White Curds in Baby Poop: Causes, Symptoms And When To Worry

Image: iStock

IN THIS ARTICLE

White curds (streaks or chunks) in baby poop are not always a cause of concern. The undigested fat globules of breast milk may be excreted along with the poop in breastfed babies. Formula-fed babies may also experience the same symptoms. Apart from poop discoloration, medical attention is suggested if your baby shows symptoms of an allergic condition or other disorders.

Read this post to learn about the possible causes of white curds in baby poop and signs that suggest the need to see a doctor.

Causes Of White Chunks In Baby Poop

The appearance of white chunks in the poop of breastfed or formula-fed babies is fairly normal. They may be clumps of undigested milk fat or undigested excess breast milk or formula protein that curdled.

Other common reasons for white curd in baby poop are (1) (2)

  • Undigested food: If your baby has started consuming solid food, the white chunks in their poop may be undigested bits of food. It happens because babies cannot chew properly, and their digestive system is still adapting and developing as they grow and are introduced to new foods.
  • Infection/illness: Although it is uncommon for breastfed baby poop to have white chunks because of food allergy or illness, you cannot rule out this possibility. If you notice signs of irritability, fever, pale or whitish frothy stool, and uncontrollable crying, consult your doctor.

Symptoms That May Accompany White Curds In Baby Poop

Although it is normal for babies to pass stool containing milk curds, consult your pediatrician if you notice the following symptoms as well.

  • Pale poop: Pale yellow or gray poop may signify that the baby’s liver is not producing enough bile (3).
  • White poop: Grayish or white poop in babies could indicate a blocked liver or biliary atresia. Though these conditions are rare in newborns, they should not be ruled out and require emergency evaluation by a doctor.

Other Colors Of Baby Poop

The color of normal baby poop varies as they grow, depending on their food, bowel function, and gut health. However, some common colors of normal poop are as follows (4):

  • Black poop: Also known as meconium, this is the baby’s first poop after birth. Black poop contains all the substances that the baby ingested while in the womb.
  • Yellow poop: Your baby’s poop will eventually look yellowish and grainy in the first week after birth.
  • Green poop: Once your baby starts consuming solids, the color of their poop may change depending on what they eat. Green baby poop signifies a diet rich in iron or iron supplements or can be due to green leafy vegetables.
  • Brown poop: It signifies healthy digestion with no cause of worry.
  • Red poop: If your child had anything containing food colors or beetroots, red poop is normal. However, if you notice specks of blood in the poop, consult your doctor as it may be a sign of constipation.

Signs To Call A Doctor

White chunks in baby poop are not a cause for concern. However, consult your healthcare provider if the following signs accompany it (5) (6):

  • Diarrhea with blood specks in the poop
  • Gassiness
  • Pain in the stomach or abdomen
  • Pale yellow, white, or clay-colored poop
  • Lactose intolerance symptoms such as belly bloating, excess gas, or abdominal pain
  • Symptoms of a milk allergy, such as wheezing, vomiting, and fussiness after feeding
  • Frothy poop with mucus

Regardless of whether your baby is breastfed or formula-fed, white chunks in their poop may be clumps of undigested milk fat, which will go away as their digestive system develops. However, if your baby shows signs of discomfort or fever accompanied by pale or whitish poop, or any other worrisome symptoms, contact your doctor for advice.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Do food allergies cause white chunks in my baby’s poop?

There is no evidence that food allergies cause chunks in baby poop. Food allergies in babies can be associated with diarrhea, blood, vomiting, skin rashes, colic or abdominal discomfort, and breathing difficulties (7).

2. What to do about white chunks in baby poop?

Look for the coexisting signs and symptoms when your baby has white chunks in poop. If they are healthy and not fussy or irritated, it can be undigested breast milk or other foods in already weaning babies. Liver problems can also cause white stool in babies due to a lack of bile. You should seek a pediatrician’s consultation in such cases.

Infographic: Symptoms Related To White Baby Poop And When To See A Doctor

White baby poop, though not of a regular occurrence, could indicate an underlying medical problem such as a liver problem when frequent. Here is an infographic describing the normal and abnormal signs associated with an infant’s white stools and when to seek medical help.

white chunks in baby poop whats normal and what is not [infographic]
Illustration: MomJunction Design Team

Key Pointers

  • White curds in the feces of newborns who are breastfed or fed formula are very common.
  • White curd in baby poop can be caused by undigested food, food allergies, or sickness.
  • Consult your pediatrician if you notice pale yellow or grey poop in babies along with feces containing milk curds.
  • If your baby exhibits lactose intolerance signs such as wheezing, vomiting, or fussiness shortly after feeding, contact your pediatrician immediately.

References:

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
Was this article helpful?
thumbsupthumbsdown
The following two tabs change content below.

Sanjana Bhattacharjee

Sanjana did her post graduation in Applied Microbiology from Vellore Institute of Technology, India. Her interest in science and health, combined with her passion to write made her convert from a scientist to a writer. She believes her role at MomJunction combines the best of both worlds as she writes health-based content based on scientific evidence. Sanjana is trained in classical... more

Dr. Jessica Madden

(MD, FAAP, IBCLC)
Jessica Madden is a pediatrician, neonatologist, lactation consultant, and mother of four, who has been taking care of newborns since 2001. She works as a neonatologist in the NICU at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio, and founded Primrose Newborn Care, a newborn medicine and “4th trimester” home-visiting and telemedicine practice, in 2018.  Dr. Madden is a Fellow... more