Your baby is fussing and crying a lot. It’s painful for baby, but it’s also doing a number on your eardrums. Baby is crying and, while you’re sympathetic, you need to get some sleep. But how? While most parents aren’t grossed out by a lot of things – having seen what ends up in baby’s diaper – one thing that’s often concerning is something called “thrush.”
Thrush is a yeast infection that’s not harmful to baby, but it can irritate baby’s mouth during feeding and it can even be painful. Here’s how to tell if your baby has it and what you can do about it.
The Location Of The Suspected Thrush
According to New York Family & Pediatric Dental Care, thrush can be located in one of several places. It’s usually visible on the inside of the cheeks, lips, and on the gums. It can even take hold on the tongue. If your baby has it, it will usually spread to at least three different places inside the mouth. A thin coating on the tongue might only be milk, so don’t freak out. However, if it’s a thick coating, and it won’t come off, it’s time to investigate things further.
Does Not Easily Wipe Off
When you cannot use your finger to remove the white film, it’s probably more than just milk. In fact, the yeast infection is so sticky, that it can cause bleeding when removed.
Thrush is usually a persistent little bugger – hanging around for weeks on end. If you notice white, milky, patches that come and go, it’s probably not thrush. However, if the patches do not easily wipe away, there’s your first clue.
Associated Symptoms and Causes
If the baby is breastfeeding, he is at a higher risk for thrush than normal. Also, if you’re on antibiotics (and you’re the mother), baby has an increased risk for thrush. That’s because antibiotics kill bacteria – both beneficial and harmful. And, the breastfeeding is passing these antibiotics on to baby, disrupting the bacterial ecology in baby’s body. This, in turn, allows pathogenic bacteria or yeasts to take hold.
How To Treat Thrush
Thankfully, thrush can be easily treated. You have a few options. If you prefer more natural approaches, you can try acidophilus. This friendly bacteria lives in your mouth and intestines. By giving it to baby, you help fight the infection – the bacteria can start to overwhelm and push out the yeast.
You can also try using Nystatin. It’s a prescription anti-fungal liquid that you squirt or paint with a q-tip in baby’s mouth. The solution kills the yeast infection in about 5 days.
Finally, don’t forget to clean everything that goes into baby’s mouth. Toys, bottles and other things that baby regularly chews or sucks on may become contaminated with the yeast, unknowingly. To clean bottle nipples or pacifiers, boil them for 20 minutes every day. This will eradicate the yeast living on them. Wash toys in hot, soapy, water. Oh, and don’t forget to treat mom’s nipples. Clean them with either white vinegar or Nystatin after each nursing.
About The Author: Robert Ander recently retired after decades as a pediatric dentist. With passion for healthy smiles, he enjoys blogging about great oral hygiene for all ages.