If you notice white poop in your baby’s diaper, you may wonder what’s going on and whether you should be worried. White baby poop can sometimes be a sign of a blockage in a baby’s liver. This blockage is called biliary atresia, and it needs prompt treatment. However, white poop isn’t always serious.
White baby poop, as well as chalky grey or pale yellow poop, can sometimes be caused by a liver blockage. Your baby’s liver cells produce bile, a liquid that helps their body break down fat. In babies with biliary atresia, bile can’t drain out of the liver and gets trapped inside. When bile builds up in the liver, it can quickly damage and scar the liver cells, resulting in cirrhosis. Eventually, biliary atresia can cause liver failure, which is very serious.
Biliary atresia usually appears when babies are between 2 and 8 weeks old. Parents may notice other symptoms in addition to the white poop. Your newborn baby may have jaundice, which causes their skin and eyes to turn yellow. They may lose weight or cry more than normal. Babies with a liver blockage can also develop puffy stomachs because their liver is swollen.
If your baby has white poop and looks or acts sick, consult their doctor right away. If a blockage is suspected, the doctor can perform tests to make a diagnosis. These tests could include blood tests, ultrasound scanning, X-rays or a liver biopsy. While there’s no medication to cure a liver blockage, doctors can perform surgery to get the bile flowing again. This surgery has a good success rate, and the younger the baby is when it’s performed, the more successful it’s likely to be.
However, a liver blockage isn’t the only cause of white poop in babies. Sometimes, babies can get white poop from a milk-only diet. If your baby has white poop but otherwise seems fine, this may be all that’s wrong. If the white poop occurs two or more times, it’s still a good idea to get them checked out by a doctor.
Sometimes, a baby’s normal brown, green, or yellow poop is flecked with a white substance. When you see these white things in poop, don’t worry. While it looks strange, it’s actually totally normal. In babies who eat solid food, it could be undigested food.
If your baby is breastfed, the white substance in stool may look like little white seeds or flecks of cottage cheese. They’re just milk fat that didn’t break down in your baby’s digestive system.