Let’s talk about thrush. Just when you think that you have mastered feeding, you are settling into your routine with a newborn and all of the sudden your baby starts becoming fussy and irritated with feedings, you see white stuff in their mouth and are wondering what the heck is going on?! This could be thrush causing these issues. Read more about this pesky little organism below and how to get rid of it!
What is thrush?
A yeast infection caused by a specific type of yeast called Candida. Yeast is a fungus that naturally lives on our bodies and usually causes no harm; however, when it starts to overgrow, infections can occur. For babies and toddlers, Candida overgrowth in the mouth is common. This is also known as oral thrush. Thrush can develop from mom passing it to baby during birth or after birth due to prolonged sucking or if baby is on antibiotics. The antibiotics kill off the good bacteria allowing an overgrowth of Candida. Candida can also spread to the diaper area making a diaper rash worse and painful. Checkout Kate’s 48 hour diaper rash remedy!
Painful yellow or white patches in the mouth, lips, cheeks and on baby’s tongue that are not easily removed with a cloth. Crying or irritability with eating and swallowing. If in the diaper area it will be a painful rash sometimes with a raised red border or small red bumps.
A white tongue alone is not thrush – milk diets in babies can cause a white coated tongue. This is normal. Sometimes milk residue can resemble thrush but milk residue can be wiped away with a clean, damp washcloth. Milk residue also only will be present on the tongue whereas thrush will be on other parts of the mouth as mentioned above.
Your pediatrician will examine your child and make the diagnosis based on the signs and symptoms they are experiencing. Antifungal medications such as nystatin are used to treat thrush. Different medications can be used depending on the area of the body that is infected. Treatment usually takes 2 weeks. There are some homeopathic options for treatment but always check with your provider before starting any new medication or supplement.
Note: if mother is breastfeeding there is a high likelihood she will have thrush on her nipples and will also need antifungal cream or oral medications to cure her infection as well.
When to seek help
Call right away if baby seems dehydrated, has dark urine, or seems very sick and lethargic. If you notice white patches in the mouth that do not seem to go away contact your pediatrician because you may need antifungal medications.
Other helpful blog posts:
- Common breastfeeding complications explained
- Breast rest
- 10 common illnesses that babies and kids get
- 5 common nipple issues
- Correctly bottle feeding your baby
- 5 signs that it’s time to stop weaning from breastfeeding or pumping
Have more questions? Schedule a text or video chat consult with Kate, Lauren or Natalie (NICU RNs) and they can help answer any questions that you have!
Download our free nipple ruler to make sure you’re using the correct flange size.
**This post is educational and not meant to take the place of your provider.