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Babies Poop Smells Like Vinegar – Is It Normal?

Monitoring your baby’s poop keeps you aware of their health and eating habits. Besides consistency, you can tell a lot about their well-being from the smell of their poop.

It’s usually sweet, more so if they’re breastfeeding, but it can develop an unusual or foul scent like vinegar.

If you’re wondering how babies poop smells like vinegar, I did extensive research to help you learn as much as possible so you can take the appropriate steps.

Why This Happens

To start things off, let’s address smelly baby poop in general. Stool from newborn babies should have little smell or no smell at all.

Smells only begin to form as your little one’s tummy starts developing bacteria. It is from these newfound bacteria that babies start emitting any odor during their bowel movements.

baby being wiped

So, there’s no reason to be surprised or worried once your baby’s poop starts smelling.

However, if it is too pungent or acid like a vinegar smell can be, you need to focus a bit more on not just what your baby is taking in, but what you are consuming as well if you’re breastfeeding.

Focusing on your baby’s poop and the rest of their behavior and health can help you determine if you need to change their diet or seek out your pediatrician for more serious guidance.

Common Causes

If your baby’s poop smells like vinegar, there are quite a few different culprits behind the odor.

Bad Gut Floral

Gut floral is just a fancier way of speaking about the microorganisms that exist inside of our intestines. It’s widely believed that babies are born nearly pure and free from bacteria. The bacteria that are there are most likely the “good” bacteria we need.

It’s already known that babies are exposed to their mother’s bacteria during vaginal births. Research has shown that babies born via C-section may have that “good” bacteria disrupted, leading to bad gut floral building up in their body faster.

Such a host of bad bacteria early on may lead to your baby’s poop having that potent vinegar stench.

Food Allergies Or Sensitivities

Once your baby reaches that fun milestone where they’re ready to try solid foods, you may feel both eager and nervous. It’s a great time to discover what they like and develop their taste buds, but it’s also an unfortunate time to learn about food allergies and sensitivities.

As your baby is trying out new foods, start focusing on their bowel movements. It’s expected for their stool to change in consistency, color, and smells.

If anything is fouler than it should be, that may indicate they’re reacting to something they’ve eaten as their body is unable to digest it.

Lactose Intolerance

Like food allergies and sensitivities, your baby’s strong poop smell may be coming from an inability to digest something, and lactose is a top contender for that.

Adults can barely digest it, so it’s no surprise it can bother a baby’s developing digestive tract. Many formulas feature dairy, so consider looking at the ingredients of any formula you buy to see if that might be the cause of their poop’s vinegar-like scent.

Crohn’s Disease

Known as a chronic or long-term disease, Crohn’s targets the digestive tract and causes inflammation and sores. It’s tough to diagnose in babies, but it is possible.

This condition prevents babies from properly absorbing nutrients, and this mal-absorption can lead to foul-smelling poop.

Cystic Fibrosis

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a serious genetic condition that clogs the lungs and digestive tract with mucus. Similar when it comes to Crohn’s disease, this is not the first cause you’ll want to consider when discussing your baby’s vinegar-smelling stool, but it can’t be ruled out.

If your child suffers from CF, some of the many associated symptoms include greasy stools and intestinal blockages. Such complications can readily cause your little one’s stool to smell bad on top of bringing them general discomfort and pain.

baby and mother

Things To Look Out For

Now that you know some of the causes behind the vinegar-smelling poop. Let’s focus on other signs we should look for. These signs may indicate a larger problem that needs a remedy right away.

First off, if you want to know if a more severe condition like CF is behind it, you’ll already be aware of it before you leave the hospital. Your child was probably screened for it as part of their newborn screening.

If your baby is positive, mention the change in stool smell to the healthcare provider treating your little one to learn if and how you manage it.

Besides the visible health conditions, you should also watch out for the following signs:

  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Irritability and inability to soothe
  • Shortness of breath
  • 6+ watery stools within 24 hours
  • Bloody stool

These are signs that something else is going on beyond vinegar-smelling poop. Your baby’s poop color is even a strong sign as the stool should never be white, red, or black.

If your child experiences any of these, you must contact your pediatrician immediately.

Final Thoughts

Our babies are going to undergo numerous bodily changes as they grow and change to suit the world around them. Their gut, and what comes out of it, will continuously adjust, and that adjustment can bring foul-smelling poop.

It can be surprising when babies poop smells like vinegar, but it happens more frequently than you think.

Before you panic, be sure to go over the causes I’ve discussed as well as other factors to look for. This way, you can better tell if you can manage this issue at home or if you need your pediatrician to step in.

Medical Disclaimer. All content and media on the Mom Informed Website is created and published online for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health or personal advice.