July 15, 2024

Vita Nectar

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

7 min read

White curds in baby poop or streaks and chunks in poop are not always a cause of concern. The undigested fat globules of breast milk may be passed along with the excretion of 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.

Dr. Cindy Rubin, MD, IBCLC, a board-certified pediatrician and breastfeeding specialist from Westchester, Illinois, says, “White cottage cheesy chunks or curds in baby poop are not uncommon. We see this a lot, especially in breastfed babies but it can be in formula-fed babies. Poops change so frequently in babies that the colors could be almost anything in the rainbow.”

Other common reasons for white curd in infant 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.
protip_icon Quick tip
After starting solids, if your baby’s stools are watery and full of mucus, it may signify that their digestive tract is irritated. In such cases, introduce new foods slowly and reduce the amount of food you are feeding (3).
Undigested food may cause white curds in baby poop

Image: Shutterstock

  • Infection/illness: Although it is uncommon for breastfed baby poop to be lumpy or 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 texture, and uncontrollable crying, consult your doctor.

Symptoms That May Accompany White Curds In Baby Poop

Liver issues in baby may cause pale or white poop

Image: Shutterstock

Although it is normal for babies to discharge 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 movement and 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.
protip_icon Be watchful
Although yellow poop is common in breastfeeding babies, it should turn brown as the baby turns old. Yellow stool may indicate fat malabsorption and must be brought to your pediatrician’s notice (1).
  • 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.
Beetroot may cause red poop in babies

Image: Shutterstock

Signs To Call A Doctor

Call a doctor if the baby has pain in the stomach or abdomen.

Image: Shutterstock

White chunks in baby poop are not a cause for concern. Dr. Rubin adds, “Pediatricians will only truly worry about bloody (red), pitch black (digested blood), or stark white (problem with the liver) poop. The white would need to be throughout the whole poop for it to be worrisome, not just little chunks. If you see those colors, you should call your doctor right away. I would only worry about food intolerance if the baby is eating poorly, seems in pain with or after eating, or isn’t gaining weight well.”

However, consult your healthcare provider if the following signs accompany it (5) (6):

  • Diarrhea with blood specks in the poop
  • 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-like consistency with mucus
protip_icon Quick tip
You can manage milk allergy in formula-fed babies by switching to amino acid-based formula or extensively hydrolyzed formula. However, you can make this switch only after consulting your child’s doctor (6).

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 cottage cheese-like 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.

Whether your little one is breastfed or formula-fed, you may sometimes notice white curds in baby poop. Most commonly, this is a sign of undigested milk residue or fat and will eventually go away as your baby grows and their digestive system develops. However, do not ignore this symptom if it is accompanied by white or pale poop, as it may indicate liver problems. Also, consult your healthcare provider promptly if your baby develops signs of diarrhea with blood in their poop, gas, or abdominal pain.

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.

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Dr. Jessica Madden
Jessica Madden is a pediatrician, neonatologist, lactation consultant, and mother of four, who has been taking care of newborns for more than 19 years now. 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.

Read full bio of Dr. Jessica Madden


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