Life as a little baby can be hard: so many sights, sounds and sensations to adjust to. Thrush can make life for a little baby – and mom – even harder. If thrush is the most serious health issue you have to contend with, then in some ways you’re very lucky. However, that doesn’t make thrush easy to deal with.
Without the right approach, treating babies with thrush can be difficult and frustrating. Feedings, diaper changes, night-wakings, and the innumerable other responsibilities of caring for a newborn can make oral thrush seem downright overwhelming. Let’s look at some of the most common symptoms of oral thrush :
-Creamy, white patches on the tongue, gums or inside the cheeks
-Difficulty nursing and/or reluctance to nurse
-Baby’s mouth seems sore, painful.
The yeast cell candida albicans (which causes thrush ) loves the warm, wet, sugar-rich environment of babies’ mouths. Breast milk is rich in the natural sugar lactose, while formulas contain added sweeteners; whether a baby is breastfed or bottle-fed, yeast cells will have ample food to grow and multiply.
The prevalent use of antibiotics, both for c-sections and strep B bacteria, has made infant thrush more common than ever. Antibiotics wipe out both mom and baby’s natural yeast defenses, making yeast overgrowth more likely. If mom has vaginal yeast, this may cause baby to catch the yeast coming through the birth canal. Prematurity or use of steroids may also make thrush more likely.
There are two common approaches to treating babies with thrush :
1.) use prescription pharmaceuticals such as Nystatin or Diflucan to kill the yeast or
2.) to kill the yeast with “natural” or home remedies. I say “natural” because some common home remedies, such as gentian violet, are not really natural. Gentian violet is a petrol derivative and carries increased long-term risk for oral cancer.
In any case, both the pharmaceutical and “natural” approach are imperfect solutions because they don’t stop the yeast from growing back. Pharmaceuticals such as Diflucan and other antifungals carry the additional risk of serious side effects, which is especially troubling for a newborn. (Nystatin is the safest of the pharmaceutical drugs but is not very effective and may sometimes cause the yeast to mutate into a more difficult to treat form.)
Some thrush home remedies carry significant risks as well, which is worrisome since well-meaning mothers may simply not be aware of potential side effects. I’ve seen products containing colloidal silver, tea tree oil and oregano oil all advertised for infant thrush problems: each of these has significant concerns as far as treating babies.
My own personal experiences with the difficulty of treating thrush naturally and permanently led me to develop a comprehensive approach to treat infant thrush quickly and safely, with only positive side effects: zero harmful ones. The key lies both in killing the existing yeast (safely) and curing the underlying imbalance that allowed the yeast cells to grow out of control in the first place.