You change your baby’s diaper one day and notice a strange acidic odor, like vinegar or sour cream! Apart from that horrible smell putting you off, you immediately wonder if your baby is okay?
Hold tight as we provide you insight into changes in babies’ poop, what these changes signify, and what is causing that nasty smell.
Baby Poop – The Basics!
Changes in babies’ poop sometimes can scare you, especially if you are first-time parents! And yes, we totally understand your anxieties as we’ve been there ourselves.
The Baby’s poop changes on a day-to-day basis. These changes have many reasons, as we will discuss shortly.
But before you can tell when there is a problem in the baby’s poop, you should learn about natural bowel movements in babies.
Color of Baby Poop
The color of the stool depends a lot on what your baby is eating. The baby’s bowels are sterile in the first few days after birth. But as your child grows, a wide range of bacteria naturally populate their bowel.
So, the poop of a breastfed baby would be different from that of a formula-fed tot. Also, the breastfed baby would have a changing color of poop, depending on what mummy eats!
Also read: How Do Babies Get Colic?
The consistency of baby poop is also variable. So, the poop can be mushy and soft, filling the whole diaper. Or there can be small pellets. Or even a single hard stool. And, of course, the dietary factors are in play here too!
In case of a hard stool that causes discomfort, you may want to rule out constipation. And talk to your doctor if the problem persists.
The odor of Baby Poop
The odor of the poop tells how long the poop was in the baby’s gut. The longer the poop stays inside, the more bacteria and foul smell it develops.
In general, breastfed babies tend to have odorless poops. And those on formula feeds have a slight odor. And all this changes as soon as you introduce solid food to the baby’s diet.
With the basics covered, we move on to our smelly problem.
What Causes Poop to Smell Like Vinegar?
More often than not, baby poop does not smell like vinegar or sour cream. The acidic odor may indicate that your baby has difficulty digesting their food.
It can also point to a bug in the tummy or some other tummy trouble. Some of which are given below.
Malabsorption of Food?
When the baby’s tummy cannot properly absorb nutrients from the food, the resultant product is that the baby’s poop smells like vinegar or gives off a sour, acidic smell.
Malabsorption is a problem that needs prompt care. Apart from causing the baby’s poop to smell like vinegar, it often leads to various issues such as diarrhea, weight loss, and even stunted growth!
Lactose Intolerance and Vinegar Poop!
One of the reasons babies’ poop smells like vinegar is because the baby’s tummy is sensitive to lactose present in the milk. Or other dairy products that you feed them.
If you are breastfeeding your baby, lactose may enter the milk from lactose-containing products (mainly dairy) that you are consuming.
Keep an eye out for lactose intolerance as it presents with other symptoms, too, such as bloating, baby passing too much gas, and even diarrhea or loose stools.
Certain food items such as nuts, eggs, soy, and dairy, or food containing these items may be giving your baby’s digestive system a hard time. That tiny tummy may not be able to digest these foods. It may be sensitive to them, causing babies’ poop to smell like vinegar and even causing the stool to be bulkier than usual!
Teething is a tough time for your baby and you. Some parents have reported that their babies’ poop smells like vinegar, especially when a tooth is about to pop up! Although there is little to no scientific evidence to back up this observation.
Allergies to Certain Foods
Sometimes the reason your babies’ poop smells like vinegar may be a sudden reaction to a food substance. That did not go well with your tot’s tummy.
And that allergic reaction caused the stool to have much or even blood. Apart from that foul acidic odor, you may want to consult your doctor, especially if there is a family history of such food allergies.
Crohn’s disease is another culprit causing babies’ poop to smell like vinegar. Look out for other symptoms of Crohn’s disease. These include loose, watery stools, often with blood and mucus, called explosive diarrhea.
Baby Poop Smells Like Vinegar – What Should You Look Out For?
You can indeed lose a night’s sleep if you worry about your baby’s bowel movements in the first days of their life. But if baby poop smells sour, it might not be as severe as you think. Here is some advice on how you can help.
It would be best if you kept a watch on the pattern of bowel movements. And any associations that you can see. If you are breastfeeding your baby, keep a note of what you eat, especially dairy products.
And if they or any food item is causing the problem. You can easily remove these products from your and your baby’s diet.
Also, remember that any change in baby food, formula, or the addition of new foods will change the poos. This is quite normal.
Another thing to look out for is the number of episodes of vinegar-smelling poop your baby has. There is no need to worry if they are only one or two.
Warning Signs: When to Call Your Doctor?
However, if the foul-smelling poop is a persistent problem, you should check in with your doctor. Especially if your baby is developing other alarm symptoms, such as diarrhea, dehydration, high fever, or your child is irritable and refusing to feed.