Baby Mouth Thrush - All you need to know.
Mouth thrush is a common yeast infection that causes white patches in your baby’s mouth. Has your little one been acting extra fussy especially when feeding? Have you noticed irregularly shaped white patches in their mouth?
Well, those are two of the common symptoms of oral thrush. It is a yeast or fungal infection caused by Candida albicans. It is one of the most common infections in babies, and while it’s highly uncomfortable to your baby it’s not serious at all
What is Oral Thrust?
Candida albicans is a white yeast-like fungus that can live inactively in your baby’s body, but cause an infection once it grows out of control. The overgrowth of this fungus presents itself in the form of an oral thrush. Sometimes, it is accompanied by white patches around your baby’s diaper area as well. If you are breast feeding, you’ll likely witness these white patches around your nipples too. If that’s the case, treat the thrush on the baby and on your nipples too. Otherwise, if your nipples are left untreated your baby could easily get the infection again, or it just won’t heal.
What Causes Oral Thrush in Babies?
In most cases, oral thrush affects babies in their first weeks or months post-delivery. Although researchers have no concrete answer as to why that is, it could be due to a weaker immune system in babies. As they grow older, their immune becomes strong enough to fight off such infections.
As such, it makes sense that oral thrush mostly follows a series of antibiotics consumption. Since antibiotics are designed to fight off bacteria, they cause a significant loss of healthy bacteria in our bodies. This loss then creates space for the growth of unhealthy fungi, which in turn causes such infections as the oral thrush. Besides antibiotics, oral thrush can also occur as a result of consuming steroid medication.
It is also possible for babies to pick up Candida in the birth canal. This is especially so if you had to struggle with a vaginal yeast infection during pregnancy. Vaginal yeast infections are quite common in expectant mothers and it occurs to hormonal imbalances and changes.
What are the symptoms of oral thrush in babies?
Your baby will be overly fussy if they have a thrush. Besides, if you take a peek into their tiny mouth, you will notice irregular white patches or sores on their inner mouth, tongue, and gums. Sometimes, they can exhibit cracks in the corners of their mouth.
Always keep in mind that your baby’s tongue could be white from breast milk residue. So avoid jumping right into treatment before really confirming that your baby has the thrush. Thrush symptoms are quite particular, so look out or a sore/red tongue that’s prone to bleeding. Remember to check for the thrush on your baby’s diaper area. The constant dampness in this area creates the perfect breeding environment for yeast infections. Look out for an inflamed stubborn rash.
What is the appropriate treatment for thrush in babies?
Once you confirm that your baby has the thrush, it is time to seek medical attention. Your GP will likely prescribe anti-fungal medication, such as Nystatin. Since the infection passes back and forth from your breasts to baby’s mouth, it is important to treat your nipple area as well.
If your baby has a yeast infection diaper rash, there are various treatment options, mostly antifungal ointments for application on the affected area.
Since the infection is quite stubborn, it should resolve in about a week from the time you initiate treatment. If it doesn’t, it is advisable to consult your GP again.
Can you prevent thrush in babies?
It depends. If the thrush is as a result of encountering yeast during delivery, there’s nothing you can do. However, to avoid further incidences, sterilize baby’s pacifiers, bottles, breast pump parts, and even toys constantly. You should clean anything that could go into your baby’s mouth regularly and sterilize using tablets or the boiling method.
Going through illness with your baby can be quite difficult for you as a mom since you want nothing but the best for your baby. Sometimes, we cannot avoid illness or such infections as mouth thrush to keep our babies happy and healthy at all times. However, there are times when we can. It is important to actively engage in activities that will promote your baby’s health at all times. One useful tip to avoid baby mouth thrush is keeping your nipples completely dry between feeds to avoid the growth of bacteria and other microbes. Stay safe to keep your baby healthy.
As always, we'd like to emphasise that the contents of the article is not a is not a substitute for medical consultation.