Undigested food baby stool
Baby poo: a visual guide (photos)
by Polly Logan-Banks |
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What should baby poo look like?
Most new parents find baby poo quite surprising! It has so many shades and consistencies that even experienced parents may not have seen them all. This photo guide to baby poo will give you a good idea of what's normal and what's not as your newborn grows, drinks breastmilk or formula and starts eating solids.
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Newborn poo: meconium
Expect to find greenish-black, tarry, sticky stools in your newborn's nappy for the first few days. This is known as meconium (mec for short), and is made of amniotic fluid, mucus, skin cells and other substances your baby swallowed in the womb. It doesn't really smell, so you may not realise straight away when it's time for a nappy change.
When your baby is two to four days old, his stools will become less sticky and lighter in colour - sort of an army green. This transitional stool is a sign that he's started digesting breastmilk or formula.
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Healthy breastfed poo
If your baby is exclusively breastfed, his stools will become yellow or slightly green, and have a mushy or creamy consistency. Breastfed poo can look like mustard-coloured cottage cheese, and may be dotted with little seed-like flecks. It often smells surprisingly sweet.
There are many shades of normal when it comes to breastfed poo. Your baby may occasionally do a poo that seems a bit greener than usual. As long as he seems well in himself, there's no need to worry.
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Healthy formula-fed poo
Formula-fed babies have less runny stools that are often a similar colour and texture to peanut butter. They can vary from tan-brown or yellow-brown, to green-brown.
Formula-fed poo also smells a bit more like adult poo than breastfed poo does.
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Dark green or black poo
If you give your baby an iron supplement, his stools may turn dark green or almost black. This doesn't happen often, but it's a completely normal variation that would make Popeye proud.
If your baby's more than a few days old, his poo looks blackish, and he's not taking an iron supplement, see your GP as soon as possible. In rare cases, this can be a sign of bleeding in your baby's digestive system. It's not likely to happen to your baby, but you should get him checked out, just in case.
If there are black specks in your breastfed baby's poo, this could be a sign that he's swallowing blood from cracked and bleeding nipples. The blood turns black when your baby digests it.
It's always a good idea to get any blood in your baby's poo checked out by your GP, but in most cases, black specks are unlikely to be anything to worry about.
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Once your baby's eating solid foods, you'll quickly notice a change in his poos, especially if he's breastfed.
Solid-food stools tend to be brown or dark brown and thicker than peanut butter but still mushy. They're also smellier.
You may notice that your baby's poo takes on the colour of the food you give him. For example, if you feed him carrots, his next poo may be orange. And a beetroot poo can look quite alarming!
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Poo with partially digested food
Occasionally, your baby's poo will have identifiable chunks of food in it, particularly if you're doing baby-led weaning.
Not to worry! Your baby's still learning to chew, and his digestive system is still developing, so it's normal for some food to pass through his system without being fully digested.
If your baby’s poo consistently has undigested food in it, it's worth talking to your GP. She'll check to make sure your baby's intestines are working properly, and he's getting all the nutrients he needs.
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It's not uncommon for healthy babies to do the occasional explosive or runny poo. But if your baby does several runny poos with no lumps in them, he could have diarrhoea. It can be yellow, green, or brown, and may seep or explode out of the nappy.
Diarrhoea can be a sign of an infection or allergy, and if it lasts for a while without being treated, can lead to dehydration. If your baby has watery stools for more than a day or two, see your GP. Make an appointment sooner if he's showing signs of dehydration - such as fewer wet nappies or a sunken fontanelle – or has any other symptoms that concern you.
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If your baby's stool is hard and looks like little pebbles, it’s likely that he’s constipated. Your baby may be visibly uncomfortable when he's pooing and the poo may even be tinged with blood from irritating his bottom on the way out.
Constipation often happens in babies who are being introduced to solid foods, and it's usually nothing to worry about. But in some cases, constipation can be a sign of dehydration, a food allergy, or a medical condition. If you think your baby is constipated, it's worth having a chat with your health visitor, just in case.
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Poo with mucus
Does your baby's nappy look like it's been slimed? Greenish poo streaked with shiny, glistening strings means there's mucus in it. This sometimes happens when a baby is especially drooly, since mucus in saliva often remains undigested. It can also happen when he has a cold, as he'll naturally produce more mucus.
However, mucus in poo can also be a sign of an infection or allergy. If it happens for several days, or your baby has any other symptoms, see your GP to rule out any problems.
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Bloody poo: bright red blood
If you have a baby girl, you may notice a few specks of blood in her nappy a few days after the birth. This is known as a false period. It happens because of the surge in hormones your body experiences in pregnancy, which in turn stimulate your baby’s womb to produce a period. It's perfectly normal, and no cause for concern.
In boys, and girls after the first few days, bright red blood can show up in baby stools for a few different reasons. For example, constipation or nappy rash can irritate your baby's bottom and make it bleed. Or your baby may swallow a little blood if you breastfeed him with cracked nipples.
Although blood in your baby's nappy doesn't necessarily mean he's ill, it's always best to get it checked out, just to be on the safe side. It can sometimes be a sign of infection, allergies, or a problem with your baby's digestive system. So if you notice a bloody nappy, make an appointment with your GP, just in case.
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More advice and tips:
- Find out if it's normal for your baby to poo after every feed.
- Learn more about how starting solids can affect your baby's poo.
- Get tips to make nappy changes easier.
Thanks very much to the BabyCenter US parents (and their babies!) who contributed to this photo gallery.
Polly Logan-Banks is an experienced editor with a keen interest in producing evidence-based content. Polly is passionate about ensuring that every child gets the best start in life.
Are Chunks of Food in Baby Poop Normal? (Bananas, Carrots, and More)
A baby’s poop can tell you a lot about their development and overall health but if you happen to notice some chunks of food in your baby’s poop, is there a problem?
It is completely normal to find chunks of food in your baby’s poop if she is less than one year old because her digestive system has not fully matured and she likely does not chew her food into small enough pieces before swallowing. As your baby grows and becomes more comfortable eating solid foods her poop should return to normal consistency.
Keep reading to learn why some food might be more difficult for your baby to digest, and when to check in with a doctor if you’re worried about your little one’s digestive system.
Table of Contents
Is it normal to have chunks of food in baby poop?
Before having a baby, you probably steered well clear of poop. But now you know that a baby’s full diaper can actually tell you a lot about your little one’s overall health.
It’s pretty normal for your baby’s poop to contain small chunks of food. Especially if your baby has just started on solids or finger-foods, it can take a while for their digestive system to adjust. Pay attention to the factors we list below and if you continue to notice undigested food, a pediatrician can screen your baby for potential digestive issues.
Even though it might be startling to open your baby’s diaper and see chunks of food, rest assured that it’s a pretty normal experience!
As your baby hits the 6-month mark and starts eating solid foods, it’s important to remember that he or she is still learning how to eat. Eating is a complicated bodily process, and a baby’s digestive system has a lot to learn over the first year or so of their life. Even if your kiddo’s digestive tract is completely matured, they’re probably still missing out on some crucial, food-eating hardware: teeth.
Don’t forget that there are many variables when it comes to your baby’s digestion of solid foods. Here are the most important factors:
- Baby’s age and teething
- Type of food
- Preparation of food
- Breastfed vs formula-fed
Babies don’t usually have many teeth when they start on solids.
Teeth are an important part of the digestive process for babies because they break the food down into particles small enough to be digested easily. Without this initial step, it’s more likely that chunks of food will pass through your little one’s digestive system and end up in their diaper. As your child’s teeth continue to come in and they become more efficient and practiced at chewing their food, you’ll probably notice fewer chunks of food in their poop.
What are the chunks in baby poop?
If you do notice strange chunks in your baby’s poop, it’s most likely undigested food particles. Some foods are especially high in fiber, which makes it hard for the body to digest.
Common baby foods that are high in fiber can include:
- Grains (especially whole grains)
- Seeds (sunflower, sesame, etc.)
- Vegetable or fruit skins (tomatoes, grapes, etc. )
Fiber is an important part of a healthy diet, so even if you notice some chunks in your baby’s food, you’ll want to continue to feed them high-fiber foods. As your little one’s digestive system continues to mature, you should notice fewer chunky poops.
Is undigested food in baby poop normal?
It’s pretty normal to see undigested food in your baby’s poop.
Babies don’t have a full set of teeth when they first begin eating solids. Chewing food into smaller pieces makes it easier for the digestive enzymes to break down the remaining food particles. As your baby’s teeth come in and they learn to chew more thoroughly, more of their food will be completely digested.
Another important factor to consider is how often your baby poops.
The more time food has to sit in the digestive tract, the more digestive enzymes are able to break down the food particles. Babies poop seemingly all the time, which means that food doesn’t sit in their colon for very long. Because of the quick turnaround time, you’re more likely to see chunks of food in a baby’s poop.
Adults have a much longer turnaround time between bowel movements, so our stools are more likely to be completely digested.
Undigested milk in baby poop
Before your baby starts on solids, you might already be seeing undigested food in their diapers, especially if your baby is breastfed.
Breastfed babies generally have mustard-yellow poops that are often described as “seedy.” This “seedy” texture is actually caused by little bits of undigested milk fat, which is completely normal. If you’re seeing big white chunks in your baby’s poop, though, it’s probably not milk.
The whiteish color can actually be caused by a potentially dangerous liver problem, so if it continues for several consecutive bowel movements, you’ll want to check in with your child’s pediatrician ASAP!
Undigested formula in baby poop
If your baby is formula-fed, their poop color and texture can vary widely without any cause for concern. Sometimes, formula-fed diapers can even end up looking just as “seedy” as those produced by breastmilk.
If you’re seeing small bits of undigested formula in your baby’s diaper, it’s not a problem. It just means that your baby isn’t completely digesting all the formula they’re fed, and the extra is coming out the other side.
Of course, if your baby isn’t gaining the right amount of weight or seems lethargic, check in with a pediatrician.
Undigested corn in baby poop
Corn is one of the most common culprits for undigested food found in poop.
Even adult bodies can have a difficult time digesting corn completely! Corn has an outer shell made of cellulose, which your body can’t actually digest. The human body relies on specific enzymes to metabolize the chemical compounds present in food, and without the right enzymes, there are some chemicals that your body simply can’t process.
Even though you and your baby will never be able to digest the cellulose in the outer shell of corn kernels, that doesn’t mean that corn is a bad thing to eat. Your body can digest the food components inside the corn kernel, and those components include vitamins and minerals that help fuel your body. If you see what look like whole kernels of corn in your baby’s diaper, it’s probably just the outer shell of the corn that’s impossible to digest.
Your baby still got plenty of nutritional content from the inside of the corn, and the cellulose passed straight through their digestive system and out the other end.
Undigested banana in baby poop
Even though bananas are easy to digest, you might still find chunks of banana in your little one’s diaper.
The most likely culprit for big chunks is that stubborn lack of teeth that makes it extra tricky for your baby to get foods down to a manageable size. Bananas are dense and chock-full of good stuff, which means that even a small piece takes some time to digest completely.
Bananas can also cause small black ‘threads’ to show up in your baby’s poop. These threads are just the center of the banana, and are trickier for the body to process.
Undigested raisins in baby poop
Raisins contain a lot of fiber, which means they’re hard for the body to digest.
It’s not unusual for entire raisins to make their way through a baby’s digestive tract and end up completely unscathed in their diaper. Luckily, as your little one’s digestive system matures and slows down a bit, the diaper full of raisins should disappear.
Undigested grapes in baby poop
If you notice bits of undigested grapes in your baby’s diaper, it’s probably the grape skins.
Grape skins are extremely fibrous, which makes them particularly difficult for the body to digest. Also, breaking up grape skins without a full set of teeth is pretty much impossible. Doctors recommend waiting until your baby is around 10 months old before giving them grapes.
When you do start, make sure you thinly slice and lightly mash the grapes before giving them to your child. Whole, or even halved grapes, can be a major choking hazard.
Undigested blueberries in baby poop
Blueberries are very similarly structured to grapes, which means you might end up seeing some blueberry skins in your little one’s diaper.
If your baby swallows a whole blueberry, they might even poop out the entire blueberry, because their digestive system couldn’t get through the blueberry skin in order to digest the center parts. Because whole blueberries can be a choking hazard, cut them into small slices before giving them to your baby.
Slicing the berries will also make them easier to digest!
When to worry about food chunks in baby poop
Even though it can be startling to see chunks of food in your baby’s poop, it’s a pretty normal occurrence. There are, however, some warning signs associated with chunky poops that would warrant a visit with the pediatrician. Call them right away if:
- Diarrhea – Your child has diarrhea, you’ll likely see chunks of food in their diaper. Diarrhea is most often caused by a stomach bug, but if it doesn’t resolve within 24 hours, contact a doctor.
- Persistency – There are chunks of food in every single one of your baby’s diapers, it might be a sign of a bigger digestive problem.
- Weight Loss – Your little one is losing weight, or not gaining as much as they should, it might mean they aren’t getting the nutrients they need because of a digestive problem.
- Blood – There is blood in your child’s poop or their poop looks black, seek medical attention.
Any of the symptoms mentioned above should be discussed at your child’s next doctor’s appointment. If your baby seems lethargic, has bloody poop, or has diarrhea for more than 24 hours, seek medical attention immediately.
Undigested food in a child's feces: possible causes
It's no secret that the main indicator of a person's health is normal tests, which should have a certain appearance, smell and condition. First of all, we are talking about feces and urine. Of course, if, for example, the consistency of the child's feces is disturbed, this is already a reason for the mother to sound the alarm. The same reaction will follow if the baby has undigested food in the feces. Naturally, this ailment is typical not only for children, but also for adults, so it requires the most detailed consideration. So, let's try to figure out why undigested food appears in the feces, and how this problem can be eliminated.
What you need to remember
If we talk about an adult, then the feces should have a uniform consistency and color, without any inclusions, including lumps, particles of blood, mucus, and especially food.
When visiting the toilet, it is not out of place to check the appearance of the stool from time to time. If undigested food is found in the feces (pieces of peel, seeds, vegetables, nuts), then there is no reason for concern - this is the norm. If the food particles in the feces have a larger structure and are clearly visible to the naked eye, then you should take action and go straight to a specialist. Rest assured, he will be able to explain why undigested food appeared in the stool, and prescribe the right treatment for you.
Naturally, you should not hope for chance or try to help yourself. Do not forget that you can only aggravate the situation. Know that undigested food in the stool in some cases indicates the presence of serious disorders, and your task is to respond to them in a timely manner.
Causes of pathology in children
In the normal state of the child in the structure of feces sometimes there may be particles of coarse food: peel of vegetables, pieces of fruit, nuts. It is possible that the reason for this circumstance is the use of low-quality products.
Again, if a child does not experience discomfort and pain during bowel movements, and seeds are visible in his feces, pieces of fruit are not a problem. Another thing is when a baby, in addition to the fact that there is undigested food in the feces, blood and mucus are visible to the naked eye. You should also immediately go to the doctor if it is a pain.
The fact is that the abundant consumption of food of plant origin leads to the appearance of small accumulations of indigestible fiber. There is no enzyme in the body that would effectively cope with its splitting. Therefore, undigested food appears in the feces of a child. In this case, there is no need to consult a doctor, it is enough just to reduce the intake of fiber.
However, one more reason should not be forgotten explaining why undigested food is observed in the feces of a child. We are talking about such a childhood pathology as functional dyspepsia.
With such a disorder, the body not only breaks down food poorly - the baby has a deterioration in appetite, bloating, and the stool itself is liquid, with an admixture of mucus. Why does the above pathology occur? Firstly, this happens when the mother does not adhere to the diet, overfeeds the child. Secondly, the baby may erupt teeth. Thirdly, the diet may not correspond to the age characteristics of the child. Fourthly, the cause of the disorder sometimes lies in the use of drugs that weaken the secretory functions of the digestive tract. Remember that the pancreatic and intestinal juices of a toddler in the first months of life are produced in a limited volume, which is only enough to break down food to a mushy consistency. The older the baby gets, the stronger its digestive potential.
However, these are not all causes of undigested food in a child's stool. It should also be remembered about the banal dysbacteriosis.
The baby has a completely sterile intestine, but already from the first hours of life, the process of colonization of microflora in the body begins. With a deficiency of beneficial bacteria, the work of the intestine suffers, and the feces become liquid, lumps of food remain in them (reminiscent of rice grains), and a specific smell appears.
How to normalize the digestive functions of a child
In order for the treatment of intestinal disorders to be effective, it is very important to correctly identify the reasons why the baby has poor digestion. The doctor will prescribe the necessary tests, and in the laboratory they examine the feces with undigested food, after which the pediatrician will be able to build a therapy regimen.
In some cases, father and mother are able to independently adjust the child's diet. If during the period of breastfeeding the baby has loose stools interspersed with undigested food, then the mother needs to partially change the diet, excluding smoked, fried and salty foods. If such an adjustment does not give a positive effect, then you should consult a doctor.
If pieces of undigested food appeared in the feces as a result of the introduction of new foods into the diet, then you should refuse them for 3 weeks, and then try to eat them again. Did the undigested food particles appear in the child's stool again? Do not hesitate, contact a specialist. To minimize the risk of the problem in question, in no case do not force-feed the baby - he will eat as much as he needs.
Please note that "extra" food not only poses a threat to the appearance of unnecessary kilograms, but also contributes to dysfunction and inefficient functioning of the digestive organs without this.
If an adult is sick
As already noted, the human body does not have a special enzyme that could completely break down fiber. Naturally, in 99% of cases, it comes out through the intestines in its original form.
It should be noted that prostate dysfunction may also explain why undigested food is found in adult stool. In the latter case, it is necessary to urgently seek help from a specialist who will write out the necessary prescription for medications. Why else can adults have particles of undigested food in the feces? Firstly, too low acidity of gastric juice can contribute to this. Well, and secondly, the presence of certain ailments in the human body can also provoke the problem of poor-quality breakdown of food. In particular, we are talking about diarrhea, bloating, general malaise, pain in the intestines and stomach. Again, if the above symptoms occur, you should not self-medicate: you should immediately consult a doctor.
Only a specialist can make an accurate diagnosis after all the necessary tests have been carried out.
Of course, everyone has encountered a situation where the analysis left much to be desired, for example, the excrement appeared to have a different color, consistency or smell. Naturally, this is a serious reason to start worrying about your own health. However, do not despair. You cannot know in advance whether you are sick or not - only a doctor will determine this.
Treatment of digestive organs in adults
In order for the solution of the problem under consideration to be as effective as possible, some recommendations should be followed. In particular, you must refrain from drinking alcohol. Doctors, as a rule, resort to drug treatment in the form of substitution therapy ("Creon"). Artificial enzymes help to fill the deficiency of components responsible for the normal absorption and breakdown of nutrients.
If the function of digestion is upset due to banal gastritis with low acidity, then one of the main methods of treatment is the appointment of drugs that activate the production of hydrochloric acid ("Pentagastrin").
At the same time, the patient is taking the same substitution therapy (Pepsidil). In addition, the doctor prescribes to the patient drugs that neutralize the etiological factor ("Omeprazole").
Diarrhea can also cause undigested food to pass into the stool. The situation is exacerbated by such common digestive disorders as colitis and gastroenteritis. In the latter case, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antidiarrheal and rehydration drugs are used. Only a specialist can prescribe the right medicines for you, so the last paragraph should not be considered as some kind of guide to action.
Undigested food stool in a child - Gastroenterology - 08/27/2019
anonymous, Woman, 31 years old
Good afternoon. The child is 3.8 years old. From birth, we suffer with the stomach, the feces were not formed for a long time, food is poorly digested. They put enzyme deficiency, plus jvp. But closer to 3 years it got better, for almost a year nothing tormented me, the stool was normal, I ate everything. But in July, we caught rotavirus at sea, and we can’t cope after it. Again, the stool is not restored, they tested the feces for infections and viruses, nothing was found. But the stool is not overturned, it happens with foam or mucus. At first they themselves were treated with interol smecta, it helped a little, but one day he began to walk with only mucus, then the doctor prescribed enterofuril for 4 days, then bifid bacteria and mezim, on entrofuril it was better, then it worsened again on bizyufidobakterich, now the doctor prescribed sporobacterin and mezim, a little the stool became denser, but not better with reattachment. We are on a diet. We will pass coprology and dysbacteriosis, I want to do an ultrasound. What would you recommend to drink while the tests are being done.
Answered by Lyudmila Viktorovna Kapustina
gastroenterologist, pediatric gastroenterologist
Hello! Rule out food intolerances. Visit the children's allergist - will write out inspection.
anonymous (Female, 23 years old)
Frequent stools in a child 1 5 years old
Hello. Daughter 1.5 years old. A couple of weeks ago I began to defecate frequently. There were many fragments of undigested food in the stool, a little bit of stool almost every time after eating. The consistency is mushy. Per day...
anonymous (Female, 26 years old)
What chair should a child have 1 10
Hello! We had a problem with the intestines from 3 weeks of age. Either diarrhea, then constipation, gases suffered for a long time, up to six months somewhere. After the introduction of complementary foods, the problem began to recede. Now I...
anonymous (Female, 36 years old)
Loose stools in a child after antibiotics
Hello! My son is 10 months old, breastfeeding plus complementary foods. About 3 weeks ago he fell ill and was prescribed cefazolin, after which the child developed loose stools. They took tests for intestinal infections, all negative. The doctor prescribed bifidumbacterin ...
Elena Boyarchuk (Female, 2 years old)
Hello! I will describe everything from the very beginning, the child vomited undigested food 3 times a day, t 39 rose, they called an ambulance and a district police officer, they said a sore throat, the child complained of pain in the abdomen, ...
Hello, please help my daughter, 3 years and 5 months old, born 2800 49 cm, received cefotoxime from birth, as the doctors said for prevention, she gained weight well until half a year, ...
anonymous (Female, 24 years old)
Baby has loose stools for 3 months please help with advice
Hello!!! My daughter (1.