Since my readers are more suitably new mothers, I want to tell you all that if your toddler starts to excrete sweet smelling poop, you need to consult a pediatrician! It was only last week when I got a phone call from a worried neighbor –she called me up and sounded distressed about her infant’s weird smelling poop.
Since I am a layman, I had to do prior research and found out that lactose intolerance is often the reason for sweet smelling poop.
Moreover, it is not often dangerous. I am narrating my experience.
What is lactose intolerance?
When I paid a visit to my neighbor, I found that her baby was suffering from watery and sweet-smelling diarrhea. The child even had the skin of her bottom red and sore. What I figured out is that the experience is altogether itchy. I calmed her down and told her that the child is most possibly suffering from lactose intolerance which is common but not dangerous.
Lactose is one of the primary ingredients for your baby’s health and development. It helps your baby by providing 40 % of the total energy which in turn boosts iron and calcium absorption.
When a child is lactose intolerant, it means that the infant’s body is being unable to produce enough lactase. This enzyme is necessary to digest the lactose which is the primary sugar present in breast-milk, cow’s milk or other dairy product.
This undigested lactose remains in the intestine and often cause gastrointestinal problems like sweet smelling poop. However, although the problem tends to become uncomfortable, it is not dangerous!
Babies that are born prematurely sometimes are incapable of producing optimum amounts of lactase. However, during the end of the last trimester of pregnancy, the baby’s lactase level increases typically.
How is lactose intolerance caused?
It’s very natural to worry if your dear child starts to excrete sweet smelling poop. I have tried to bring together all I could find to help mothers out. There are primarily three leading causes of lactose intolerance:
1. Lactase non-persistence or hypolactasia: This is a genetic syndrome and very common with hitting nearly 70% of people suffering from lactose intolerance. This sets off when a child’s lactase enzyme gradually starts to decrease. Symptoms begin to become visible with the age of five but are more vividly noticeable in teenagers to young adults.
2. Congenital lactase deficiency or alactasia: This too is genetic but is extremely rare and happens when babies are born without any lactase enzymes. This kind of lactose intolerance causes severe diarrhea from the very first day. The remedial measure is to incorporate a special diet as suggested by a pediatrician.
3. Secondary lactose intolerance: If your child is under attack by the tummy bug called Rotavirus, or from parasites such as giardiasis or cryptosporidiosis, he or she will suffer from gastroenteritis. This syndrome irritates the lining of the small intestine and stomach. In breastfed babies, this malabsorption can come from food proteins like cow’s milk, wheat, egg or soy.
This extra protein can enter breastmilk from the mother’s diet or from food that your baby has consumed.
A coeliac disease which is intolerance towards gluten can also cause secondary lactose intolerance. A lactose intolerance caused of this kind is temporary, and the health of your child will increase within a few weeks.
Which symptoms to look for in your child?
While there is nothing much to worry about, an observant eye will quickly detect the problem of lactose intolerance in infants. The easiest way to catch the problem is to look for the weird stench coming from your child’s windy, unsettled and lots of sweet smelling poop.
If your child is lactose intolerant, he or she will have recurrent diarrhea, bloating or gas or abdominal cramps.
This will start within 30 minutes to 2 hours after consuming breastmilk or solid dairy products like cheese or yogurt. Moreover, please do not forget that your baby should not intake cow’s milk until his or her first birthday! The other symptoms that you should look for:
1. Poor weight gain: Not all infants keep on gaining weight well, and some may even refuse to flourish as the milk is going through the gut too rapidly to be processed and ingested. Even if the mother’s milk is booming with stimulation, the child’s body is not being to ingest and thus not thrive.
2. Blood in stools: Over time, a lot of undigested lactose can chafe the lining of the digestive organs. This lining often causes a severe disturbance. Sometimes, this can result in blood in small measures to seep into stools that can often be misdiagnosed as a food allergy.
3. Evening colic: While babies are often cheerful throughout the day, they might appear sullen with colic syndromes as the evening sets in. Though the association with the evening is yet to be figured out by me!
4. Nappy rash: Though it’s difficult to pinpoint a particular reason for nappy rash, lactose intolerance is often sought as one of the causes.
5. Lousy poop: While the poop is repellently sweet, your child will excrete explosive green or yellow froth which often varies to foamy or watery mucous poop with excessive bloating.
6. Cranky behavior: Your child might turn out to be agitated and aggressive throughout the day. The child might also turn restless with incessant crying.
If you notice these symptoms in your child and feel that your child is lactose intolerant, contact your pediatrician for better suggestions. The other thing that I must let you know is that even if your ward shows these symptoms, he or she might not necessarily be lactose intolerant! So it’s always strict advice to follow-up medically.
What should a mother do?
Once you have deciphered the reason behind your child’s sweet smelling poop, knowing what to do will eventually improve the symptoms, and you will not have to stop breastfeeding.
1. Avoid recurrent breastfeeding: When the feeding times are close together, the fat content in breastmilk increases. If a mother is maintaining a proper schedule with proper gaps between breastfeeding, it eventually causes a lower amount of fat production. Shortened feedings will eventually provide the baby’s body time to allow the proper passage of lactose and eventual healthy digestion.
2. Stay on one breast if needed: In a few circumstances where the infant is colicky from getting excessively milk too rapidly, fixing the latch and completing one side before offering the other bosom does not work. It might be advantageous to try giving one bosom at feeding or even two feedings consecutively.
The mother should know this may make her drain generation diminish, and that the child may object since he’s not getting as much milk as he needs—regardless of whether he is putting on weight well. This method results in an optimum fat balance.
3. Be flexible with breastfeeding: With the above being said, feeding plans like “block feeding” which means staying on one breast for a set of feeds, needs to be flexible. What might keep a fussy child calm for the first two months, might need to change as growth sets in? Rules and breastfeeding must run parallel with flexible.
It is always a good idea to make sure that the child finishes one side before moving to the other which helps in gaining weight. However, this same idea can also turn out to be dubious!
There is no point if the baby is sucking for more extended periods without any milk intake. To keep the lactose amount in balance, you should first finish one side and if the child desires more, offer the other.
4. Mother’s diet: A proper diet with optimum levels of lactose is necessary for the mother to consume. Although the lactose production in the breast and the lactose intake by the mother does not make a difference in lactose content in breastmilk, pediatricians suggest for dietary alternatives.
Recent studies have shown that a mother’s dietary pattern with low fat can result in her child’s lactose intolerance.
Moreover, if a baby is sensitive to cow’s milk protein found in breast milk, he or she might suffer from gastrointestinal inflammation and irritation which is a symptom of lactose intolerance.
What is milk allergy?
It is a recurrent dilemma to confuse lactose intolerance with milk allergy.
However, milk allergy and lactose intolerance are never the same! The former is strictly an immune response while the latter is a digestive condition. If your child after consuming milk products shows side reactions like a dry, itchy rash or the swelling of the lips, face and mouth, hives, watery eyes or a running nose, he or she is allergic to milk products or specifically to the protein present in cow milk. However, diarrhea and abdominal pain are caused both by allergies and lactose intolerance!
Sweet smelling poop should not worry you much. It is recommended to book a visit to your home pediatrician. Getting a clear idea about the symptoms will enable a precise detection of the problem involved.
Follow the above-mentioned simple regulations to keep your child healthy and active. Meanwhile, you start working on changing dietary patterns, watch out for foods like milk ice-cream and milk desserts, processed and spread cheese, muesli bars, and excessive potatoes. And never forget when your kids are happy your entire family will be happy too.