 to 12 times a day for the first four weeks of their life. After that, it is reduced to about 7 to 9 times a day. When a baby is bottle-fed, they should be eating about every 2 to 3 hours.
It can sometimes be hard to tell if newborns are getting enough to eat, and the baby’s weight isn’t always the best indicator to go by. That is why it is essential to look for signs of dehydration in newborns. Some signs are very obvious, while others are a bit more subtle. Please continue reading to learn 10 signs the newborn is dehydrated.
10 Dry Mouth, Lips & Tongue
When a newborn is dehydrated, their mouth, lips, and tongue may become very dry. Sometimes, their lips may even start to crack from being so dry. If you notice this starting to happen to your child, make sure to prove them with milk, whether it’s formula or breastmilk.
The dry and cracked lips can oftentimes feel uncomfortable, which can make your little one fussy. You can use baby-safe chapstick or lip balm to help relieve the pain after a feeding to help make the baby feel more comfortable.
9 Crying Without Tears
Newborns aren’t able to produce tears when they are born. The tears generally start to form when the baby is about 2-weeks-old. However, once your baby is old enough to produce tears, and you start to notice that they are crying, but the tears just aren’t forming, it could be a sign that the newborn is dehydrated.
When there is not enough water in their tiny bodies, tears are not able to be produced. It is always a good idea to pay close attention to your little one so that you are aware when something is not right.
8 Less Frequent Wet Diapers
When babies are first born, it can sometimes take 12 to 24 hours for them to tinkle for the first time. But after a newborn is at least 6-days-old, they should be having anywhere from 6 to 8 wet diapers in a 24 hour period.
If you start to notice a drastic decrease in the number of wet diapers that your baby is producing, that is a sign that your child may be dehydrated. If you notice this starting to happen, be sure to start feeding your baby immediately and more frequently.
7 Feet & Hands Feel Cool
If the temperature in your house is within a good range, and it is not too cold yet, if your newborns’ feet and hands are cool or cold to the touch, that is a potential sign that your little one is dehydrated and not getting enough fluids.
Plus, in addition to that, your baby may look a bit pale. If your baby’s skin isn’t their normal color, it may be a good idea to contact your child’s pediatrician to confirm that your baby is dehydrated.
6 Sleeping Much More Than Normal
Even as adults, when we are dehydrated and don’t have enough fluids in our body, we can become tired, lethargic, restless, and even, at times, pretty cranky. Newborns are the same way.
When they lack the proper fluids in their body, they may want to sleep more than they usually do. They can often come across as being fussy and irritable. This sign can sometimes be hard to tell that it’s related to dehydration, so it is important to look for other signs on this list as well.
5 Urine Looks Darker Than Normal
When we are dehydrated, our tinkle tends to be a darker shade of yellow. If you are changing your little one’s diaper, and you happen to notice that your baby’s tinkle is darker than usual, that is a sign that your baby needs to drink either more formula or breastmilk because he or she may be dehydrated.
Look for other signs along with a darker urine output to confirm that your child is dehydrated. On top of the darker tinkler, there may be a stronger urine smell than normal.
4 Sunken Soft Spot
All newborns have soft spots on their heads. They are medically known as fontanelles. There is one on the back on the head that often tends to be shaped like a triangle. They are flexible to help the baby get through the birth canal.
When a newborn is dehydrated, the soft spots tend to look like they are sunken in a bit. If you notice this on your little one, you should try to get your newborn rehydrated. You can consult with your child’s pediatrician to find the best ways to help with your child’s dehydration.
3 Fussier Than Usual
There are many different reasons a child could be fussy, but one reason for fussiness could be that your child is dehydrated. If you cannot find any other reason that your baby is a bit crabby, try nursing or feeding your little one.
Along with fussiness, if your child is dehydrated, he or she may also be very tired and irritable. You cannot go just by this sign alone since babies often get cranky, so look to other signs on this list to see if dehydration could be the cause.
2 Dry And Cracked Skin
The human body is made up of a lot of water, believe it or not. Newborns' tiny bodies are actually made up of 78 percent water when they are born. The water in our bodies helps keep our skin hydrated.
If your baby gets dehydrated for whatever reason, their skin may become very dry, and sometimes it may even crack, making the baby feel very uncomfortable. You can apply baby-safe lotion to your child’s body to help relieve the dry, chapped skin, but you should also make sure to give your baby plenty of fluids.
1 Eyes Appear Sunken In
Soft spots are not the only thing that may appear to look sunken when a newborn is dehydrated. In severe cases, the baby’s eyes may also look like they are sunken in. At times, it may be best to call the baby’s pediatrician to see what they recommend to get the newborn adequately rehydrated.
Sometimes just giving the baby a bottle or nursing them isn’t enough and to rehydrate them. The baby may need intravenous (IV) fluids to get better.