Reference ranges for absolute total neutrophils/mm3, absolute immature neutrophils/mm3, and the fraction of immature to total neutrophils (I:T proportion) during the first 28 days of life are developed from 585 peripheral blood counts obtained from 304 normal neonates and 320 counts obtained from 130 neonates with perinatal complications demonstrated to have no statistically significant effect on neutrophil dynamics. Perinatal factors other than bacterial disease which significantly alter neutrophil dynamics include maternal hypertension, maternal fever prior to delivery, hemolytic disease, and periventricular hemorrhage. The predictive value of these reference ranges in identifying bacterial disease in the first week of age varies with the neutrophil factor evaluated and the clinical setting. Neutropenia in the presence of respiratory distress in the first 72 hours had an 84% likelihood of signifying bacterial disease, whereas neutropenia in the presence of asphyxia had a 68% likelihood of signifying bacterial disease. An abnormal I:T proportion had an accuracy of 82% and 61%, respectively, in the same clinical settings. Elevations of either immature or total neutrophils were less specific. Interpretation of abnormal neutrophil factors must include consideration of both infectious and noninfectious perinatal events.