Babyhood is an unpredictable thing. With their under-developed immune systems, it's not uncommon for a baby to catch various infections or sicknesses in their first months or year of life, as hard as it is for parents to witness. While it can be terrifying for new parents to watch their baby in pain or sick, more often than not, the problems are easily explained and easily cleared up. Thrush is one such sickness that panics many new parents, but is fortunately very common and simple to treat. There are several signs your baby has thrush that you should be aware of so you can catch the infection as soon as any symptoms begin to surface.
According to the Mayo Clinic, thrush is a fungal infection caused by the bacteria candida albicans — a normal, healthy bacteria present in the mouth. However, the bacteria thrives in warm, dry environments, making it easy to overgrow. When the fungus overgrows, for a variety of reasons, it can cause other issues like yeast infection or thrush.
Thrush, while scary to witness because of the white bumps that appear, is relatively harmless. However, it is spread very easily, so treatment is essential to ensure it doesn't come back or spread to you or other friends and family.
1. There Are White Dots Inside Their Mouth
According to Dr. Sears, thrush often presents itself as white lesions inside your baby's mouth on their gums, tongue, and side of the mouth. They may have a thick, white coating on their tongue, or cottage cheese-like bumps inside their mouth.
2. It Doesn't Come And Go
Some mild cases of thrush will go away on their own, but according to eMedicine Health, even with anti-fungal treatment, it can take up to 14 days for an infection to clear up.
3. You Can't Wipe The Dots Off
Thrush is often confused with milk residue, but according to Dr. Sears, unlike milk residue, thrush can't just be wiped away. In fact, it may irritate the lesions if you try to rub them off.
4. Your Baby Has Recently Had A Yeast Diaper Rash
Thrush is caused by candida albicans — the same bacteria that causes yeast infections, according to Health Line. If your baby has recently had a diaper rash, it could have developed into thrush, since the bacteria thrives in moist, warm areas.
5. You Or Your Baby Recently Took Antibiotics
While more often than not, there is no cause of thrush — since there is a small, healthy amount of the bacteria in everyone– sometimes antibiotics are the culprit of candida overgrowth. According to Dr. Sears, antibiotic use kills the good bacteria generally used to keep everything else in check, and so continued use may allow the candida bacteria to spread to an unhealthy level, causing the infection.
6. You Have Unusual Nipple Or Breast Pain In Between Feedings
Unfortunately, breastfeeding moms can catch the infection from their babies via breastfeeding. If you've experienced abnormal breast or nipple pain that isn't due to improper latch or engorgement, it may be a thrush infection, according to La Leche League International.
7. Your Baby Is Abnormally Fussy Or Iritable
While fussiness won't be the only symptom your baby exhibits, they may be uncomfortable or irritable during feedings. According to Mayo Clinic, some babies show no signs of discomfort from thrush, but in some cases your baby will be obviously in pain.