Thrush in Infants

Caring for a new baby is a rewarding although sometimes nerve-wracking job. From spending half the night in a rocking chair to obsessing over diaper contents to freaking out over any sign of a health problem in your baby, being a parent to an infant is not for the weak. One potential health issue that may rear its ugly head and disturb caregivers is infant thrush.

What are the symptoms of infant thrush?

Oral thrush, otherwise known as an oral yeast infection, is usually first noticed in infants as something that looks like milk in the mouth that will not go away. These are curd-like patches on the surface of the baby’s tongue or other areas of the mouth; they cannot be easily washed or wiped away. Often the tissue surrounding the white patches is red and irritated.

Although it may alarm a parent to see this in their child’s mouth, thrush in infants is quite common and is typically easy to treat. A doctor will often prescribe a medication especially for the infant, such as Diflucan. A baby who has thrush may also experience a diaper rash, so the doctor may prescribe something for the rash as well.

What causes infant thrush?

The oral yeast infection known as thrush develops when a bacteria called candida overgrows and becomes a detriment to the body. Although candida is normally a helpful and useful yeast found in the intestines, it can overgrow in the infant system, because babies’ immune systems have not developed enough to control the yeast overgrowth.

Mothers who take antibiotics during the pregnancy or following the birth may be more likely to experience thrush in their own bodies and in their babies. Because the good bacteria in the intestine is killed by the antibiotic, the yeast is allowed to overgrow in the mother and baby’s systems.

Furthermore, a new mother can pass the antibiotic to the baby through the breast milk, in turn affecting the baby’s immune system. A breastfeeding mother may notice thrush symptoms on her breasts and nipples, such as redness, swelling, or pain while breastfeeding.

If your new baby is experiencing thrush symptoms, there is no need to panic. Although no parent wants any discomfort or illness for his or her baby, this common infant oral yeast infection will likely be gone in no time once you receive the attention of your physician and receive the appropriate treatments.