Foamy Baby Poop?! What’s Wrong With My Baby?

foamy baby poop
RobinHiggins / Pixabay

If there is one thing you have come to expect with regularity from your baby, it’s poop. Day pooping, night pooping, creative, surprise pooping. It’s not their fault, of course. Their little digestive systems are still developing. Today, however, you got an alarming surprise. You checked the diaper and this time there is foamy baby poop. So what is that all about? Should you be worried? In this article we are going to discuss what that foamy, frothy baby poop is doing there so that you know how to properly respond. Without further ado, let’s discuss the issue of bubbly poop in babies!

Frothy newborn or toddler poop

When it comes to frothy and foamy poop we have some good news and bad news. The good news is that this often occurs as a reaction to new types of food. So if you have just started your baby on solids then try taking what they most recently ate out of the equation and if this solves the issue, that’s great. If your child is strictly breastfeeding then there could be another cause. To understand this we’ll need to tell you a little more about breast milk.

Types of breast milk

You might not know it, but breast milk actually comes in 2 varieties. There is foremilk, which is the thinnest of the two varieties, and this is the first type that they will encounter when they begin a feeding session. The second variety is called hindmilk. Hindmilk is thicker and is packed with heavy vitamins and nutrients for your baby. As the hindmilk is thicker and only makes an appearance later in the feeding then issues can arise when mom switches breasts too quickly during feedings. So why is this? Simply put, since the foremilk comes first, baby gets only or mostly foremilk during feedings if mom is switching breasts too quickly for the hindmilk to begin expressing.

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How do I know if this is the case?

frothy baby poop
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We’re glad that you asked! There are some standard symptoms that can indicate if baby is not getting enough hindmilk during feedings. Look for the following symptoms:

  • Chronic diaper rash
  • Baby is fussy all of the time
  • Baby is spitting up sometimes after feedings
  • Your baby always seems to be hungry

So this can cause foamy poop in newborns?

Yes. It can also cause foamy poop in infants or discolored poop. Green, grey, or even mustard yellow frothy baby poop can be the result of drinking too much foremilk and not enough hindmilk. This is easily remedied, however. Sticking to one breast during a feeding or waiting at least 20 minutes before switching breasts should easily correct the issue

What if this does not help?

If this does not help and if your baby is already starting on solids then there are other possibilities tat could be at play. Other sources of frothy poop are:

  • Malabsoption disorder – A common example of this is celiac disease, which is when an allergic reaction occurs with the ingestion of gluten. Malabsorption disorder is not limited to gluten, however, and there could be an intolerance to other foods such as eggs, seafood, or even lactose. Thankfully, this is highly unlikely to be the culprit but if you are worried then your pediatrician can certainly test them for this.
  • Infection – Contaminated food or even swallowing water from a lake or river can introduce parasites into the body, resulting in an infection of the gastrointestinal tract. Typically symptoms will include nausea, gas, and stomach cramping (baby will typically assume a fetal position and display obvious distress).
  • Irritable bowel syndrome – Extremely rare with a child, irritable bowel syndrome manifests with symptoms such as diarrhea, bloating, stomach pain, and constipation, Thankfully this is predominantly an adult condition and the chances that your child is affected with this are extremely slim.
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What is baby seems happy and healthy?

If your baby seems to be happy, not fussy in the slightest, and is eating and playing normally then this could simply be a sign of their changing digestive system. Discolored poops are fairly common with newborns and not always a cause for alarm.

” You should consider the frequency of the issue.”

That said, to keep things on the safe side if you are seeing this frequently then we urge you to make some time for an appointment with your pediatrician. Your pediatrician can test a stool sample in order to determine if what you are seeing is simply healthy changes or if it is something more serious that needs to be addressed.

Consider the frequency of the issue

Lastly, you should consider the frequency of the issue. Is this something that is occurring every now and again or regularly, day after day. If it is only occurring occasionally then it is likely going to be something harmless. If it is occurring with regularity, however, then go ahead with that pediatrician appointment for a little testing and some peace of mind. Your little one is very fragile at this stage of their development and while you might feel like you are jumping and running to the pediatrician at any sign of trouble, that is not necessarily a bad thing. For one thing, there is nothing wrong with being thorough and vigilant where your baby is concerned. Secondly, this is exactly what your pediatrician is there for! To answer your questions, ease your worries, and to let you know if there IS something to worry about. Your pediatrician is there for you so don’t be afraid to take advantage of this.

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newborn foamy poop
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Some final words

In this article we have discussed frothy, foamy baby poop. What it means, what causes it, and what the worse case scenarios out there might look like. In all likelihood a simple adjustment of keeping to one breast for 20 minutes at a time during feedings will correct any issues but if that is not the case you now know what to look for. We wish you and your baby the best!

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