White Poop In Babies – Causes And Symptoms

5 min read

A baby’s first poop can be quite concerning for a parent. The almost black color can give a new mother quite a scare if she is not prepared for it or has not heard about it. As the baby grows, the poop consistency and color also changes. It is a known fact that the foods we eat can influence the color of our stools. It is more so for children as they tend to eat a lot of colored foods and their little bodies might process these foods differently. Have you noticed your child’s stools are pale or almost white in color? What does white poop mean? Read on to know more about it.

White Poop In Babies

White Poop in Babies?

If you happen to spot white poop in that soiled diaper, it is definitely time to get worried. Babies go through different poop colors as they grow up. While most can be influenced by the colour of the food they eat, white is definitely not one of them

When your baby is not producing enough bile in the liver, the stools may be pale or even white in color. The bile produced in the liver is responsible for the yellowish tinge in stools. The lesser the bile produced, the whiter the stools.

Causes for White Poop in Babies

constipation in babies

As mentioned above, the main reason for white stools could be the lack of sufficient bile in the body. The liver is the organ responsible for producing bile in our body. When the liver is not functioning properly, the bile production can be high (jaundice) or low and result in white poop.

Some of the other reasons for white stools could be:

  1. Liver Blockage: A block in the liver preventing the bile from reaching the intestine.
  2. Biliary Atresia: A condition where babies are born with a constricted bile ducts.
  3. Gall Stones: Bile is stored in the gall bladder. A tumour or stone in the gall bladder blocking the bile from coming out can cause white stools.
  4. Medication: Antibiotics and few other medicines like antacids which contain aluminium hydroxide.
  5. Anemia: The lack of sufficient iron content in the blood.
  6. Constipation: Indigestion might cause white stools along with some red. Read here to know more on constipation in babies.
  7. Cirrhosis: A liver disease that causes the liver to thicken and damages the liver cells.
  8. Hepatitis: Another liver disease that can affect the production of bile.
  9. Barium: A white substance used while taking an X-Ray of the digestive tract.

Symptoms That May Accompany White Poop/Stool – In Babies and Toddlers

If your child shows or you notice the following symptoms along with the white stools, you need to be concerned:

  • Yellow skin and eyes. This can indicate jaundice in your child caused by the low/no bile production or other liver-related issues
  • Severe stomach ache to indicate gall stones or a tumor which can be dangerous if left unchecked
  • Constant crying can indicate your baby is uncomfortable or in pain
  • Dark-colored urine is another indication of a liver issue
  • Itchy skin

All of these symptoms are not common and need to be checked by a doctor immediately. Ignoring these symptoms along with the white poop might not only increase the discomfort in your child but can worsen the health condition too.

When liver issues are not checked and treated in time, it can affect other organs in the body and even result in severe scarring of the liver or even complete liver damage.

baby crying

Is White Poop/ Stool in Children Dangerous?

White stools are not dangerous as long as the baby does not exhibit any other symptoms. If the white stool is a one-off incident, especially following some white-colored food, it is not a cause for concern.

However, if your baby shows discomfort and other symptoms, makes white poop regularly, and is not on any medications, it can be an indication of something serious in their body. If left unchecked, small liver issues can result in severe damages. Sometimes, unchecked liver diseases can result in liver failure too.

White Substances in Poop

If your baby’s poop is normally brown or yellow in color but is filled with white substances, don’t fret. It could be just some undigested food. Babies who have started eating solid foods mostly don’t chew well until they are a little older. These un-chewed or undigested chunks of foods can be found in the stool.

This can happen especially when your baby has been eating white-colored solid foods. This can even be balls of cooked rice or pieces of nuts. When your baby just swallows it, many of them just pass out of the body without being digested.

If you notice white substances or food chunks; try to mash the food well before feeding it to your child. You can also teach them to chew well and offer small bites of food which they can chew better.

When to Consult a Doctor?

A baby’s poop should not be white in color. Period! When your baby has white or pale-colored stools, watch out for other symptoms mentioned above. If the next poop also comes out white, please consult your doctor right away.

If it is some medication your child is on, the doctor will be able to advise you accordingly. However, if it is some issue with the liver, you would rather get it checked right away than procrastinate thinking it is just something your baby ate.

Sometimes if your baby is completely on just milk, after they have been introduced to solids; then this could also be the reason for the pale or white-colored stools. The body has started solid foods and sudden removal of foods with color can cause white stools. This is not very common but is possible. Many babies are born with a high bile content resulting in jaundice at birth. However, babies having low or no bile production leading to white-colored stools is not a common phenomenon. As a parent, you ought to be concerned about this.

It is quite normal for a baby’s poop color to change as they grow and eat different foods and medications. However, white poop for many days or repeatedly without any proper explanation is a definite cause for concern. It is never “unnecessary” to check with your doctor when you feel something is “off” with your child. Let the professionals handle your queries and reassure you about the health of your baby.

baby sitting on chamber pot

FAQ’s

1. What is the Color of the Normal Stool for Children?

Normally stools range between yellow to brown and sometimes even green in color if the baby eats too many green-colored foods.

2. How Long Will the White Stools Last?

If it is caused by medications, the stool color must change back within a day or two after stopping the medication. If it lasts longer, then there is an underlying issue you need to check out with a doctor.

3. When Should You Not Worry About White Poop?

If your baby has suddenly shifted back to milk only diet or is on medications, white poop should not be a concern. If the poop color changes back the next time and the child does not show any other symptoms, you need not worry about the white stools.

Read Also: Why Is My Baby’s Poop Green?

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