Is It Normal If Baby Pee Smells Strong?

Raising an infant is never easy, as it is always difficult to decide whether a symptom will go away on its own or requires medical attention. Many new moms ask about what they should do if baby pee smells bad. Urine will always have a distinct smell, but sometimes, you notice a particular foul odor. If that is the case, you may want to talk to your child's doctor.

Is It Normal If Baby Pee Smells Strong?

If your baby's urine smells strong, it does not always mean that there is an infection. However, it is a good idea to talk to a pediatrician because a particularly foul-smelling pee may not be normal. There can be some underlying health problems, including a urinary tract infection (UTI). It is even more important to seek medical help if your baby also has a fever. You may consider bringing a soiled diaper to the doctor's office for further evaluation.

UTI Is a Possibility

When your baby pee smells strong, there will always be a risk of a urinary tract infection. About 1-2% of boys and 8% of girls experience an episode of UTI before they are 5 years old. The urinary tract is made up of the bladder, kidneys, urethra, and ureters. Bacteria can enter the urinary tract and cause an infection, which may result in foul-smelling urine, fever, and other symptoms. There are bacteria on the skin around the anus, and they can easily enter the urinary tract to cause an infection.

Signs to Watch Out For

If your baby has a urinary tract infection, there will be many other symptoms along with bad-smelling urine. Some of the most common symptoms include irritability, vomiting, fever, lethargy, jaundice, not feeding well, blood in urine, and not gaining weight properly.

If your child is older, they may have to wee a lot, which can be painful. This often discourages them to empty the bladder, which may result in a tummy ache. It is actually a bit difficult to detect a UTI in infants and young children because the symptoms are not that specific. A fever is usually present in all the cases, and your child's urine is likely to have a foul smell as well.

Risk Factors

UTIs are more likely to affect young girls as compared to young boys because the urethra is shorter in females – it is also closer to the anus, making it easier for bacteria to enter the urinary tract. Uncircumcised boys (under the age of 1) are at an increased risk of developing a urinary tract infection. The use of bubble baths, an abnormal urinary tract, and a family history of UTIs are other risk factors.

How Can It Be Treated and Prevented?

If your baby pee smells strong and UTI is the cause, your baby will have to take antibiotics. It will actually be a course of antibiotics, usually lasting three days. The infection usually clears up in a couple of days, but it is important to complete the course even if the symptoms are no longer there. Your baby will have to take antibiotics for 7-10 days in case the infection is in the kidneys.

Be sure to take your baby to your doctor in case the symptoms become worse or you notice any new symptoms, which could indicate sepsis, a condition in which the body attacks its own organs and tissues. In some cases, you need to hospitalize your baby, especially if he/she is very weak or under three months old.

In order to prevent UTI, you can take certain steps. For instance:

  • Always wipe your baby's bottom moving from front to back and not the other way round.
  • Be sure to change their nappy immediately after they have done a poo.
  • Ensure that your baby gets enough fluids every day – this helps flush bacteria out of the body.
  • Teach your potty-trained child to move from front to back when wiping his/her bottom.

More Things about Baby's Pee

It is certainly a good idea to see a pediatrician when baby pee smells strong, but there are other things to know about your baby's pee. For instance:

1. Pinkish or Reddish Urine

If you notice slightly darker urine but without any other symptoms, you do not usually need to worry. Ensure that your baby is eating normally and is in a good mood. The change in color could be due to hot weather, which makes your baby to perspire more. However, you may want to talk to a pediatrician if your baby's urine is pinkish, as it could indicate blood, which requires further evaluation.

2. Decrease in Frequency or Amount of Urine

In hot weather, it is natural for everyone to pee less because you have already lost enough water through perspiration. The same holds true for your little one. In most cases, there is nothing serious if your baby pees every 3-4 hours. You should seek medical attention if your baby does not urinate for more than half a day. This could be due to dehydration.

3. Pus in the Urine

While it is not that common, it is possible to see pus in your baby's diapers. Baby boys can have pus due to balanoposthitis. You may notice that the tip of your baby's penis is swollen. In this situation, it can be quite painful to pee. Seek medical attention if there is pus in your baby's diapers and he cries loudly when peeing.

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