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Right from birth, babies are exploring the world using their mouths. Newborns will suck on their hands, your shoulder, your cheek, your chin – anything that gets too close!
As your baby grows and develops their fine motor skills and mobility, they will start exploring and putting anything they find into their mouth. Yes, that even includes poop.
If you are here because your baby ate their own poop, don’t panic! In this article, we have all the important information about what to do if your baby eats poops.
If your baby has been looking for a snack in their diaper, you are not the first parent to be in this situation. Babies and toddlers everywhere love to explore and put sometimes dangerous and sometimes really gross things into their mouths, you’re not alone.
It is very unlikely your baby will get sick from eating their own poop. If your baby ate a small amount of their own poop, they may have some minor symptoms but it is rare the bacteria in human feces will make your child seriously ill.
Eating poop can cause your child to suffer from mild diarrhea, nausea, and a fever. However, if your baby eats poop from an animal – like a mouse, for example.
There is more risk of severe illnesses due to the different bacteria and parasites found in the feces of certain animals.
Table of Contents
- 1 My Baby Ate Poop!
- 2 Why Do Babies Eat Poop?
- 3 Is It Dangerous For My Baby To Eat Poop?
- 4 What To Do If My Baby Eats Poop?
- 5 What To Do If Baby Eats Animal Poop?
- 6 What To Do If Baby Eats Cat Poop
- 7 What To Do If Baby Ate Mice Poop
- 8 FAQs
- 9 The Final Thought
My Baby Ate Poop!
It’s something every parent dreads, seeing their baby with brown smears all over their face and the gross smell of poop on their breath. The thought alone is enough to make you nauseous! It is a gross but true fact, some babies eat their own poop.
Babies and toddlers will put anything in their mouths given the chance, poop being no exception.
If your baby has eaten their poop, try to stay calm. It is very unlikely your child will get sick from eating their own feces, however, you will need to keep an eye out for any side effects – we will discuss these later.
Tasting their own poop is a common behavior in babies and toddlers and, usually, only happens once.
We can understand why a baby may wolf down a whole chocolate cake given half the chance, but it is very unlikely your child will consume the whole contents of their diaper.
After all, poop does not taste good, it’s hardly something your baby is going to want to take more than one bite of!
Why Do Babies Eat Poop?
Babies explore using their senses, just like the rest of us. But whereas an older child or adult would rely more on their sight and smell to figure out what something is, babies like to use their sense of taste.
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Putting objects, food – and even poop – into their mouth is a sign your baby is developing, they are exploring as they should be and indulging their growing feelings of curiosity about the world around them.
Is It Dangerous For My Baby To Eat Poop?
Eating fecal matter should certainly not be encouraged but in most cases, it is not going to cause serious illness. However, faces are full of bacteria and although this is bacteria from inside the body, it does not make it safe to consume by mouth.
Poop is a waste product, it is the matter our bodies do not need, mostly the half-digested food our bodies had no use for. Feces is not just partially digested food, it also contains bacteria, viruses, and other microbes.
Fecal matter can contain bacteria such as E-Coli, Salmonella, Hepatitis, and many others. When consumed, these bacteria can cause sickness and severe illness in certain cases.
Eating small amounts of poop is rarely life-threatening but consuming E-Coli or other bacteria can cause unpleasant symptoms.
Side Effect Of Eating Poop
If your baby has eaten their own poop, try your best not to panic. It is unlikely your baby will need to go to the hospital, however, they may experience stomach upset and symptoms similar to food poisoning.
When you realize your baby has eaten their poop, it is important to keep a close eye on them and keep a check on their symptoms. Common side effects of eating poop include:
The symptoms of eating poop are similar to the symptoms of food poisoning. The stomach upset should only last 1-2 days but if symptoms continue you may need to seek medical advice from your baby’s doctor.
What To Do If My Baby Eats Poop?
As we have said, if your baby has eaten their own poop they should be ok if it was just a small amount. Human feces is mostly non-toxic but there are some harmful bacteria that can cause illness after consumption.
There are a few things you need to do if your baby eats their poop.
Give them plenty of water
Make sure you keep your baby well hydrated after they have eaten poop. Giving your baby lots of water will help to hydrate them if they are suffering from sickness and diarrhea.
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Water can also help to effectively break down any of the harmful bacteria that has got into your baby’s system.
Monitor their symptoms
Having sickness and diarrhea for more than a few days can be dangerous for your baby.
They may become dehydrated if they have been sick for several days and the prolonged symptoms could be a sign they have caught a more serious disease from the bacteria in their poop.
If your baby is not showing signs of improvement after 2 days of symptoms, contact a medical professional for advice.
Give baby a bath
Chances are if your baby has eaten poop they are going to have it on their hands, clothes, and other places on their body. You don’t want to risk your baby going in for another taste of their poop, you need to get them washed asap.
A small amount of human poop shouldn’t cause too much damage, just make sure you get your baby all cleaned up to stop them from eating a dangerous amount of their own feces.
What To Do If Baby Eats Animal Poop?
Eating human poop is unlikely to cause severe illness, but eating animal poop is a whole other story. The fecal matter of some animals can be toxic to humans, carry parasites, and can cause severe symptoms and illness.
We have highlighted what to do if your baby eats animal poop, it is important to be aware of the symptoms and what to do in this situation.
What To Do If Baby Eats Cat Poop
Cat poop should never be consumed by humans as it can cause serious illness. Toxoplasmosis is a harmful disease that is caused by one of the parasites found in cat poop.
Consuming cat poop can cause Toxoplasmosis which can make your child very poorly. For most people, exposure to Toxoplasmosis will not cause symptoms or illness.
However, vulnerable people can become sick when exposed to it. Your baby will not have developed a strong immune system yet and is at risk of Toxoplasmosis if they eat cat poop.
If your baby ate cat poop, you need to clean them up, find a new home for the cat litter tray and make yourself aware of the symptoms of Toxoplasmosis. Symptoms to look out for in your child include:
- high temperature
- aching muscles
- feeling sick
- sore throat
- swollen glands
If your baby’s symptoms do not get better or you are concerned about your child’s health after they ate cat poop, get in touch with a pediatrician for advice.
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What To Do If Baby Ate Dog Poop
Dog poop doesn’t cause Toxoplasmosis like cat feces so you don’t need to worry about this disease if your baby takes a taste of your dog’s poop.
However, eating dog poop can still cause food poisoning-like symptoms and your baby will likely feel a bit unwell immediately after eating the fecal matter.
Eating dog poop may cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Most children are able to quickly move on from their poop-eating adventure, but others may become unwell.
If your child is ill, keep an eye on their symptoms and if they haven’t stopped vomiting after 24hours it is best to call your doctor for advice.
It is also important to remember, if your dog is not up to date on its worming treatment there is the potential your baby may have consumed feces containing worms or worm eggs.
Keep an eye out for symptoms of worms in your child – itchy and redness around their bottom and anus – and if you are worried, raise your concerns with a doctor who can recommend a safe worm treatment for your baby.
What To Do If Baby Ate Bird Poop
It may be easier than you think for your baby to accidentally eat bird poop. Think how often you see bird poop when you are out and about, all it takes is a second for a baby to stick their finger in it and have a little taste.
Eating bird poop is going to be an unpleasant experience for your child and can put them at risk of Salmonella.
Salmonella is an illness caused by bacteria that can be found in feces, including bird poop. The symptoms of Salmonella include vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps.
These symptoms usually last between 4-7 days, if your baby is not getting any better seek medical attention as they are at risk of becoming dangerously dehydrated.
What To Do If Baby Ate Mice Poop
Mice poop can be extremely harmful if consumed and you will need to seek immediate medical attention for your baby. Mice poop is full of harmful bacteria and can cause diseases such as Salmonella and Hantavirus.
These diseases can make your baby really sick so it is important you seek immediate advice from your doctor if your baby has eaten mouse poop.
If you have a pet mouse it is best to keep its cage out of reach of your baby and if there are wild mice in your home you will need to contact pest control in order to keep your baby safe.
Can Babies Get Sick From Eating Their Own Poop?
Most human poop is nontoxic and if consumed in small amounts should not make your baby sick. Baby poop is the ‘cleanest’ of all the different fecal matter.
Your baby is just drinking milk or – if over 6 months – only just starting to try different foods.
If your baby has eaten a lot of their own poop in one go, they may develop symptoms similar to food poisoning and you will need to give them regular sips of water to keep them hydrated.
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Is It Normal For Babies To Eat Poop?
Eating poop is more common than you may think. Babies and young children explore the world using their mouths.
If something sparks their curiosity, it is completely normal for them to want to put it in their mouth to explore it further. Sometimes babies may reach into their diaper and have a little taste of their own poops. It’s gross but totally normal.
Does Baby Poop Have Bacteria?
Newborn babies do not have any bacteria in their gut and therefore those first baby poops are bacteria-free too. However, over time bacteria begins to build inside your baby and their poop starts to becomes less ‘clean’.
Babies will not have the same bacteria diversity as an adult until they are around 12 months old. Does baby poop have bacteria? Yes but how much will depend on how old your child is.
The Final Thought
It is gross to think about, but babies eat poop. It happens. If you discover your child with a brown smeared face, try not to panic, wash them immediately, encourage them to drink water, and monitor their symptoms.
Eating human poop can be dangerous so if your baby has been eating the contents of their diaper, it is important you keep a close eye on them and seek medical attention if their symptom do not improve.