Sometimes, a baby’s pee smells bad or has a strong smell. This is more common in the morning but can happen at any time. Why is this? Let’s go through a few different reasons and what to do about it.
My 9-month-old baby’s pee smells bad, especially the nappy I change in the morning.
She pees frequently and drinks 19 oz of milk a day and has water at every mealtime. Her pee is not dark in color, and she doesn’t seem to be in any discomfort, but I am concerned with this sudden change in smell.
Reasons Why a Baby’s Pee Smells Bad
It is good that you pay attention even though your baby doesn’t seem to be ill since sometimes a baby’s pee can smell strong because they have a Urinary Tract Infection. However, in such cases, it is usually accompanied by fever and a lot of crying.
Here are some possible reasons for smelly pee in babies:
Your baby’s pee smell may be completely normal and just smelling a bit more now than when she was younger. A lot of what you write points in that direction – she is drinking enough fluids, she is otherwise healthy, and her urine is pale. So chances are that this is simply the way her pee smells right now.
The fact that the first diaper in the morning is the most smelly one is completely normal. The diaper hasn’t been changed for several hours and can certainly begin to smell even if the baby is completely healthy.
2. Something she or you ate
I don’t know if you breastfeed, but if you do, diet changes can affect the smell of your baby’s urine. I have read reports that breastfeeding moms that take antibiotics or that eat lots of asparagus or garlic sometimes notice changes in their babies’ urine.
Similarly, if you have introduced new foods to your baby recently, this could certainly affect the smell of her urine.
3. A Urinary Tract Infection
As mentioned above, smelly urine can signify a urinary tract infection (UTI). In most cases, this would not be the only symptom. An unexplained fever is actually a more common symptom. (Read more about signs of urinary tract infections in babies here.)
A Canadian research study actually examined the correlation between smelly urine and UTIs and found UTIs among 57% of the babies whose parents reported smelly urine. So, this can certainly indicate a urinary tract infection, but it is not a certain sign at all.
It should be noted that urinary tract infections are much more common among girls than boys, so it would be wise to rule this out for your daughter.
4. Too little fluid
I don’t think this is relevant to your situation, but a strong smell of a baby’s urine can also be a sign that they are getting too little fluids. This could, for example, happen in hot weather or if the baby has been sick. In such a case, the urine would also become darker.
What to do?
If this smell is still bothering you, I would go to the Dr and get it checked out to rule out a UTI and try to narrow down what is causing the smell. Write down what your baby eats and drinks for a day or two before you go – and, of course, what you eat and drink if you breastfeed.
If your baby doesn’t have any other symptoms, she is probably just eating something that’s making it smell bad.
Your baby seems to be getting enough fluids, so I would try giving your baby a little bit of cranberry juice for babies.
I hope this helps,
More About Baby Urination
- Baby Didn’t Urinate For 6 Hours
- How Often Should A Baby Pee? Your Baby Urine Frequency Guide!
- Does Baby Pee Too Often?
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Paula Dennholt founded Easy Baby Life in 2006 and has been a passionate parenting and pregnancy writer since then. Her parenting approach and writing are based on studies in cognitive-behavioral models and therapy for children and her experience as a mother and stepmother. Life as a parent has convinced her of how crucial it is to put relationships before rules. She strongly believes in positive parenting and a science-based approach.
Paula cooperates with a team of pediatricians who assist in reviewing and writing articles.