Reasons Why Your Toddler’s Poop Smells Like Mothballs

Babies poop, and the smell and consistency of their poop can give us clues about their health. If your baby’s poop smells like mothballs, it’s important to take them to a doctor to get a diagnosis. There are many possible causes, including vitamin deficiency, food allergy, and infection. Don’t try to diagnose the problem yourself, as this could make things worse.

How to Tell if your Baby’s Poop is Normal or Smelly

One of the things that you need to know as a parent is how to distinguish between normal and smelly poop for your baby. This can help you identify when there is a problem and when you need to see your doctor. The frequency and consistency of your baby’s poop are the main indicators of their health.

A normal poop for your baby is when they have at least three soft and sometimes watery stools per day, with some bits of food in them. This means that your baby is digesting their food well and absorbing enough water.

A normal poop for your baby will also have a mild odour, but not too strong or unpleasant. This is because your baby is eating a mixture of your milk and semi-solid food, which produces a normal-smelling poop, similar to any other person’s poop.

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Possible Causes of Mothball-Smelling Poop in Your Toddler

Possible Causes of Mothball-Smelling Poop in Your Toddler

If you smell mothballs when you change your toddler’s diaper, you may be alarmed and curious about what is going on. Mothball-smelling poop is not normal and can indicate some health issues for your toddler. However, you should not try to diagnose the problem by yourself. You should always consult a doctor for a proper evaluation and treatment.

Some of the common causes of mothball-smelling poop in your toddler are:

  • Constipation: Your toddler may have difficulty passing stools or may poop less frequently than usual. This can cause the poop to become hard and dry, and to smell like mothballs. Constipation can be caused by various factors, such as lack of fiber or fluid intake, or changes in diet or routine.
  • Digestive Problems: Your toddler may have some problems with their digestive system, such as a viral infection, a malabsorption disorder, or an imbalance of gut bacteria. These problems can affect the way your toddler breaks down and absorbs the nutrients from their food, and can result in a foul-smelling poop.
  •  Food Allergies: Your toddler may be allergic or sensitive to some foods that they are eating or that you are eating if you are breastfeeding. Some of the common food allergens are dairy, eggs, nuts, soy, wheat, and fish. These foods can cause inflammation and irritation in your toddler’s gut, and can make their poop smell like mothballs.
  • Lactose Intolerance: Your toddler may not be able to digest lactose, which is the sugar found in milk and dairy products. This can cause gas, bloating, diarrhea, and a mothball-like odor in their poop. Lactose intolerance can develop when your toddler starts to consume more dairy products, such as cheese, yogurt, or cow’s milk.
  • Gluten Intolerance: Your toddler may not be able to tolerate gluten, which is a protein found in wheat and other grains. This can cause similar symptoms as lactose intolerance, such as gas, bloating, diarrhea, and a mothball-like odor in their poop. Gluten intolerance can develop when your toddler starts to eat more bread, pasta, cereals, or baked goods
  • Mothball Exposure: In rare cases, your toddler may have been exposed to mothballs, either by ingesting them or by coming into contact with them through their clothes. Mothballs are toxic and can cause serious health problems, such as nausea, vomiting, headache, seizures, or coma. Mothballs can also be absorbed through the skin and cause a mothball-like odor in their poop.

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What to do if Your Toddler’s Poop has a Mothball Odor

A mothball odor in your toddler’s poop is not normal and can indicate some health issues that need to be addressed. However, you should not try to solve the problem on your own.

If your toddler’s poop smells like mothballs, it is usually not a serious issue but should be addressed. It is recommended to consult a doctor to determine the underlying cause and find appropriate solutions.

The doctor may advise avoiding certain foods, providing a vitamin supplement, increasing fibre intake, or prescribing antibiotics if there is a gut infection.

It is important not to try to diagnose the issue yourself as it can be challenging to pinpoint the exact cause. Delaying diagnosis may increase the risk of your child’s health deteriorating.


While a mothball-like smell in your child’s poop is not a major concern, it could indicate a lack of nutrients or an allergy. Seeking medical advice is crucial for prompt resolution.

Remember, if the mothball smell persists, it is important to address the issue quickly rather than dismissing it as normal.

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