Is your baby irritable? Is he or she crying and fussing during a typical feeding session? Your baby may have thrush, an infection in their mouth. And while your first instinct as a mother is to worry and panic, thrush is actually pretty common and very treatable.
What is thrush?
Thrush is the most common oral fungal infection in babies. Candida, the fungus, likes to grow in moist areas like under a babies drooling mouth and chin, inside their mouth, or even on diaper rashes. Although it’s usually something your baby will develop on their own, it can be passed onto your baby if you’re pregnant with a yeast infection or if simply your nipples are affected and you’re breastfeeding.
Why does thrush affect babies?
Newborns have such vulnerable immune systems and while Candida is a naturally occurring fungus, it can sometimes be too much for a newborns immune system to regulate and control, thus leading to an infection.
If you’re a first time mom, you’ve probably Googled symptoms and started to panic over the various diseases your child could have. Well here are some symptoms of thrush to help eliminate other diseases and ease your mind:
- Milky white patches inside the mouth and/or on the tongue
- Redness or even bleeding around the white lesions
- Cracking on the corners of the mouth
- Pain when nursing or drinking a bottle
- Fussiness and refusing to feed even if there are no visible symptoms
So what do you do if your baby is affected by thrush?
Often, thrush will go away on its own within two weeks and you’ll just have to monitor that the lesions aren’t getting any more painful or bigger, but you definitely want to take your baby to a doctor and have them checked out. Here are some remedies for thrush:
- Prescribed gel that can be rubbed around the tongue and mouth.
- Lactobacillus which treats growth of such bacteria and can be found naturally occurring in yogurt; make sure it’s something that your baby can consume at their age, or eat it yourself if you are breastfeeding so that this good bacteria can be passed onto your baby!
- Do not stop breastfeeding! Many moms think that because they have thrush on their nipples and their baby may be infected, that they should stop breastfeeding, but keep on breastfeeding! Your milk is specific to the needs of your baby and will help pass good bacteria to fight off this infection.
- Coconut oil or tea tree oil; this is a great remedy when both moms nipples and baby’s mouth are affected, because your nipples may be cracking and painful so rubbing some coconut oil on will ease both of your pains and get rid of that cracking.
- 1 teaspoon of baking soda mixed with 3 teaspoons of warm water and use a Q-tip to rub this around your babies tongue and mouth, or on your nipples.
- Or, ½ teaspoon of salt mixed with a cup of warm water rubbed around your babies tongue and mouth. If you are rubbing this solution on your nipples, be aware that it may sting a little.
- Tumeric, oregano oil and clove oil (which is often used for teething as well) are some other at home remedies you can use to help sooth your babies infected mouth.
- And be sure to consume lots of Vitamin C to help fight off this infection!
Good luck, mama!