Is It Normal for Baby’s Poop to Smell like Vinegar?

New moms, you are in for a lot of surprises if it’s your first baby. So, you have been doing everything perfectly and taking grandmother’s advice on motherly things. But how can you be sure your baby is all right when the baby poop smells like vinegar?

A baby’s poop keeps changing color and odor depending upon the baby’s diet and usually smells sweet if the baby is breastfed. If the poop smells like vinegar, it may indicate indigestion, lactose intolerance, or recent illness. You can easily treat this by keeping away from dairy products and switching the type of formula.

There are multiple reasons for vinegar-smelling poop that need to be eliminated. If your baby’s sour-smelling poop makes you anxious at any point, then it is time you find out why this is happening. In this article, you’ll learn all about assessing any alarming signs from your baby’s poop.

Color & Texture of Baby’s Poop

It does sound a bit weird or gross as mothers to think that baby’s poop smells like vinegar and is this normal. As mothers, it is only natural to be extra cautious. However, you don’t need to panic. A baby’s poop can smell like all sorts of weird things. 

The stool is completely different the first few hours after a baby is born. It’s called the Meconium phase, in which the baby’s poop is dark, thick, and sticky. It may have a black or greenish color with a sticky texture.

Breastfed baby poop is different because breastfeeding is the best baby food. Thus, eliminating all sorts of problems that accompany formula feeding. Breastfed baby poop doesn’t smell acidic rather, it has a sweet odor or is completely odorless. It is different in texture and color. 

After a few days, this phase is over and normal poop begins. This has a mustard color and will have a normal consistency if you are breastfeeding the baby. If the baby is bottle-fed, the poop is usually thicker and has a greenish color.

Significance of Poop Color and Texture

Whether it’s a topic on top of your list or not, it is extremely important as it signifies if your baby is sick. If the poop doesn’t have any hue between yellow to green, your baby’s digestive tract may have some difficulty and the child may need pediatric care.

If the poop is reddish or there is an indication of blood in it, this is a sign of stomach infection. Black or white poop shows internal bleeding or nutrient malabsorption, respectively. You can confirm if your baby has an infection or not by checking body temperature and making a note of any other signs of fever. If the baby has vomiting, diarrhea-like condition, and colic, all these symptoms point toward an infection that needs immediate care.

Normal Poop

It is evident what poop shouldn’t be in terms of color and texture. Now it’s time to know what a normal poop looks like. As discussed earlier, in the first few hours after the birth, the baby’s poop is in the meconium phase, where it is dark and sticky.

This is because of meconium consumption by the baby before birth. In addition to meconium, the baby’s body contains bile and amniotic fluids, which are expelled from intestinal glands. These must be eliminated from the baby’s system in the first few days through defecation. It clears out in two days, after which the poop becomes normal.

Through feeding, healthy bacteria go inside the baby’s tummy. This starts to change the texture of the poop, making it appear like normal poop, with a mustard color and watery texture. It also has seed-like bodies in it. Formula-fed babies have pasty textured poop with yellowish colors. These are clear indications that the baby’s tummy is doing just fine.

The poop doesn’t begin to smell until the baby starts eating solid foods, especially breastfed babies’ poop. Formula-fed babies have a bit of smellier poop comparatively. Once the baby starts eating solids, the poop solidifies and starts excessively smelling.

How many times do babies poop normally?

Babies have an active gastrocolic reflex that tells a human to poop. This means a lot of poops for babies. Adults have this reflex but are less active. Babies have little stomachs, and they must eat often. The gastrocolic reflex allows the baby to pass stool, making room for more food.

This reflex regulates the baby’s bowel movements, causing the baby to poop. This number ranges between ten to twelve diaper changes every day. Don’t be afraid, the number reduces to 2 to 3 times a day once the baby is four months.

As the baby grows further, he poops nearly once a day. This is due to the intestines absorbing milk adequately and reducing the number of bowel movements. Formula-fed babies make poop more often than breastfed babies because their intestines do not absorb formula completely. It is considered normal for a breastfed baby to poop once every week.

If you are feeding your baby breast milk along with formula milk, you can expect several bowel movements every day. This also depends upon your baby, whether he will have several bowel movements every day or once every week.

Baby’s Poop Smells like Vinegar: Possible Reasons

Teething Can Be a Reason Too!

As discussed earlier, the baby’s poop can smell differently because of what he is being fed. But this is not always the case. There are other reasons which cause baby poop to smell vinegar-like. Some of the major reasons surrounding smelly poop are discussed below. 

  1. The Baby Is Not Digesting Food Well

Babies’ poop usually smells like vinegar when they have tummy issues. When babies are unable to digest food properly, they don’t pass gas. This makes the tummy hard and causes immense pain to the child. This is when your child may be experiencing constipation. The stool that they pass will have a vinegar-like odor.

Indigestion may be caused due to fever, infection, lactose intolerance, or even a stomach bug. Rotavirus can also be a cause of a baby’s tummy problems. These possibilities cannot be ruled out until you visit your doctor. The problems of the digestive tract should never be taken lightly. If you ever have an experience with baby poop smells, you should consult a pediatric doctor immediately.

  1. Lactose Intolerance

Lactose intolerance disturbs the entire digestive tract and the baby’s bowel movements. Sour-smelling poop is a common symptom. The baby’s poop smells sour when the baby is unable to digest any dairy products. If your baby is on formula, you need to stop it immediately. Even breastfed babies can have lactose intolerance.

If you aren’t feeding anything to your baby except milk, you can easily point to the cause of the baby’s poop smell. The smell is not the only indication of intolerance. It is accompanied by gas, watery stool, and even tummy bloating.

  1. Teething Can Be a Reason Too!

Teething is doubtlessly the most difficult phase of raising your baby. This is a challenging time for you and a painful time for your baby. The pain of growing teeth in the gums accompanied by watery stools and colic is unimaginably tough. Foul-smelling baby poop is a regular symptom. 

You can try to calm your baby using gum massage and anti-inflammatory gum gels. But you will have to be patient with all these symptoms until the teeth are fully developed. Especially foul-smelling poop.

  1. Allergic to Certain Foods

Usually, it is seen that breastfed babies have lesser tummy issues compared to babies consuming a large variety of foods. Not everything is good for the baby’s tummy. They are often allergic to certain foods. If the baby is allergic to problematic foods, this can cause an upset stomach and smelly poop.

If you aren’t careful, smelly poops will be the last thing you are worried about. The poop could be filled with mucus and blood that can weaken the baby’s fragile body. Always consider food allergies when the babies’ poop smells bad.

  1. Food Sensitivity

The baby’s stomach is no larger than his fist. Women try to start making them eat solid foods as soon as possible. However, most of the time, babies are not ready. Consequently, their stomach reacts by producing poop with a foul smell.

A baby’s diet should be carefully designed. In the beginning, if you have a breastfed baby, life is simpler, and you don’t have to worry about the baby’s nutrition. But once you start solid foods, you must beware of the quantity, allergies, and appropriateness of what you are feeding your baby.

One wrong move, and you will face bad baby poop smells along with other issues. You must avoid hard foods like nuts and eggs as they can have an acidic impact on babies’ poop. You should also keep in mind your baby’s allergies.

  1. Crohn’s disease

Crohn’s disease is also very harmful to your baby’s overall health. Babies born with Crohn’s disease have a tough time in terms of sour-smelling poop. It is a diarrhea-like condition where a baby’s poop smells like vinegar along with watery stools. Babies who aren’t fed breast milk are more vulnerable to this disease.

You must get your baby to the doctor before excessive stools make him/her weak and vulnerable to more diseases.

What To Do If Your Baby’s Poop Smells Like Vinegar?

If the sour smell is the only thing with no other problematic symptoms, you can try making changes to the baby’s diet. That will most likely resolve the problem without seeking medical attention. 

If the vinegar smell is occurring with loose stools, fever, and vomiting, you need to get your baby medical care. If you are still concerned, here are a few things you can try for smelly baby poop.

  1. Tip for Breastfed babies

If you breastfeed your baby and the baby’s poop smells like vinegar, this means your milk has a low-fat content. This usually happens when your breasts are producing milk excessively. In such a case, you should feed your baby from one breast till it is empty before you offer your baby the other one. This is because hind milk has a high concentration of fat.

  1. Tip for Formula-fed babies

Formula-fed babies or bottle-fed babies’ intestines absorb milk differently. So keep an eye on the texture, color, and odor of your baby’s poop. A baby’s digestive system can not consume all kinds of dairy products. Always be watchful if your baby is reacting to the brand of formula milk you are using. Change it if necessary.

  1. Monitor Diet Change

Any change in your baby’s diet should be closely monitored. This will help you find the cause behind the smell and be able to eliminate it. There is no separate reason for the vinegar-like poop smell. It is only an effect of other causes. Look out for those problems first.

Once you solve those problems, you will be able to see a marked difference in the way your baby’s poop smells.

So, What If Baby Poop Smells like Vinegar?

You can solve this problem. A baby’s poop smell signals what they are eating. If it smells like vinegar, they may not be digesting food properly, may be teething, have food allergies, or have lactose intolerance. You can try to find out what your baby is suffering from and help him overcome it. You will then see a marked difference in vinegar-like smell. 

Stephanie Edenburgh

I'm Steph, a mom to 3 beautiful children and lover all things having to do with my family and being a mom. I've learned a lot raising my own children and working in education and healthcare roles throughout my career. Living in beautiful Southern California I enjoy documenting and writing about all of the hard work us mom's do on a daily basis.

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