Poop Changes When Transitioning to Whole Milk

Transitioning babies are unique. Some babies have only 1 or 2 poops a day; some have more.

Often, when babies are exclusively breastfed, they have an explosive poop during the first few days of their life.

Then, as their baby’s systems adjust to digesting breast milk, the stool becomes lighter. 

However, not every partially or exclusively breastfed baby has explosive poops. So, what poop changes when transitioning to whole milk should be expected?

If you haven’t already switched from formula to whole milk, you may be curious about this topic.

Let’s talk about the changes in poop when transitioning to whole milk.

Poop Changes When Transitioning to Whole Milk

According to pediatricians, kids should be drinking whole milk from the time they turn 1 until they turn 2.

They say that whole milk is essential for building strong bones and for helping children gain weight.

They also state that if you give kids skim milk before they’re old enough, it could make them underweight by their teenage years.

The main difference between whole milk and reduced-fat milk is that whole milk has more saturated fat than other types of milk.

Saturated fat can raise your cholesterol levels, but it’s all a matter of moderation, like many things in life.

It’s okay to consume it as long as your doctor isn’t telling you to avoid it.

Whole milk is full of vitamins A and D—two key nutrients that are beneficial to infants and toddlers, who have rapidly growing bodies.

When switching your baby to whole milk, the first thing you will notice is that their poop will change.

This is because whole milk has lactose, which is a type of sugar.

This means the poop will be darker, smellier, and harder than when they drink formula.

If they have been on formula for a while, the change in their poop may seem so drastic that you think something else must be wrong.

So, what notable changes should you expect in poop when transitioning to whole milk? Here are the major ones:

1. Color Changes

When your child is ready to transition from breast milk or formula to whole milk, it’s good to keep an eye on their poop.

Babies are born with yellow-orange poop full of bilirubin; this is the substance responsible for turning poop brown. 

When you first make the transition, your baby’s poop color could lighten in color, indicating that there isn’t enough bilirubin.

That’s completely natural and nothing to be concerned about, but you should watch it and make sure it doesn’t become too light.

If the color starts to get closer to white than yellow, then it’s time to visit the doctor.

2. Consistency Changes

While your baby has been drinking formula or breast milk, his poop has been runny and yellow in color.

When you transition him to cow’s milk, the consistency changes, and the amount decreases.

Your child may go from having a bowel movement with every feeding to going once a day or even less frequently as he gets older and eats more solids.

While you might be surprised by these changes, they’re completely normal.

The extra fat content in cow’s Milk or whole Milk increases the amount of time it takes for the stool to pass through your baby’s body, which causes a softer consistency.

3. Can Become Firmer, Even Causing Constipation

Anything that causes changes in the frequency of bowel movements or the volume and composition of the stool can affect its characteristics.

When transitioning from a fatty formula to whole milk, it’s important to monitor your child’s stool to maintain healthy bathroom habits.

When children are weaned off breast milk or formula and transitioned to whole milk, the fat content increases dramatically.

In breast milk, fat content can be as high as 7 percent, while in other types of milk, it increases by:

  • Formula = 2%
  • Whole milk = 3.25%

The large increase in fat content can cause the stool to become firmer and even lead to constipation in some cases.

4. Poops Can Become Looser

During the first few days, your child may pass more stools than usual, and they may be looser.

This is normal and will resolve as long as you are going slowly with the switch from formula or breast milk to cow’s milk.

This often happens because the baby starts drinking more cow’s milk. 

They’re ingesting less lactose than they’re used to. Try giving 1/2 cup of cow’s milk during breakfast for a few days, and then add a 1/2 cup at lunch for a few days until he is drinking all cow’s milk.

Also, keep in mind that loose stool can signify other disorders. If it worsens, visit a doctor.

Learn more from a related post: Baby Poop When Starting Solids


What poop changes when transitioning to whole milk should be expected?

There could be a change in color, consistency, and frequency in your babies’ poop.

However, every baby is different from each other and their bowel movement might be unstable during their first few months after transitioning to whole milk.

Until it gets more refined, if you are trying to discern whether your child needs to eat more or less, go by poop changes when transitioning to whole milk.

Your child’s poop is also a window into their digestion and gut health. 

However, if your child is healthy but has diarrhea or constipation, then this suggests that your child’s diet could use some tuning up.

If they are not stooling regularly, see if their diet has strayed too far away from the basic foods such as veggies, meat, and fermented dairy products.

You might also consider the pediatrician’s advice if things get out of hand than expected.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does whole milk affect baby poop?

The short answer is that yes, whole milk will make your baby poop more than breastmilk or formula.

This has to do with the higher fat content of whole milk. Whole milk is made up of mostly fat and water.

The fat in whole milk can be difficult for some babies’ bodies to digest right away.

This is because babies’ bodies are still maturing; they don’t yet have enough digestive enzymes to break down the whole milk fat.

Does baby poop change when on cows’ milk?

The answer is absolutely! And it’s really common.

Cow’s milk and other dairy products can cause a baby to become constipated because it is more difficult for their tiny bodies to digest than breast milk or formula.

The poop changes from the soft, creamy consistency that we come to expect from a breastfed baby to something resembling soft, squishy clay, usually brown, but not always.

Can whole Milk cause green poop?

Milk is actually not the only type of dairy product that will do this: yogurt, ice cream, and even butter can give your poop that greenish hue.

It’s not the milk itself that causes this coloration but lactose intolerance at work.

Lactose is a sugar found in milk and other dairy products; as we age, our bodies may start to lose the ability to break down lactose into its component parts (galactose and glucose).



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