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Handling Your Baby's Thrush

Is your baby quite fussy while bottle-feeding? She may have thrush in her mouth. It is also known as oral pseudo membranous candidacies - an external yeast infection. This can be painful for your baby and a disturbing experience for you. Babies who are breastfeed exclusively are LESS likely to develop this infection than those who are bottle-fed.

About 5 per cent of healthy babies develop thrush. They get the yeast from their moms while passing through the birth canal during delivery. Don't worry. It's not a serious thing and can be treated easily.

Recognizing This Infection

It's easy to recognize thrush by looking for telltale patches in white at the inside of your baby's cheeks, palate, tongue, and lips. Some parents mistake the white patches to be residues of milk on the tongue after bottle-feeding. If the tongue has a uniform white color, then it's NOT thrush.

The thrush patches are often curd-like. They stick to the tissue beneath the tongue, unlike milk residues. There is another test for this yeast infection. Touch the patch gently with your finger covered with gauze. If it does not come off easily, it's thrush. Even if it does, you will notice a red, raw area beneath that might bleed.

The lesions of thrush are painful. It is because of this pain that your baby becomes fussy while bottle-feeding.

Reasons For Developing This infection

In most of the cases, thrush heals by itself. You may never even know your baby had this infection! However, certain alterations in the baby or her surroundings are responsible for making it an aggravated condition. These include stress or antibiotics. Bottle-feeding is also to be blamed. The lining of your baby's mouth gets scraped with continuous sucking. Many times, babies go to sleep sucking the bottle or pacifier. Breastfeeding babies NEVER fall asleep sucking their mom's breasts. Unhygienic pacifiers and nipples may also trigger the formation of yeast.

Treating This Infection

Firstly, don't let your baby sleep with a bottle or pacifier in her mouth. Also, do not let her suck the pacifier or nipple of the bottle for extended period. The nipples as well, as the pacifiers should be squeaky clean and sterilized.

In majority of the cases, this yeast infection vanishes by itself. The only thing you need to fix is the pain that your baby experiences. The antifungal medication such as Nystatin suspension is quite effective. You can either apply it directly to the patches with the help of a cotton-tipped applicator, or give the oral form of this medication in a dose of 1-2ml four times everyday.

A home remedy is to apply baking soda to the affected area. Take one-fourth teaspoon baking soda and add a couple of drops of mild detergent. Mix them in a glass of lukewarm water. The detergent should not contain bleach or ammonia. Apply this mixture with the help of a cotton-tipped bud to the patches.

In case thrush persists or you notice some other problem, consult your doctor.

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