When a little baby comes out of the womb, there are so many sights, sounds and sensations to adjust to. Every little thing is a big deal when you’re caring for a baby because your baby’s body and senses are just so sensitive. Thrush can really throw a wrench into things when you’re caring for your child. It’s not fun for mom or baby to deal with baby thrush – as I know from personal experience.
To successfully treat baby thrush, you need just the right approach. After all, caring for a baby is hard work already: between feedings, diaper changes, night-wakings and so many other responsibilities, you want to make sure you approach is the simplest and most effective. You don’t want to get any more worn out than your probably already are, and you want thrush relief for your baby as quickly as possible!
So first, let’s look at some of the most common symptoms of baby thrush:
*creamy, white patches on the tongue, gums or inside the cheeks (note: sometimes babies may have milk residue on the tongue, but this will wipe away whereas thrush will not)
*breastfed babies with thrush may have difficulty nursing or be reluctant to nurse
*baby may be irritable or fussy
A baby’s mouth is a perfect place for yeast to grow: it’s warm, wet and rich in sugar – either from the natural lactose in breastmilk or added sweeteners in formula. Also, baby’s immune system is still developing, giving the yeast an added edge.
One of the main reasons why baby thrush has become so common is due to the fact that antibiotics are used more commonly than ever before, especially during labor. Between c-sections and strep B prophylaxis, millions of birthing mothers receive antibiotics before, during and after labor every year. Antibiotics wipe out both mom and baby’s natural yeast defenses, making it even easier to the yeast to take hold and grow out of control.
Sometimes the baby may also contract yeast from mom while coming through the birth canal. Premature babies are at increased risk for baby thrush simply due to their vulnerable immune system.
There are two approaches most commonly used to treat babies with thrush:
- Use prescription anti-fungals such as Nystatin or Diflucan (fluconazole) to try to kill the yeast; or
- Try to kill the yeast with natural or home remedies. Ironically, if you’re not careful some home remedies may be less safe than pharmaceuticals. For example, gentian violet – which is frequently recommended for baby thrush – is a known carcinogen.
In either case, there is a major underlying problem with either the pharmaceutical or home remedy approach: they don’t stop the yeast from growing back. Pharmaceuticals also carry the risk of serious side effects, which is of particular concern when you’re treating a baby or child. (If you do use a pharmaceutical, Nystatin is the safest choice, but unfortunately isn’t effective in many cases and can actually make the yeast mutate into a more treatment-resistant form.)
On the other hand, some thrush home remedies have questionable safety as well, especially for baby thrush. This concerns me the most since many well-meaning moms seeking out safer alternatives may not realize that some “natural” thrush remedies simply aren’t appropriate for babies. For example, I’ve seen products containing colloidal silver, tea tree oil and oregano oil advertised for baby thrush – each of these substances has significant concern for use in babies.
My own personal experiences with the frustration of treating thrush naturally and permanently led me to develop a natural system to treat thrush quickly and safely, with only positive side effects – no risk. The secret lies in kill the existing yeast (safely) and in correcting the underlying imbalance that allowed the yeast cells to overgrow and take hold in the first place.