A hungry baby who finds it painful to eat is a very sad sight, and a bout of thrush can be very trying — but it's usually short-lived. Give your baby all the comfort he needs and follow your pediatrician's instructions for pain relief and medication, and this infection, too, shall pass!
Uncontrolled, a mild case of oral candidiasis (the medical term for thrush) can quietly spread to your digestive system, infiltrate your blood, and even invade your brain!
My baby has white patches on the insides of her cheeks. What could this be?
It could be a common and harmless yeast infection known as thrush. Thrush looks like cottage cheese or milk curds on the sides, roof, and sometimes the tongue of a baby's mouth. It's most common in babies 2 months and younger, but it can appear in older babies, too.
What causes thrush?
Yeast is a normal part of everyone's digestive system, but when there's an imbalance, an infection sets in. Most infants first come in contact with yeast as they travel down the birth canal. Thrush can develop when hormonal changes right after birth trigger an overgrowth of yeast in your baby's mouth.
After your baby is born, antibiotics taken by you (if you're breastfeeding) or your baby can trigger a case of thrush. That's because antibiotics kill off "good" bacteria that keep yeast in check.
Some moms and babies pass the infection back and forth: Your baby can pass thrush on to you if you're breastfeeding, resulting in a painful yeast infection on your nipples that will need a doctor's treatment. And you can trigger a case of thrush in your baby if you're breastfeeding and you develop a yeast infection on your nipples from taking antibiotics. On the other hand, some moms remain uninfected even while breastfeeding babies who have thrush — and some breastfed babies are not affected by their mother's yeast infection.
Some people think thrush can also be caused by prolonged sucking on a bottle or pacifier. Others think poor hygiene of bottle nipples is to blame. But infants who breastfeed exclusively and don't use pacifiers can also get it, so it's hard to pinpoint any one cause. Some babies (and some moms) are simply more susceptible than others to yeast.
How can I know for sure that it's thrush?
If you think your baby has thrush, look for the characteristic white patches. Then gently touch a patch with a gauze-covered finger. If it is thrush, it probably won't come off very easily, but if it does, you'll find a raw, red area underneath that may bleed.
If you notice a white coating on your baby's tongue but nowhere else, it's probably just milk residue (especially if you can wipe it off). Thrush patches can appear on your baby's tongue, but are most often found on the sides of the mouth. These spots can be painful — you may first suspect thrush if your baby starts crying when nursing or sucking on a pacifier or bottle.
How can I treat thrush?
In many cases, no treatment is necessary. Thrush typically clears up on its own in a couple of weeks. Some babies find thrush painful and bothersome, while others don't seem to notice. If your baby seems uncomfortable, by all means call your pediatrician, who may be able to give you a prescription over the phone for an oral fungal medication called Nystatin. You'll "paint" the medicine on the white patches with the enclosed applicator (or your finger) several times a day for ten days. It may take a week to clear up the infection. If the infection doesn't seem to be clearing up, call your doctor. Some babies with thrush also develop a yeast diaper infection. If that happens, your doctor can prescribe a fungal medication to use in the diaper area.''
If you're breastfeeding a baby with thrush, many doctors also recommend that you apply Nystatin or Lotramin to your nipples so that you and your baby won't pass the infection back and forth.''
Can I do anything to prevent my baby from getting thrush?
Nothing can be done to keep babies from picking up yeast as they pass through the birth canal. To ward off future infections, avoid giving your baby antibiotics unnecessarily (antibiotics can bring on a case of thrush by killing off bacteria that keep yeast under control). Cleaning and sterilizing pacifiers may also help. And some pediatricians advise breastfeeding mothers to let their nipples air dry between feedings to prevent thrush.''
Is thrush dangerous?
No. But if your baby is very fussy and uncomfortable, thrush could interfere with breast- or bottle-feeding. Your doctor may recommend that you give your baby acetaminophen for the pain.''
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Monday, July 9, 2012
Thrush in Babies (Hazards Thrush in Babies)
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