Why is my baby’s poop green and frothy?

As a mother, diaper checking is a fascinating and dutiful routine for you because your baby’s poop is an excellent indicator of his digestive health. There are factors you may want to consider when observing your baby’s bowel habit, which includes: the frequency and appearance (colour & texture) of his poop. A great source of concern for mothers is when they notice green poop in their babies’ diaper. The situation gets more alarming if their baby’s green poop is frothy or watery.

This article presents a factual analysis of the green and frothy poop occurrence in babies, together with its causes and solution.

Why is my baby's poop green and frothy?

Causes of green and frothy poop in babies

Read: When should babies poop become solid

Lactose overload

One of the major causes of frothy poop in babies is the lactose overload. It is common in breastfed babies under three months. It happens when there is a lactose imbalance in the baby’s gut. The baby consumes so much low-fat breast milk that his digestive system can’t break down the excessive lactose. This causes healthy bacteria to act on the lactose, causing green and frothy stool. Other symptoms of lactose intolerance include bloating, watery and acidic stool, restlessness, fussiness, etc. Lactose overload is also referred to as hindmilk/foremilk imbalance by some experts.

Fortunately, cases of lactose overload can be easily remedied. Breastfeeding mothers can feed their babies, both foremilk-hindmilk in a balanced way. The key to doing that is by switching sides when one breast is empty, to reduce your baby’s intake of high-fat milk.

Mother’s diet

Mother’s diet can be responsible for the baby’s green poop. For instance, if the mother eats leafy food or green food like kale, green beans, avocado, spinach or lettuce, it can affect the colour of the breast milk which can cause green poop in her baby. This situation can also occur if the mother takes any drink or candy with artificial green colouring.

For weaned babies, their poop can have a green tint if they eat baby foods containing greens or veggies, for example, spinach and peas. This type of green poop should not be a cause for worry.

Iron supplement

Formula-fed babies may pass out dark green poop, especially if their formula milk is iron-fortified. The dark green poop is a resultant effect of ‘healthy bacteria’ reacting to the iron in the formula. This is usually harmless.

Teething

Teething can be an extremely stressful time for the baby. The baby, at this stage, produces a lot of saliva which causes watery, green poop. Teething is the time when the baby’s teeth appear through the gum.

Cow milk intolerance

American Academy of Pediatrics advises mothers to steer clear of cow milk to lessen the likelihood of food allergy in babies. Especially for babies below six months, the damaging effect of cow milk to babies has been documented. Cases of green poop, watery/frothy poop, autoimmune reaction and intestinal blood loss have been reported. Studies have shown that cow milk has inadequate vitamin C and many other essential nutrients.

Read: How and When to Start Potty Training

How to prevent your baby from having green, frothy poop

  • Reduce your intake of too many greens and leafy veggies. They are, most times, responsible for green coloured poop in babies.
  • Never give your baby cow or bovine milk. It is the major cause of a wide range of digestive problems, from milk allergy to lactose overload.
  • Do not give your baby food items that may cause allergy or an unpleasant digestive reaction. Checking your family’s medical history will provide you with a hint on which food to avoid.
  • If your baby has a food allergy, it will be best to use an elimination diet which makes it easy to spot the allergen.

Conclusion

Most times, green poop occurrence in babies is natural and should not be a cause for worry. However, it is vital to monitor your baby for any accompanying symptoms or signs that may develop with it. It is important to seek urgent medical attention if you notice your baby has high fever, lack of appetite, rapid breathing or has dry diapers. If your baby is in excellent health but passes green poop, then it should not be frightened. Seek the advice of a paediatrician if it occurs repeatedly.

Read: Is green poop a sign of infection in babies

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