Babies are a handful, especially if you are a new mom, oftentimes you feel helpless when your little bundle of joy has become cranky and difficult. Thrush is essentially a yeast infection of the mouth, an over growth of candida albicans. While candida is normally a healthy bacteria found in the mouth, intestinal flora and mucous membranes an overgrowth can cause an infection.
Babies often get thrush because their immune systems are not strong enough to control the growth of yeast. Thrush can also occur in infants who have been on antibiotics or inhaled steroid drugs for the treatment of breathing disorders such as Asthma.
Thrush typically looks like white patches on the tongue, inside of cheeks and tonsils, in very advanced stages can appear as milk curds or cottage cheese. Some babies who have thrush do not want to eat due to the discomfort that thrush causes.
If your newborn has a very bad infection of thrush you should see your pediatrician immediately, he or she can prescribe a Nystatin liquid medication that you can apply to the tongue and the white patches in the mouth. Do not attempt to wipe these areas of thrush clean as they can be painful for the infant and he or she could end up with open red irritated sores. Note that some infants who have thrush often have an accompanying diaper rash that is yeast as well, if this occurs a yeast cream or ointment will be prescribed for your baby.
Preventing thrush is very simple, start by sterilizing nipples consistently. If you are breast feeding you and your child can pass the infection back and forth to each other so be sure to clean your nipples with a medication such as Nystatin, applying Lanolin lotion to your nipples after feeding can also help reduce the incidence of yeast or candida albicans.
Avoid pacifiers for extended periods of time and keep the sterilized. These can often breed bad bacteria in the mouth and cause a recurrence of thrush in babies. Now I'm not saying take little Billy's pacifier away altogether, just be sure it is only used when absolutely necessary.
Clean babies mouth with a thin damp wash cloth gently after feedings taking care to cleanse the babies tongue, you do not want to cause a gag reaction just a light wipe will do.
When your baby reaches the three month milestone you can introduce a fluoride free baby toothpaste, these toothpastes are very safe and not at all a problem if your baby should swallow it. The toothpaste can be gently applied with an infant toothbrush. This device is genius it fits over your index finger and has very soft bristles that sweep away bacteria. This practice can insure healthy gums and healthy future teeth.