Oral thrush is one of those motherhood experiences, where I thought I knew what I was doing but eventually had to accept my mom was right and she told me so.
My son had oral thrush on his tongue when he was about 2 months old. Thrush is a common infection in 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 the tongue or inner cheeks, try to rub them away with a wet gauze pad, covered on your finger first and see if it goes away. If it doesn’t come off easily, then it’s highly 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 effect of the medicine. So we quit using it.
At this point, my mom was begging me to clean my son’s mouth with a 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 the 2nd day, whiteness diminished. Thrush was completely gone on the 3rd day with no side effects. (I told you so!)
There is a medical dye, called “Gentian Violet” that is also 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 keeping frequently cleaning your nipples with fresh water and disinfecting 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.
Treat oral thrush naturally with this recipe:
- 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 effect of the mixture.
If you notice similar simptoms on your nipples, you should clean your nipples with the same recipe on a gause pad to remove any yeast residue.
In order to prevent oral thrush, keep your nipples clean by rinsing them with fresh water and pat dry after breastfeeding, and changing your nursing pads frequently.
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 instead of the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider. For any medical issues, please consult your doctor or pediatrician first.