Thrush is a fungal infection caused by a yeast called candida. In babies, thrush often occurs in areas where the lining of the mouth is irritated. Many babies get thrush in the mouth in the first few weeks or months of life. If your child has thrush, he or she will have:
Thrush causes mild mouth discomfort.
Most people already have candida in their mouth and other parts of their bodies. In babies, thrush often occurs in areas where the lining of the mouth is irritated from too much sucking (as when a baby sleeps with a bottle or pacifier). A large pacifier or nipple can more easily injure the lining of the mouth. Thrush is generally not spread to others under normal conditions. However, if you are breast-feeding and your baby has thrush, the yeast could flare up and cause thrush on your breasts.
The drug for clearing this up is nystatin oral suspension. It requires a prescription.
Give 1 ml of nystatin 4 times a day after meals or at least 30 minutes before you feed your baby. Place the nystatin in the front of the mouth on each side. It doesn't do any good once it's swallowed. If the patches of thrush in the mouth don't start improving in 2 days, rub the nystatin directly on the patches. Use a cotton swab or a gauze wrapped on your finger. Keep this up for at least 7 days, or until all the thrush has been gone for 3 days.
If you are breast-feeding, apply nystatin to any irritated areas on your nipples.
If sucking on a nipple is painful for your child, temporarily use a cup and spoon. In any case, while your child has thrush, reduce sucking time to 20 minutes or less per feeding.
If the thrush comes back after treatment and your child is bottle-fed, switch to a nipple with a different shape and made from silicone.
While your child has thrush don't give him a pacifier, except when it's really needed to calm your baby. If your infant is using an orthodontic-type pacifier, switch to a smaller, regular one. Special washing or boiling of bottle nipples or pacifiers is not necessary or helpful.
If your child has a diaper rash as well as thrush, assume the rash is caused by yeast. Buy Lotrimin cream at your local pharmacy and put it on your baby's bottom 4 times a day.
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