Brick Dust - Urine Crystals in Baby's Diaper

By Danelle Day © 2008
Updated 2016

While they can appear alarming to first time parents, urine crystals - sometimes called 'brick dust' 'brick powder' or 'pink diaper syndrome' - are normal and common among newborn babies. These crystals typically appear as a reddish powder in the diapers, and often are mistaken for blood in the urine.

Brick dust can also appear to be orange, pink, brown, yellow, or any variation of these shades, and are especially common among breastfeeding babies receiving the immuno-packed power of colostrum in the early days.

Because newborn babies are only able to digest a very small amount at a time (due to the size of the newborn stomach), urine crystals are thought to form easily during this time from the concentrated colostrum consumed (with little other liquid in the mix until mom's milk comes in). This is normal and healthy for baby, but the low volume of colostrum will not typically produce otherwise common fluid, clear urine.

Once mom's milk has come in, urine should begin to appear clear, and without crystals. They will go away at this time - almost always by the second week of life. If brick dust still appears after your baby is 1 week old, or re-appears later in babyhood, it may mean your little one is dehydrated. To remedy this, increase nursing (if breastfeeding), or increase your baby's formula intake. Do not "water down" formula or add it to pumped milk. This is very dangerous as it throws off the electrolyte balance of baby's blood stream, and young babies have died from this form of "water poisoning." Increase nursing or formula (mixed per the instructions).

By the time your baby is 1 week old, s/he should urinate at least 6 times per day. Knowing how many times your little one pees may be difficult to identify with today's disposable diapers, but in general, you should need to change wet diapers around the clock.

If baby continues to have brick dust even after a baby's intake has increased, it may mean that there is a latch/suck issue. For breastfeeding babies, meeting with a skilled IBCLC who can weigh baby before and after nursing will tell a mother how much her baby is consuming, and whether s/he is getting all that is needed. Formula feeding parents should re-check the instructions to ensure they are feeding accordingly, and on cue around the clock, while contacting their pediatrician.

Two items that may appear as brick dust but are not include a small amount of vaginal bleeding among baby girls. This can occur because of hormone shifts between mother and baby around the time of birth, and is normal. A second thing that is sometimes mistaken for brick dust are small amounts of blood among boys who were cut (circumcised) at birth. The latter occurrence is not normal, and because a newborn baby only needs to lose 1 ounce to hemorrhage, and 2.3 ounces to die as a result of blood loss, if your son is not intact, it is important to pay close attention to his diapers following circumcision surgery.

Newborn Stomach Size
This chart highlights the reasons that babies need to eat so frequently in the first months of life, and also why a very small amount of colostrum is the perfect quantity for a baby in his/her first days of life. Brick dust is a normal occurrence as a result of this frequent consumption of very small amounts in the first 3-5 days of life. 


Konar H. DC Dutta's Textbook of Obstetrics. JP Medical Ltd; 2014 Apr 30.

Lauwers, J. and Swisher, A. Counseling the Nursing Mother: A Lactation Consultant’s Guide, Sixth Edition. 2016.

Lawrence, Ruth A., MD, and Lawrence, Robert M., MD. Breastfeeding: A Guide For The Medical Profession Eighth Edition. Elsevier Health Sciences. 2015.

Nommsen-Rivers LA, Heinig MJ, Cohen RJ, and Dewey KG. Newborn wet and soiled diaper counts and timing of onset of lactation as indicators of breastfeeding inadequacy. Journal of Human Lactation. 2008 Feb;24(1):27-33.

Riordan, J. and Wambach, K. Breastfeeding and Human Lactation Fourth Edition. Jones and Bartlett Learning. 2014.

What is colostrum? How does it benefit my baby? La Leche League International:

Related Reading

Breastfeeding Made Simple: Seven Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers

Intact Care Resources

Your Baby's Signs of Hunger (or thirst)!

Seven Breastfeeding Facts You Should Know

Cloth Diapering After Circumcision

If you nurse your baby...

Breastfeeding Myths

Should I circumcise? The pros and cons

Intact: Healthy, Happy, Whole Group

Saving Our Sons Group

Breastfeeding Group

Peaceful Parenting Group

Newborn babies should be nursed whenever they show first signs of hunger (or thirst), such as increased alertness or activity, mouthing, fist sucking, or rooting. Crying is a late indicator of extreme hunger. Babies should be nursed on cue, or approximately 8 to 12 times every 24 hours until full. This same feeding-on-cue guideline applies to formula fed babies. 

The best teachers...

The best teachers have teeth marks on their tongues.
-Alfie Kohn

Don't sweat the small stuff. Alfie Kohn is the author of these helpful books, among others:

Unconditional Parenting: Moving from Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason: 

Beyond Discipline: From Compliance to Community: 

Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A's, Praise, and Other Bribes: 

The Myth of the Spoiled Child: Coddled Kids, Helicopter Parents, and Other Phony Crises: 

The Homework Myth: Why Our Kids Get Too Much of a Bad Thing: 

BabySaving Moms!

Are you a BabySaving Mom? Have a special BabySaver in your life? We're honoring and celebrating all the BABYSAVING MOMS this week with a tip of the hat - we see you! We see the fruit of your work! We see the powerful, positive tidal wave of change that comes forth from the #i2 ripples you start. THANK YOU for being a part of Saving Our Sons ~ for speaking up with compassion, and saving babies

To be added, drop a photo to Saving Our Sons on Facebook, email or post/tag at SOS.

You are a HERO in this work! 

* Happy Mother's Day! * 

We will draw three moms via from among submissions to win a $10 gift card good toward any SOS educational and awareness raising materials at Etsy.

2018 BabySaving Moms

❤ Anu

❤ Elana

❤ Missy

❤ Michelle

❤ Brittany

❤ Amanda

❤ Brandi

❤ Kristi

❤ Danelle

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New to this topic? Learn more about the functions of the foreskin (an organ all mammals on earth are born having), and the benefits of keeping all babies intact: Should I Circumcise? The Pros and Cons


MamAmor Birthing, Breastfeeding, Babywearing Dolls on Ellen!

The fantastic MamAmor birthing, breastfeeding, babywearing dolls will be on Ellen DeGeneres' show May 10, 2018, for a special Mother's Day episode! 💜 We're excited for this exposure for Adriana's beautiful creations, as they spark joy in every family's home who brings one in.

Ellen Show details:

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MamAmor Dolls have been normalizing birth and breastfeeding since 2007!

The most censored breastfeeding photo on Facebook

One of the most censored photos on Facebook displays a woman nursing her young baby. Titled "Holy Virgin" this photograph was taken by renowned Czech photographer, Sara Saudková, in 2003. This photo, along with many others Saudková shot in more recent years as part of an artistic protest against Facebook's removal of breastfeeding mother's photos, are rarely available for more than a day.

Breastfeeding: Anytime, Anywhere

Anytime. Anywhere.
You can stare, I don't care.
I'll feed my hungry child, here or there,
if you don't like my boob, I still don't care.
A Restaurant? A store? It's boob juice galore!
A theater? A museum?
But you're more focused on trying to see them!
Bottle or boob - it's all just food.
You still think I should cover?
You should run and tell your mother.
Pull out your phone and take a picture?
But I'm the one who's the problem?
Don't you wish we could all mind our business?
That would sure solve them!
Think I am disgusting? I could say the same?
Think I am playing an attention-seeking game?
You are wrong, because you see, really I am only worried about the comfort of my baby and me!

-Sincerely Whitney, the badass breastfeeder and her badass son, fueled by purely boob juice.

originally shared on Facebook here

The Breastfeeding Group

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