Baby’s Urine Smell – Causes And Treatment

5 min read

Baby's Urine Smell

Yes, urine smells, but have you noticed how there is hardly any smell in a baby’s urine? You can’ t really make out they have wet themselves unless you notice a full diaper or wet underwear. This is because they are on an exclusive milk diet and not ingesting other foods.

On the other hand, does your baby’s urine have a strong odor? Should you be concerned? Read this to know all about it before you start worrying.

In This Article

What are the Causes of Smelly Urine in Babies?

The body digests and processes all the foods your baby ingests. The kidneys filter it all and send out the wastes and extra water content as urine. This is bound to smell depending on the food you eat. When it comes to babies, the reasons for their urine to smell strong could be:

1. Urinary Tract Infection

If your baby is passing foul-smelling urine, and also has a fever, it could be a strong indication of an underlying UTI.

2. Insufficient Water

If your baby is not drinking enough water and other liquids, it can strain the kidneys to function properly. Dehydration can result in a deep yellow urine along with a strong odor.

3. Feeding Habits

If the baby is exclusively breast-fed, then what the mother eats can influence the smell of the baby’s urine. Many vegetables and pungent herbs, when eaten by the mother, can cause the baby’s urine to have a strong smell.

4. Diaper

Diapers use different chemicals to help with absorption. Your baby’s urine can react with these chemicals and emanate a strong smell.

5. Lactose Intolerance

If your baby is unable to digest all that milk due to intolerance towards the lactose content in the milk, it can cause the urine to smell. This is usually accompanied by a bloated stomach or crying out of discomfort or indigestion.

6. Eating Habits

If your baby has been introduced to solid foods, then what they are eating can influence the smell of their urine. Asparagus can cause a strong smell in the urine – for both babies and adults.

Why Does a Baby’s Urine Smell Like Ammonia?

Urine tends to have high ammonia content if the baby is dehydrated or is passing urine after a long gap – first urine in the morning after waking up. There is no need to worry here unless the urine tends to have a strong ammonia smell all the time. However, if it continues and the baby seems to be in distress every time they pass urine, you must consult your doctor immediately.

Why Does a Baby’s Urine Smell Like Vinegar?

Is your baby sick? Do they have a cold or are they suffering from reflux? These can cause the urine to carry a vinegar smell. The smell can also indicate your baby might catch a cold. The smell is the result of those viruses in the body.

Why Does a Baby’s Urine Smell Like Poop?

mom Changing Babys smelly Diaper

Now, if they pass stool and it smells, it’s understandable, but urine smelling like poop? Definitely a cause for concern! Such a strong odor in their urine is a strong indication of a UTI. If you have been wiping their bum from back to front after a poop session or during a diaper change, bacteria from the anus could have entered the urinary tract. This can result in an infection causing urine to smell like poop and pain or discomfort for the baby while peeing.

[Read : Why Is My Baby’s Poop Green?]

Does Sweet Smelling Urine Indicate Diabetes?

When the baby has high sugar content in their blood, the urine can smell sweet. This is caused by an accumulation of Ketones and sugar in the body can cause the urine to smell strong. Juvenile diabetes is not an uncommon occurrence anymore. In fact, doctors check the baby’s blood soon after birth to rule out juvenile diabetes.

However, if you notice your baby’s urine to carry a sweet smell despite being tested negative for diabetes, it is always better to get it confirmed by a doctor. High sugar content in the blood, if left unchecked, can cause serious damage to the organs, and also have a severe impact on the overall health of the baby.

What Does Smelly Urine Indicate?

Ok. So your baby’s urine smells different than it usually does and you are understandably concerned. What can such a strong odor in your baby’s urine indicate after all?

Strong odor in the urine can be a symptom of:

  1. Urinary tract infection
  2. Dehydration
  3. Intestinal bacteria that might have entered the urinary tract
  4. Juvenile diabetics or high sugar content in the urine can cause it to smell differently
  5. Rare metabolic disorder (not a common occurrence)
  6. Highly concentrated urine – first urine in the morning
  7. Lactose Intolerance

Is Smelly Urine a Sign of Teething?

There is no scientific backing for this claim by a few parents over the generations. Teething is usually expected to cause indigestion and loose stools as the baby might nibble on non-eatables or may not chew the food properly due to the pain and discomfort. If the food is not digested properly, it might cause the urine to smell different.

[Read : Stages of Teething in Babies]

When to Consult a Doctor?

mom baby with doctor

When you feel something is off with your infant’s body, it is advisable to consult a doctor rather than panicking or self-diagnosing.

Some of the instances that require immediate medical attention are:

  • Your baby’s urine smells very strong and has a very deep color – for more than one urine.
  • Your baby is not drinking enough liquids and expresses discomfort while peeing and pooping.
  • Baby cries every time they pass urine.
  • You see spots or a little bit of blood mixed with the urine.
  • The urine smells sweet.
  • You see a lot of ants rushing to the soiled diaper or wet underpants (high sugar content in the urine can attract a lot of ants).
  • If the urine later in the day is also highly concentrated and smells strongly of ammonia.
  • If you notice some stool being passed along with the urine from the urinary tract.
  • Discolored urine – any shade apart from pale yellow.

Always pay attention to your baby’s soiled diaper or underpants. They can tell you a lot about your baby’s health. When you feel something is not right, do consult a doctor right away before the issue can get serious. Most times it may not be something to worry about, but it is always better to rule out any possibilities.

[Read : Breastfed Baby Poop]


1. Does Urine Smell Strong if Something is Wrong in the Body?

The kidneys are working all the time to help the body absorb essential nutrients and discard all that is not needed. If this urine smells strong, it is a strong indication that you need to check for the cause.

2. How to Handle Dehydration in Baby?

Try increasing your baby’s water intake. In the case of very young babies who are on an exclusive milk diet, increase their milk intake. Increasing the liquid content in their bodies can resolve the issue in no time.

3. How Will a Doctor Diagnose a UTI?

A doctor will prescribe some tests to be done on the baby’s urine to determine the actual cause for the smell and change in color.

Read Also: Black Poop in Babies – Causes and Intervention

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