Thrush is a common problem
in infants especially during the first few months of life. It is a fungal
infection caused by yeast, called Candida. There are white curd like
patches inside the cheeks, lips, gums palate and sometimes the tongue. These
patches cannot be scraped off as they would bleed. Milk coating of the
tongue is a common symptom that is not thrush. Your pediatrician can help
you decide between the two. Thrush can cause mild mouth discomfort for
your baby and interfere with feeding. Thrush cannot spread to other
people; however it can spread to the mother's nipple during nursing.
How is it treated?
Thrush is treated with nystatin suspension, prescribed by your
pediatrician. Directions are to apply 1cc inside each cheek four times a
day. The medicine is usually dispensed with a dropper which can be used
to drop the suspension directly on the patches or you can use a swab.
Avoid feeding for 30 minutes after the application of the medicine. Use
the nystatin for three more days after the thrush seems to have cleared
up. Nystatin suspension can also be applied to the mother's nipples to
treat her cracked nipples if needed.
Keeping the baby's pacifiers, nipples and bottles clean is always
advisable and may help decreasing the re-occurrence of thrush.
The yeast is already present in the mouth and other parts of the
body. Irritation of the lining of the mouth can cause the yeast to grow
and sometimes thrush can happen after taking a course of antibiotics.