Baby Poop Smells Like Fish

Baby Poop Smells Like Fish


It’s not uncommon to become hyper-aware of your baby’s poop habits when you are a new parent. You may find yourself closely monitoring the frequency, consistency, and color of your baby’s bowel movements.

It’s normal for a baby’s poop to vary but some changes in texture, odor, and color can be a cause for concern. One such change that may worry parents is when their baby’s poop smells like fish.

In this blog post, we will explore the possible reasons why a baby’s poop may smell like fish, and what parents can do about it. We’ll cover topics like the potential causes of this change, such as bacterial infections, changes in diet, and more.

We’ll also touch on the signs of more serious conditions that may accompany a fishy smell in a baby’s poop, and provide tips on when to seek professional medical advice.


Why does my baby’s poop smell like fish?

When it comes to babies, it’s normal for their poop to have a distinct smell. However, if your baby’s poop smells like fish, it could be a sign of an underlying issue.

There are several possible causes of fishy-smelling baby poop:

Consumption of fish or seafood by the mother during pregnancy or breastfeeding can lead to the presence of certain compounds in breast milk or the baby’s digestive system that can result in fishy-smelling poop.

Bacterial or viral infections, such as salmonella or rotavirus, can also cause a fishy odor in the stool.

Digestive issues like lactose intolerance or celiac disease can affect the baby’s gut and lead to fishy-smelling poop.

Antibiotics or other medications can also affect the baby’s digestive system and result infected baby poop being in a fishy odor.

Dehydration can also contribute to fishy-smelling poop due to the concentration of waste products in the stool.

It’s also worth noting that breastfed babies can have poop that smells like rotten fish or eggs, but this is typically not a cause for concern as long as the baby is otherwise healthy. Additionally bright yellow, green poop is not necessarily a cause for worry either, especially if the baby is teething or if their diet has recently changed.

If you notice that your baby’s poop smells like fish or if you notice any other unusual signs or symptoms, it’s always best to seek professional medical advice. In severe cases, foul-smelling stools could be a sign of a more serious condition such as a Salmonella infection, so it’s important to monitor your baby’s bowel movements and seek help if needed


How to Deal with Fishy-Smelling Poop

If your baby’s poop smells like fish but they are otherwise healthy, there are a few things you can do to deal with the odor:

Determine the cause: Fishy-smelling poop can have several causes, such as an infection, milk allergy, or certain foods in the baby’s diet. It’s important to identify the cause so that you can take appropriate action.

Seek medical advice: If you’re unsure about the cause of your baby’s fishy-smelling poop, it’s best to consult a healthcare professional for advice. They may recommend some tests or suggest changes to the baby’s diet.

Check the baby’s diet: If the baby is formula-fed, it could be that the formula milk is causing a fishy smell. In this case, switching to a different brand or type of formula milk may help. If the baby is eating solid foods, try to identify if any particular food is causing the problem.

Maintain hygiene: Keep the baby’s changing table clean and wash your hands thoroughly after changing diapers. This will help prevent infections and the spread of bacteria.

Keep the baby hydrated: Encourage your baby to drink plenty of fluids, especially if they have diarrhea or are passing loose stools. This will help prevent dehydration.

Follow a regular feeding schedule: Feeding your baby on a regular schedule can help regulate their bowel movements and prevent constipation or diarrhea.

Remember, seek medical advice if you’re worried about your baby’s fishy-smelling poop or if they show other signs of illness.

Prevention Tips

Fishy-smelling poop in babies can be a cause of concern for many parents. Here are some prevention tips to help you deal with it:

  1. Watch baby’s diet: If the baby is formula-fed, try switching to a different brand of formula. In some cases, a milk protein allergy can cause a fishy odor. If the baby is breastfed, it’s important for the mother to watch her diet and avoid certain foods that may cause a change in stool odor.
  2. Keep baby clean: Clean your baby’s bottom thoroughly after each bowel movement. Use unscented wipes or warm water and mild soap to clean the area.
  3. Hydrate the baby: Ensure that the baby is well-hydrated to promote healthy bowel movements. This can be achieved by giving the baby water or electrolyte solutions as recommended by a healthcare professional.
  4. Monitor for other symptoms: If the fishy smell is accompanied by other symptoms such as abdominal cramps, watery diarrhea, or vomiting, seek professional medical advice immediately.
  5. Avoid contaminated water and food: Ensure that any food or water given to the baby is free from contamination. Contaminated food and water can cause bacterial infections, which can lead to foul-smelling poop.
  6. Introduce solids gradually: When introducing solid foods to the baby, do so gradually and monitor the baby’s bowel movements. Certain foods may cause a change in stool odor.
  7. Seek medical attention if necessary: In severe cases, fishy-smelling poop may be a sign of a bacterial infection, such as salmonella. If you suspect that the baby is acutely ill, seek professional medical attention immediately.

It’s important to note that some babies may have poop that smells like fish or rotten eggs from time to time, which is normal. However, if the odor persists or is accompanied by other signs, it’s important to seek professional medical advice.

When to See the Doctor with Fishy-Smelling Poop

Here are some signs that may indicate the need to see a doctor regarding a baby’s fishy-smelling poop:

  1. Diarrhea or constipation: If your baby has diarrhea or constipation for an extended period of time, it could indicate an underlying problem that requires medical attention. Diarrhea can lead to dehydration, which can be dangerous for infants, while constipation can cause discomfort and difficulty passing stool.
  2. Blood in the stool: The presence of blood in your baby’s stool can indicate a range of medical conditions, including infections, allergies, and inflammatory bowel disease. If you notice blood in your baby’s stool, seek medical attention immediately.
  3. Vomiting: While occasional vomiting is common in babies, persistent vomiting can indicate a more serious condition such as gastrointestinal obstruction or infection. Seek medical attention if your baby is vomiting frequently or if the vomit contains blood.
  4. Fever: A fever in a baby under 3 months old should always be taken seriously and evaluated by a doctor. A high fever can be a sign of a serious infection or other underlying medical condition.
  5. Lack of appetite: If your baby is refusing to eat or drink, it could be a sign of an underlying medical condition such as a digestive issue, infection, or dehydration. Seek medical attention if your baby is not feeding well.
  6. Irritability or lethargy: If your baby is unusually fussy or lethargic, it could be a sign of an underlying medical condition such as an infection or dehydration. Seek medical attention if your baby is unusually irritable or lethargic.
  7. Persistent fishy smell: If the baby’s poop consistently smells like fish, it may indicate an underlying health issue that requires medical attention.
  8. Watery diarrhea: If the baby is experiencing watery diarrhea along with the fishy smell, it may indicate an infection or other medical issue.
  9. Foul-smelling poop: If the baby’s poop has a strong and unpleasant odor, it may indicate a digestive problem that requires medical attention.
  10. Other symptoms: If the baby is showing other signs of illness, such as abdominal cramps or poor feeding, it may be a sign that medical attention is needed.
  11. Green stool: If the baby’s poop is green in color and has a fishy smell, it may indicate a problem with digestion or absorption of nutrients.

It is important to remember that every baby is different, and what may be normal for one baby may not be normal for another. If parents are ever worried or have questions about their baby’s health, it is always best to seek professional medical advice.

Other Types of Poop Smells and What it Means

Here are some different types of baby poop smells and what they may indicate:

Sour milk smell: If your baby’s poop smells like sour milk, it may be due to the consumption of too much lactose, especially if the baby is formula-fed. This could also indicate a milk protein allergy.

Rotten fish smell: A fishy odor in your baby’s poop could indicate a bacterial infection or contamination from certain foods or water.

Foul or smelly poop: A strong or foul odor from your baby’s poop could indicate poor digestion, especially if it persists over time.

Maple syrup smell: A sweet or maple syrup-like odor could be a sign of a rare metabolic disorder called maple syrup urine disease.

White stools: White or grayish stools could indicate a problem with the liver or bile ducts.

Green poop: Green poop is generally normal in breastfed babies, but could also indicate a sensitivity to something in the baby’s diet or formula.

It’s important to note that any sudden changes in your baby’s poop, especially if accompanied by other symptoms like fever, abdominal cramps, or vomiting, should be evaluated by a healthcare professional. Also, If you have any concerns about your baby’s poop or diet, it’s always best to seek professional medical advice.

Final Thought

Finally, baby poop is a natural process that parents need to deal with, but its smell can be quite unpleasant. While it is normal for a baby’s poop to have a distinct smell, certain factors such as formula milk or contaminated food can cause it to smell foul or like fish.

A bacterial infection or milk protein allergy can also cause changes in the baby’s stool in some cases. It is essential for parents to pay attention to the color, texture, and smell of their baby’s poop and seek professional medical advice if they notice any abnormal signs or symptoms.

Although changing a baby’s poop-filled diaper may not be the most pleasant task, many parents tend to get used to it over time.


Is it normal for baby poop to smell like fish?

No, it is not normal for baby poop to smell like fish. While baby poop can have a strong odor, a fishy smell can signal an underlying issue and should be evaluated by a healthcare provider.

Why does my child’s poop smell like fish?

There are a few possible reasons why a child’s poop might smell like fish . These could include bacterial infections, food allergies or intolerances, and digestive issues. It is best to seek medical advice to determine the cause.

What causes fishy-smelling stool?

A fishy-smelling stool can be caused by a variety of factors like bacterial infections, dietary choices, and underlying medical conditions like inflammatory bowel disease or some malabsorption syndromes

When should I worry about baby poop smell

If your baby’s poop has an unusual smell or consistency, or if your baby is experiencing other symptoms such as fever or vomiting, it is important to seek medical advice. Changes in poop smell can be a sign of an underlying issue that requires evaluation and treatment by a healthcare provider..



This post is written and edited by Sandy who is a clinical pharmacist with over 20 years of experience specializing in pre-natal and post-natal care.