Babies poop smells like vinegar! Is everything alright down there?
Keeping tabs on what is in your baby’s diapers should be a religious exercise.
It is the only way you can tell whether your baby’s digestive system is healthy or requires immediate medical attention.
It might come as a shock for new parents with no prior experience and even as a concern when the baby’s poop smells.
Should this be happening? What could be the cause?
The truth of the matter is that babies poop smells, or worse, stinks sometimes.
However, this will depend on several factors. Sometimes it could be a medical concern and other times just a typical day in the baby diaper department.
Think of this as your guide to a baby’s poop.
The Baby’s First Poop
Most babies born after the full term usually pass their first poop within 48 hours after birth.
The stool, also referred to as meconium stool, contains items that the baby consumes before birth.
The stool includes a mixture of bile, amniotic fluid, and discharges from the intestinal glands.
Meconium stool is usually sticky and has a greenish-blackish tar color.
It lasts for hours, and within a few days, you can expect to see the real poop.
Baby’s Poop Color and Texture
One thing to be sure of is your baby’s poop will not be like an adult’s poop, whether it is the texture or the color.
After the meconium stool phase is over, pay close attention to the poop color.
Breastfeeding baby’s poop has a mustard-like color with a seedy texture or look.
If you are bottle-feeding, you will see a greenish color with a toothpaste-like consistency.
If the poop’s color is not within the range of yellow, brown, or green, you should contact the pediatrician.
Black tarry or red colors could indicate gastrointestinal bleeding, while white indicates nutrient malabsorption or liver problems.
Although it is rare, sometimes the baby’s poop might have blood.
This could be an indication of an infection.
You can confirm this by checking your baby’s temperature level, which should be feverish if there is an infection.
You might also see some vomiting and discomfort or change in behavior.
You should seek immediate medical attention for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Related article: Potty Training Power Struggle! 5 Do’s & Don’ts
Babies Poop Smells Like Vinegar
What if your baby’s poop smells like vinegar?
The smell of a baby’s poop is a clear indication of what you feed the baby.
A breastfeeding baby’s poop mostly has no smell, and if any, it will probably have a sweet scent.
Bottle-fed baby’s poop might have some stinking smell, but not much of it that fills the room.
You will start experiencing stinking poop when you start feeding the baby with solid foods.
The poop will also solidify more.
But that does not mean you should expect a vinegar-like smell, which borders on acidic or sour.
If the baby’s pool smells like vinegar, it could indicate a digestive illness, like an infection or a cold.
It could also be an indication that they are not digesting the food properly.
Why Babies Poop Smells Like Vinegar
If the baby’s poop has that sour or acidic scent, it could be a result of
- Lactose intolerance – when a baby is sensitive to milk and other dairy products, they might experience some bloating, gas, diarrhea, and the acidic smell in the poop.
- Malabsorption – this happens when the nutrients from the food the baby consumes are not absorbed well in the digestive tract—the causes for this include infection, parasites, and some disorders.
- Sensitivity to some foods – especially foods that the baby’s system is not able to digest well. Such foods include eggs, soy, nuts, among others.
- Teething might also cause the poop to have an acidic smell; although there is no scientific research backing this claim, some parents have experience with this.
When babies poop smells like vinegar, it is essential to watch for other signs like fever or diarrhea.
It could signify that the baby’s digestive system did not digest the food well or absorb the nutrients properly.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Many Days Does A Baby Pass Meconium?
Whether bottle-fed or breastfed, newborns will pass meconium in the first few days after birth.
When your little one is 3 to 5 days old, transitional stools, usually lighter and runnier, should begin to appear.
If your baby still passes meconium stool after the fifth day, it’s important to seek healthcare advice.
A delay in the transition from the sticky greenish-blackish tar stool color to the normal green-yellow or brown could signal that the baby is not feeding enough or other signs.
How often Do Breast-Fed Babies Poop?
Breastfed babies have frequent bowel movements. Expect your breastfed toddler to poop after almost every feeding.
For the first 6 weeks, your baby should at least have 3 bowel movements per day. Some babies even poop even 12 times a day.
After a few weeks, the frequency will lessen to 3-4 days.
If your breastfed newborn has less than 3 bowel movements a day, it could be that they aren’t having enough milk.
There should be no need for alarm if your 6 weeks old baby doesn’t poop for a whole day. Babies over 6 weeks old have fewer bowel movements.
What Causes Smelly Gas In Newborns?
Passing gas is typical and part of the digestive system. However, too much farting by infants is usually a symptom that something else is going on.
Feeding too fast, swallowing too much air, and food sensitivity to some formula are the leading causes of smelly gas in newborns.
Babies have an immature digestive system in a short supply of bacteria to help with digestion. Crying makes infants swallow a lot of air.
All that air has to get out somehow. Pains from the gas can make a baby fussy, but it’s not harmful.
Burp your baby frequently after every feed to clear out the extra air.
How Can I Tell If Baby Is Lactose Intolerant?
Babies with milk intolerance have a problem digesting lactose which sequentially builds up attracting water that is passed out as severe infectious diarrhoea.
If a baby has swelling in the tummy, cries while passing gas or stool, red bottom with skin worn away in places or stomach pains, it could signal they are lactose intolerant.
Failure to gain weight is another sign that a baby is lactose intolerant.
If your baby has these signs, talk to a healthcare provider or your child’s pediatrician to rule out if it’s a milk allergy or indeed a lactose intolerance.
When Do Babies Poop Start To Smell?
For the first few days, baby poop has a very little stench.
As their digestive system becomes populated with bacteria, the stool starts to get smelly.
Breastfed babies usually don’t have very smelly poop, whereas bottle-fed infants have a slightly pungent smell. Baby poop becomes stinkier when they start feeding solid foods.
Does A Baby’s Poop Change When Teething?
Teething doesn’t cause diarrhoea or stinky stool. Teething usually starts around 4 to 8 months, when the baby’s body is undergoing a lot of changes.
Immunities infants receive from their mother, through the placenta, starts to fade off.
It’s more likely they will pick up an infection that may cause diarrhoea. Also, this is the time when most babies start feeding on solid foods.
It may take some time for their undeveloped digestive system to get used to the new foods. This may cause a change in baby poop.
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