Babies poop Smells Like Vinegar: is That Normal?

There is one single thing that can help monitor your baby’s health. Do you know what that is? Well, don’t be surprised when we inform you. It is baby poop that helps you understand its health. Let us explain.

To understand this simple thing, you might need to focus on your high school biology classes. Remember the digestive system of human beings that plays a massive role in keeping good health? In a baby’s case, the equation is the same.

Your little one’s poop will be absolutely normal if a healthy and easy-to-digest diet is provided. But if there is an abnormal texture, color, or smell, you might treat it as a signal that something is wrong with your baby’s digestive system or the diet provided. That is the time you need to call the doctor or take immediate steps.

One of the most common abnormalities for babies poop smelling like vinegar. Now, that can happen for a number of reasons, such as

  • Lactose intolerance
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Bad gut flora
  • Allergy or sensitivity
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Celiac disease and more

But first, let’s focus on regular habits. And let’s know when we can contact the doctor. 

Important Discloser

The info and content on this page is meant for entertainment purposes only, and should NOT be considered medical or professional advice. We do our best to provide accurate info on all topics, but please consult your doctor or a professional in any situation

When it comes to poop, what is normal and what is not?

Now, normal here means your baby’s normal pooping habit. You might be surprised to read that there is a “normal” habit of this. Well, yes! This does exist. A newborn baby first passes its poop after 48 hours of its birth. The first poop of a newborn is usually greenish or blackish, and it’s sticky in its consistency.

It is also called the Meconium stool, which is generally a discharge, including some amniotic fluid, intestinal secretions like bile, protein, and fat. This can last for a few hours to a few days. And after that, the real poop comes out.

Generally, a baby’s poop becomes yellow, green, or brown. If you are breastfeeding your baby, you might obtain the mustard-like consistency of your baby’s poop. And this becomes semi-solid when you start bottle feeding. Usually, bottle-fed babies have a somewhat stinky poop. But that is often normal.

Now, coming to the abnormal points. In rare cases, you might see your baby’s poop to be red in color. Sometimes you might notice blood coming out while your little one passes its poop. This might indicate intestinal bleeding or some other internal problems.

At that time, the best decision is to contact a doctor and take immediate steps. Sometimes, you might see the poop to be white. That can be a symptom of liver issues or malabsorption. In that case also, consult a doctor.

Smelly poop: What is the reason behind it?

babies poop smells like vinegar
via easybabylife

Although a smelly poop is not normal for your toddler, there is nothing to worry about. Let me tell you some fundamental things about babies and their tiny tummies.

Initially, your baby’s poop will not be stinky because the stomach remains free of bacteria. But you might experience a change in smell, color, or texture the moment the bacteria accumulates in your toddler’s tummy.

Now you must be thinking about how bacteria accumulates in that tiny stomach. If you are breastfeeding the baby, there are low chances of stinky poop. Bacteria accumulation may be low or not at all. But when you shift to bottle-feeding or solid and semi-solid food, that is the time when the stomach gathers bacteria. And as a result, you experience an unnatural smell from your baby’s poop.

Another crucial aspect that contributes to the smelly poop of a toddler is the time duration it remains inside the intestine. Generally, babies up to age four months make their diapers dirty four times a day on average. Anything less or more than this constantly indicates a problem regarding the stomach, and the doctor should take center stage there. 

Babies poop smells like vinegar: Why does this happen?

Now coming to the crux of the discussion. If you are experiencing a peculiar smell from your baby’s poop, then let me tell you, many new moms experience the same problem and are often scared. This is normal in babies. Having said that, babies passing smelly poop, especially those with a vinegar-like smell, should be monitored well because this is not normal. 

There are a few reasons for the pungent, sour, or acidic smell that might come from the poop. Let’s know a bit more about the reasons contributing to this fact.

  • Lactose intolerance:

When a baby cannot tolerate or is allergic to dairy or milk products, we call this problem lactose intolerance. This problem happens when a specific sugar in milk called lactose cannot be adequately digested due to a lack of the breaking enzyme lactase. This enzyme is produced in the small intestine. If your baby has no problem with milk and dairy products, then it breaks in the small intestine and gets absorbed there only. 

Some babies cannot intake milk and other dairy products. Even if they consume, there might be difficulty in digesting the dairy products, leading to bloating and gas. Sometimes, this issue leads to diarrhea as well. Since the dairy products can not be adequately digested in the small intestine, your baby might pass poop that smells like vinegar. 

Believe it or not, 40% of adults cannot even digest milk and dairy products because it is heavy. Now, babies may have lactose intolerance, and it is common. 

Now the question is how to get rid of the smelly poop?

babies poop smells like vinegar

Well, since you have understood that your baby might have lactose intolerance, this is time for you to realize that your baby’s diet should exclude dairy products for at least a couple of weeks. Monitor your baby carefully during the period and see if the symptoms like bloating, gas, and uncomfortable bowel movements are controlled. If you see positive changes, then certainly your baby is lactose intolerant.

The biggest issue at this time is the diet program because many moms believe there is nothing that can replace milk. Yes, it is true that milk has a multidimensional benefit for a baby’s health but can also be replaced with some products.

You must have heard of infant formula. Most of the infant formulas are made of cow’s milk. So, a huge range of formulas include dairy. But the manufacturers, keeping in mind lactose intolerance, have introduced soy-protein formulas, hydrolyzed formulas, and amino acid formulas. You can choose one of them. It is best to consult a doctor or a pediatrician before picking a formula.

  • Crohn’s disease:

This disease is an unnatural bowel disease that generally attacks the intestine along with the digestive system. It causes inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract. This is not the first reason to look for it because this is rare in babies. But you can not overlook it, though. 

This disease generally affects the small intestines and the colon. But there is a fair chance that the condition can affect any part of your gastrointestinal tract, also known as the GI tract. The symptoms of this disease develop gradually. These include diarrhea, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, weight loss, blood in the stool. Severe symptoms include constant pain around the anus, loss of physical activity, inflammation, and many more.  

Experts are still skeptical about the reason behind this disease. Most probably, it is caused because of the bacteria, fungus, or viral accumulation inside the stomach, which is very rare in the case of babies. But well, this disease can be genetic as well. So, there is a possibility of your baby having this disease.

Now, this disease causes malabsorption in the intestines. As a result, toddlers pass smelly poop because of that. The only solution to this problem is to consult a doctor. If you see any of the symptoms mentioned above, your first task is to consult a doctor and take immediate steps.

  • Bad gut flora:

Now, this is something very normal. Yeah, I know; the name does not seem familiar. Well, this is just an alternative way to refer to the intestinal microorganisms inside the tummy. They are generally ‘good bacteria’ that do not harm the digestive functions of a baby’s stomach.

If this is not a problem, then you must be thinking, why does the disruption occur? Let me explain that to you.

Babies, while taking birth, are believed to be free from bacteria. And even if there are some, all of them are good bacteria that help digest the food. During a normal baby birth or vaginal birth, it is widely believed that the babies are exposed to the bacteria of their mother’s body. And these are always good bacteria. 

The problem might take place when there is a C-section baby birth. What happens there is that the lower abdomen of the pregnant mom is cut, and the baby is taken out from there only. So, the baby is not exposed to the good bacteria of its mom’s body. And there is a fair chance of bad gut flora building in the baby’s stomach over time. Hence, later you might observe problems regarding digestion and thereby smelly poop.

In this condition, the best solution is to call the doctor and consult once before taking any action.

  • Allergy or sensitivity:

This can be another reason contributing to the strange smell. We have already discussed lactose intolerance before. Now speaking of allergy or sensitivity, you need to understand your baby’s tummy well. Let’s know a little more about this.

When a baby’s only food source is milk or dairy products, there is nothing more to worry about other than lactose intolerance. But you should be careful when your baby starts to take semi-solid food. 

Since the little tummy is introduced to the new food items, you never know how it can react. Generally, these tiny stomachs are very sensitive and take time to withstand any changes. But that does not mean that you will only feed milk and dairy products to your baby. That can lead to malnutrition. So, the only necessary thing to do is to focus on your baby’s bowel movements once they start taking new food items. Although you can expect some changes in the color, texture, and smell of the stool, anything surpassing the limit should draw your attention. And that is the exact time to consult a doctor.

Also, try to carefully monitor the particular items that your baby’s tummy cannot consume and digest properly. Try to avoid those items in your toddler’s daily diet.

  • Cystic Fibrosis:

Cystic fibrosis is a condition that is not common in babies. But there are fair chances that babies might face this difficulty. This disease might be genetic as well. Cystic fibrosis is a disorder that affects the lungs and digestive tracts. This condition might be challenging for your baby since it fills the tracts with mucus. And that is why the stool remains inside the intestine for an extended period of time and thereby causes smelly discharges. Over 5 -10% of babies worldwide face this disease.

Some major symptoms of this disease include weight loss, bowel obstruction, cough, and sticky and thick mucus accumulation.

This problem is a serious issue to look at. Consider consulting a doctor if you witness any such condition or symptoms.

  • Celiac Disease

Celiac disease is a condition where the body immune system mistakenly think the gluten is bacteria that it needs to destroy and therefor attacking the area where gluten is found, which is usually the small intestine causing an inflammation and can lead to long term affects if not treated.

Gluten is a protein found in wheat and can be found in many foods and products, once the person with Celiac disease eats a food containing gluten his body will start to attack the area and cause inflammation which causes bloating, diarrhoea and vomiting. Celiac is also called the thousand faces disease as it can have literaly hundreds of different effects on the body. For more on Celiac you can read here

Things to look for: When to call the doctor?

babies poop smells like vinegar
via speakingfromthecrib

Now that you have acquired a fair knowledge about the reasons contributing to your little one’s vinegar smelling poop, this is the time for you to look for some more conditions that might involve the doctor in the scenario. 

Often, new mommies find themselves puzzled when it comes to their baby’s health. That is precisely the time to be calm and patient. Apart from the conditions mentioned above, there are a few more things to look at for your baby’s health. Monitoring them can help you understand when to call a doctor.

If there is a severe condition like cystic fibrosis behind the vinegar smelling poop, you must know that already. The newborn screening would detect the unnatural signs in your baby. If that has not been positive, then you do not need to worry about CF.

Having said that, there are some other symptoms you might consider observing. You should watch and take notes of the symptoms, such as

  • Fever
  • Shortness of breath
  • Blood in the stool
  • Passing out stool more than four times a day
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fussy mood
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss

And if things become uncontrollable, consider calling a doctor.

Final thoughts:

It is evident that a clear stomach makes everyone happy and healthy. So, the proper functions of the digestive system are the key when it comes to your baby’s health. Yes, it is true that your newborn might show some changing habits when introduced to the world and outer environment.

With every step of growing up, your baby will gather new experiences, and so will you. That might be a reason for your baby’s smelly discharges. Often, the immature tiny tummy cannot withstand the subtle changes in food habits.

They are so sensitive that they can show severe symptoms of intolerance. Believe it or not, this is very common in babies. Every other baby has shown some problem while adjusting to an all-new food habit. 

But sour-smelling poop is not always natural. Some mommies experience these discharges. But that should be monitored and treated well. Taking care of a toddler is challenging but becomes easier to cope while following the proper instructions.

Hence, your observation and actions will determine your baby’s health. With the above-mentioned symptoms, it will be easier for you to look for a condition and consult a doctor at the right time.