Oral Thrush in Babies

This is one of those motherhood experiences, where I eventually had to accept my mom was right and she told me so.

My son had thrush on his tongue, when he was about 2 months old. Thrush is an infection of the mouth caused by the candida fungus, also known as yeast. A common sign of thrush is the presence of creamy white, slightly raised lesions in your mouth – usually on your tongue or inner cheeks – but also sometimes on the roof of your mouth, gums, tonsils, or back of your throat. The lesions, may have a “cottage cheese” appearance. (Source: WebMD)

This yeast infection, is not only visible but can also cause discomfort and pain for the babies. If you observe such white patches on tongue or inner cheeks, try to rub them away with wet gauze pad, covered on your finger first and see if it goes away. If it doesn’t come off easily, then it’s high likely thrush.

If you suspect thrush, first consult your pediatrician. Our pediatrician prescribed us a medicine named Nystatin, to be rubbed on the tongue with q-tip 3 times a day. After the 4th day, not only the thrush was still there but also my son started to suffer from diarrhea and gas pain as a side affect of the medicine. So we quit using it.

At this point, my mom was begging me to clean my son’s mouth with gauze pad, dipped in water mixed with baking soda. So I gave in and started to clean it as my mom directed us 3 times a day, after breastfeeding. On 2nd day, whiteness diminished. Thrush was completely gone on the 3rd day with no side affects. (I told you so!)

There is a medical dye, called “Gentian Violet” that is recommended for thrush and mouth ulcers. However, it is not recommended for little babies, because it should not be swallowed.

Once the thrush is gone, I highly recommend to keep frequently cleaning your nipples with fresh water and disinfect bottle nipples by boiling them.

Our pediatrician also recommended us to clean the mouth, tongue and gums with wet gauze pad after breastfeeding starting around 5-6 months. This helps soothe gums, especially if the baby is about to teeth.

Water/baking soda mixture for mouth cleaning:

  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup of water (preferably boiled and cooled down)

Dissolve the baking soda in the water and dip the gauze pad wrapped around your finger in this mixture. Clean the tongue, cheeks and gums by rubbing the finger wrapped in gauze. You baby might suck on your finder as a reflex. We haven’t seen a negative side affect of the mixture.

Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor. This article explains my experience for a specific situation with my child and is intended for informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider. For any medical issues, please consult your doctor or pediatrician first.

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