Thrush is a yeast infection that can inhabit a baby’s mouth. Sometimes the baby will also have a diaper rash caused by the yeast infection. Thrush can be painful and make feeding difficult for a baby. Sometimes, the baby won’t seem to be bothered much by the thrush. If you’re breastfeeding, the yeast infection can be passed back and forth from your nipple to baby’s mouth, making it difficult for you to kick the infection unless both of you are treated.
Thankfully, yeast infections will respond to natural treatments. Here are a few recommended actions to take:
Yeast is a very hardy fungus. Strict hygiene is important if you want to prevent spreading it to other family members and to stop reoccurrence. Moms need to wash their nursing bras and nursing pads, undies, and baby’s cloth diapers in hot water and do a double rinse. Add vinegar to the first rinse to help kill yeast and prevent irritation from detergents. Wash your hands well with hot soapy water after using the toilet or changing diapers. Wash anything that touches baby’s mouth (toys, teethers, etc.) with vinegar. When it comes to bottles and nipples, these should be boiled or even discarded until the yeast is healed.
Baking soda is often effective against thrush. Mom can make a paste of baking soda and water and apply it to her nipples and then rinse it off before feeding the baby. Baby can also take baths with a little baking soda sprinkled in the water to help heal any diaper rash. Baking soda works by creating an alkaline environment that is inhospitable to yeast.
Vinegar kills thrush also—for the opposite reason as baking soda—as it is acidic. It can be irritating to the skin however, so use care. One or two tablespoons can be added to a cup of water and applied to Mom’s nipples with a cotton ball several times a day.
Since yeast often overgrows in the gut when antibiotics are administered and the natural flora is disturbed, acidophilus can help put things back into balance by re-inoculating the gut. Capsules are probably best for Mom. You can also buy powdered acidophilus for baby. Put a little on a clean finger and allow baby to eat it—it tastes very pleasant and is safe for infants.
If you or your baby has a particularly stubborn case of thrush, speak with a health care practitioner you trust. You may have an underlying immune dysfunction caused by another health issue such as food allergy or diabetes.