Education Blog

What Causes Thrush In Babies?

September 17, 2021

Thrush is not something you want to see your baby suffering from. Parents might notice white spots in their child’s mouths even before they have teeth. It is usually milk residue. However, in some cases, white patches may be sores that could indicate a baby has the problem. What is thrush in infants? How can parents help their babies with it?

What is Thrush?

Common yeasts can cause this problem, a type of mouth infection called candida. Dr. Tracy Hall, the Pediatrician, explains that this infection is more common in babies younger than four months old because their immune system has not been primed to recognize when oral yeast becomes overgrown and must be treated.

How Do Babies Get Thrush?

Thrush infections can develop when candida levels are too high. White or yellow patches may form in the mouth. Thrush can be painful for babies in some cases. However, it is not always severe. Sometimes the spots may bleed or become sore. Babies can become fussy and refuse to eat when this happens.

Dr. Hall assures parents that infant thrush is not a sign of an unusual condition. She says that parents should consult a doctor if they are concerned about their child’s thrush. “Parents sometimes get confused between true oral thrush and typical milk tongue. We don’t recommend giving medication to infants without a confirmed diagnosis. It is important to have it diagnosed within a few hours.

This is a sign that your baby may have milk tongue, but not thrush. If they are milk-related, you can wipe them away. However, they will remain if your baby has oral thrush sores.

How Is this Infection in Babies Treated?

A doctor may decide to monitor mild cases of thrush, but not to prescribe treatment. Your doctor may decide that medication is necessary. This liquid anti-fungal can be applied inside your baby’s mouth using a small brush or dropper.

Even if you have mild infection symptoms, it is important to get treatment as soon as possible. This will allow breastfeeding mothers to stop the cycle of thrush between mother and baby. Stanford Children’s Health states that thrush can develop on the nipples of breastfeeding mothers. Breastfeeding will ensure that both you and your baby are treated. This is to avoid the spread of the infection. You might be offered an anti-fungal cream or lotion to use on your skin, or an oral medication.

Can I Prevent the Infection in My Baby?

Candida can be found in the skin and in the mouth naturally so it is important that you clean any items your baby might have in their mouths. Hence, your hands, baby’s hands and any parts of the bottle are all important. This is especially important for children at higher risk of the infection. Stanford Children’s Health recommends these steps:

  • Infants with very low birth weights
  • A yeast infection infected mother gave birth to a new baby who was born through her breasts.
  • Antibiotic-treated babies
  • Babies who frequently use a Pacifier are more likely to be happy
  • Babies with a weak immune system

If your baby develops thrush, there is likely nothing you can do. These pesky yeasts can be a problem until your baby develops an immune system.