Oral thrush in babies that breastfeed
Oral thrush in infants, which is more common at about four weeks of age, may occur more than once. It usually clears by itself, but there are ways to avoid and/or treat it...
A yeast or thrush infection happens when Mom and/or Baby’s natural flora and bacteria have become imbalanced.
Is oral thrush contagious?
A baby with oral thrush, can infect a mother during breastfeeding; this is why it is so important that Mom and Baby get treatment together, even if Mom is not showing any signs of thrush. This is to prevent reinfection.
If a mother has a yeast infection on her breasts or nipples, she could also infect her baby.
Oral thrush symptoms in Baby
(Some babies with oral thrush, may not have any symptoms of oral thrush)
- Cottage cheese like substance inside and around your baby’s mouth and tongue. The patches may bleed if rubbed off. They may appear as a rash too.
- An infant with oral thrush may be uncomfortable while breastfeeding, due to pain in and around the mouth.
- Oral thrush in infants may cause a clicking sounds while breastfeeding.
- Baby thrush symptoms may include cracking at the corners of the mouth.
- Thrush in a baby may cause a whitish saliva.
- Extra fussiness and irritability.
- Increased dribbling.
- Breast refusal.
- Poor weight gain.
- Nappy rash.
Causes of oral thrush in babies
- If a mother has a vaginal thrush infection during birth, her baby may become infected when he/she passes through the birth canal.
- The use of antibiotics by Mom and/or Baby, can sometimes cause an oral thrush infection in Baby.
- Baby can be infected by Mom, if she has a thrush (yeast infection) on her breasts and/or nipples.
- Premature babies unfortunately have less mature immune systems and are, therefore, more prone to getting a thrush/yeast infection.
- Unhygienic conditions can also cause a thrush infection. Mom should clean Baby’s mouth with a disposable cloth or clean wet finger, instead of keeping a face cloth, that can grow germs and fungus.
- Oral thrush is more common in babies with diabetes, due to elevated levels of sugar in their bodies.
- Babies with HIV/Aids are more likely to get thrush infections, due to the suppression of their immune systems.
Treatment of oral thrush in Baby
If the oral thrush does not clear by itself, after a week...
- Nystatin Suspension is often used to kill the fungus that causes thrush. Your doctor will usually prescribe this as an oral treatment for infant thrush and as a cream for a mother's breasts.
The mother and the baby, both need to be treated, so that they do not pass the thrush to one another. Using Nystatin will usually clear the oral thrush infection within two weeks.
- A thrush treatment like Miconazole is a common treatment that can be bought over the counter without a prescription.
- Oral thrush toddler: A child that is over one year
old, can be given some natural yogurt, to improve good bacteria levels.
Natural treatment for oral thrush in babies
- Coconut oil for thrush: You can put pure, raw virgin coconut oil on your nipples and inside your baby’s mouth to prevent passing the infection to one another. This has been found to clear some yeast from the mouth, but should be used in conjunction with other treatments.
- Tea tree oil for thrush: A few drops of tea tree oil can be used for thrush on your baby's bottom to help with a yeast diaper rash infection.
- Gentian Violet: Can be used on the mother's breasts, and inside baby's mouth. This is the best natural cure for thrush, but it is very messy. It stains clothing and skin.
How to prevent oral thrush in Baby
- Sterilize all dummies or teethers.
- Sterilize all bottles and teats before use.
- Sterilize all pump parts daily.
- Use disposable wipes when cleaning your baby’s mouth.
- Rinse your breasts with clear water after breastfeeding.
If the oral thrush keeps coming back, a mother should seek the advice of her physician.
"I was prescribed diflucan and and nystatin cream for my nipples and nothing helped. i've been putting the gentian violet in my baby's mouth once a day and on my nipples once a day and in 2 days....HUGE RELIEF!"
* Excellent treatment for Candidaalbicans and is safe to use inside a baby's mouth.
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Site by BFeeding Mamma, Tracy Behr. Currently studying through Child birth International (CBC, CBD). Also an accomplished author and Mommy of two.