Baby thrush is something that might not present as many symptoms as other health issues. For example, whereas a cold or flu might begin with a fever and your baby might develop secondary symptoms such as a cough, sore throat, or become lethargic as time goes on, thrush does not present the same type of symptoms.
In fact, many of the symptoms of thrush are not overly noticeable unless you are looking for them. One of the most common symptoms of baby thrush is cottage cheese-like lesions in your baby’s mouth and on his or her tongue.
Many parents mistake these lesions for milk and try to wipe them off only to notice bleeding. The lesions might appear minimal at first, causing parents to think there is nothing to be concerned about. Over time, however, the lesions will multiply until there are numerous lesions in the mouth of your little one.
Another sign of thrush is unsettled behavior in your baby. He or she might begin to fight at feeding time. This is because a large number of thrush lesions can cause your baby’s mouth to hurt when sucking. He or she might not want to suck at that point because the discomfort is just too much to handle.
The signs and symptoms of thrush typically appear suddenly. There is no lead up to the infection in many babies. The fact that babies are too young to tell you that their mouth hurts also makes it more difficult for parents to diagnose their children with thrush until the infection is full blown.
As soon as you notice symptoms or signs of thrush in your little one, contact his or her pediatrician. Thrush can be difficult to get rid of in small babies, which means treatment should start as soon as possible. Waiting until the lesions are worse can have negative side effects on your baby, such as dehydration caused by his or her desire not to suck while feeding as well as a longer treatment time.
What Are The Causes Of Baby Thrush?
Baby thrush is caused by bacteria in the mouth. All babies are born with bacteria by the name of Candida. This bacterium is normal in all babies and present in virtually all people. The reason it does not cause infection in all people all the time is because there is healthy bacteria in your body and your baby’s body that keeps the Candida in check. Candida is yeast. It’s the cause of yeast infections in the mouth for children and adults as well as yeast infections for women and diaper rash for baby’s when the infection spreads.
When the yeast bacterium in your baby’s mouth grows too quickly, it causes thrush. This happens for several reasons. The most common reason is that your baby’s immune system is not functioning properly. If your baby’s immune system is compromised, it could be compromised for several reasons.
The first is illness. If your baby suffers from any type of health issue on a regular basis, you might notice your baby deals with thrush regularly. Even if your baby is healthy on a regular basis, a cold or other illness might cause his or her immune system to work at a less than perfect pace, which can cause thrush.
Another cause of a weakened immune system is bacterial antibiotics. If your baby is on antibiotics for another bacterial infection, the bad bacteria in his or her mouth could spread quickly and cause thrush.
Finally, your baby could have thrush because you missed it once before and he or she became re-infected due to being exposed to the infection again. This happens when the infection is present on things that go into your baby’s mouth, such as your breast if you are a breast feeding mother. It can also come from pacifiers and even bottle nipples.
Can Thrush In Babies Be Treated?
One of the first questions many parents ask in regards to thrush is whether or not the infection can be treated. The reason this is a concern for many parents is the fact that babies are often too young to take many medications.
You might wonder whether or not your baby can take anything to get rid of a bacterial infection of this nature. The good news is that your baby can take something to treat thrush. You will need to contact your pediatrician to make an appointment. Once he or she diagnoses your baby with thrush, you can choose between two different types of medication.
The first type of medication is a gel that is used directly on the lesions caused by thrush. It is used by dropping the gel directly onto the lesions in your baby’s mouth on each side, the tongue and anywhere else the lesions appear. You will then have to use a cotton swab to reach into your baby’s mouth to spread the gel around all the lesions.
This is most effective when done directly after a feeding so that the medication has a long time to sit on the lesions and clear them up. Many parents are concerned that this method of medication application might be too complicated, which causes them to ask about the second type of treatment.
The second kind of treatment for your baby is a medication that is given via a dropper and swallowed. Your doctor will give you the correct dosage based on your baby’s age and weight, as well as the amount of time in which your baby needs to take the medication to clear up the thrush.
Treatment will work, but it will only last if you take methods to prevent the infection from reoccurring. This requires sterilizing all bottle nipples and pacifiers, as well as any teething rings or toys your baby commonly places in his or her mouth. If you are breast feeding, you will also need to clean your breasts with soap and allow them to air dry after each feeding.