Victoria М/Fotolia

How Do Babies Get Thrush? It's A Pretty Common Infection

Ad failed to load

Parenting is one of those things where you learn a lot on the job because there's no instruction manual that comes with babies (unfortunately), and through the course of parenting, you're often faced with a ton of confusion. Infant feeding, breastfeeding, sleep, development, and growth are among the things you encounter within baby's first year, and that doesn't even factor in the possible illnesses or medical issues. Illnesses in babies can be a trying experience, and some of the more common ones, like thrush, are often confusing to identify. So how do babies get thrush? And what is it exactly?

Thrush is a very common yeast infection in babies, according to Kids Health. It's caused by an overgrowth of yeast called candida. Most people, including babies, have a natural amount of yeast in their mouths and digestive tracts, which is considered normal. Its growth is usually controlled by a healthy immune system and "good" bacteria in your body. If your immune system is weakened or undeveloped (like in babies), this yeast can overgrow and cause an infection, like oral thrush (in the mouth), vaginal yeast infection, or diaper rash.

There is no real, identifiable cause for thrush, according to the website for Dr. Sears. But it can sometimes be brought on by using antibiotics (often to treat a bacterial infection). Since antibiotics work by killing bacteria, even the "good" bacteria, yeast is left to grow unchecked, causing it to often overgrow.

Ad failed to load

A baby with oral thrush might have cracked skin around their mouths, and white patches on their lips, tongue, or inside of their mouths, noted Kids Health. It may look a little bit like leftover milk, but usually can't be wiped away. It may even turn red or irritated when you try to clean it. Some babies may not feed well or are uncomfortable when sucking because their mouth feels sore, but some babies don't feel any pain or discomfort at all.

In breastfeeding mothers and babies, thrush can be passed back and forth from baby's mouth to mother's breast, and the yeast can start to infect the skin around your nipples, the website for Dr. Sears mentioned. It usually starts off mild, but can cause serious pain, especially when nursing. If your nipples are sore, red, itchy, or burning, or if you have deep, shooting breast pain, it could be thrush.

Ad failed to load

Thrush can also present as a diaper rash in babies — it's usually identified by a stubborn, red, raised rash with red spots, and can accompany oral thrush.

Your pediatrician will be able to diagnose thrush by examining your child and their symptoms. Your primary care provider would be able to do the same for you if you suspect thrush on your nipples. Thrush is typically treated by antifungal creams or antibiotics, depending on the location and severity of the infection, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

Ad failed to load

Most thrush infections are better within two weeks. But, as noted by the AAP, thrush is prone to be chronic, and reccurences are very common. It's important to be vigilant about staying on top of it, particularly if you or your baby are more suseptible to getting thrush.

Probiotics (like acidophilus) can help sustain the good bacteria in you and your baby's mouth and gut, especially during a course of antibiotics. Talk to your doctor more to understand how this works, and if it is an option for your family. Sterilizing bottle nipples, pacifiers, and any toys that baby chews on can help to kill the yeast residing on them, and sterilizing regularly can prevent it from returning. Keeping your baby's skin as dry and clean as possible, particularly their diaper area, can help to prevent thrush infections, as well.

Check out Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:

Ad failed to load

Watch full episodes of Romper's Doula Diaries on Facebook Watch.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

6 Early Signs You're Going To Have A Short Labor, According To Experts

As far as I'm concerned, a short labor is right up there with winning the lottery in terms of lucky life events. (And when I was actually in labor, I would absolutely have traded a bucketful of lottery winnings for a speedier birth.) While some women…
By Kelly Mullen-McWilliams

Kids Will Love These TV Shows & Movies Coming To Netflix In March

You can always count on Netflix to keep it fresh: though there are already so many movies and shows to choose from, every month there's an influx of new content to keep your entire family entertained. As February enters its final weeks, it's time to …
By Megan Walsh

Here Are 10 Ways To Boost Your Baby's Immunity To The Flu

As I'm sure you've read in the thousands upon thousands of articles written about it this winter, the flu is spreading like wildfire and it's bad. Really bad. This strand of flu is the worst we've had in a very long time and it's the most widespread,…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Khloé Kardashian Asked Twitter About Her Bump, & Moms Totally Delivered

Like her younger sister Kylie Jenner, Khloé Kardashian managed to keep most of her pregnancy a sort-of secret. But unlike Jenner, Kardashian chose to publicly announce her pregnancy several months before the baby's due date. While there's no wrong wa…
By Sophie Hirsh

21 Moms Share The Most Surprising Part About Having A C-Section

Honestly, I don't think we, as a culture, talk about C-sections nearly enough, especially considering so many mothers experience them. And because of a number of factors, the little we do talk about it always seems to be a familiar narrative: "It's n…
By Jamie Kenney

13 Yummy Instant Pot Recipes To Make Under 30 Minutes

An Instant Pot seems to be the must-have appliance in every kitchen these days. If you are anything like me and never knew the beauty of a Instant Pot, you are about to have your life changed. Basically, you put some ingredients into a pot, set the t…
By Kristin Manna

9 Things The First Six Months Of Motherhood Will Teach You About Your Baby

Personally, the first six months of motherhood was a mixed bag. I learned some harsh lessons about myself that made taking care of my baby seem overwhelming. For example, I was clueless, and no amount of research could help me feel like anything but …
By Steph Montgomery

11 Photos You *Must* Take During The Last Days Of Your Pregnancy

During my first pregnancy, I took a photo each week to document my growing belly. I stopped around 36 weeks, though. I hated how I looked in those pictures, and didn't think I'd want to relive those moments. I was wrong. My second pregnancy was a dum…
By Steph Montgomery

6 Red Flags To Definitely Look Out For After Your Baby Falls

The first time my infant son tried to take a few steps, he tumbled and bumped his head on the coffee table. My blood turned to ice in my veins and I froze. There truly isn't anything quite like the feeling a parent gets when their little one gets hur…
By Sarah Bunton

These 9 Instant Pot Recipes Will Make Even The Pickiest Eater Happy At The Table

Like any parent, I've had my share of parenting hits and misses, but one of my favorite "wins" is my daughter's diverse palate. I don't even know if I can take credit for it, but I would like to think I had something to do with her love for lentils, …
By Caroline Shannon-Karasik

Turns Out, Kim Kardashian's Favorite Mom Products Look A Lot Like Your Own Faves

Being a mom is really hard work, especially for the first few months, and Kim Kardashian West is no different in that regard. Now the mother of three, Kardashian says that there are a few products she just can't live without when it comes to raising …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

10 Things No One Tells You About Having A Baby In Your 30s

If you're like me, you evaluate the pros and cons of any major life decision. When my husband and I were considering starting a family, I thought about my career, education, and financial stability. I wanted to know how a pregnancy and childbirth wou…
By Steph Montgomery

Soda Might Hurt Your Fertility, Study Says, & Here's What You Can Do

Who doesn't love sugary drinks? I stopped drinking soda years ago, but I still love gulping down those fancy Starbucks coffee beverages. I don't have a big sweet tooth, but I am a sucker for sugar-sweetened beverages every now-and-then. Turns out, th…
By Annamarya Scaccia

5 Red Flags Your Toddler Isn't Eating Enough

Toddlers are notoriously picky eaters, at least in my experience. You offer mashed potatoes, they want french fries. You give them crackers, they scream for chips. It's frustrating, to be sure, but it's usually their way of vying for independence. It…
By Candace Ganger

35 Moms Share The Most Disgusting Things Their Husbands Do

I'm a human being who revels in challenges. I like when people present me with one, especially if they don't think I can meet or succeed it, and I like taking a challenge on, especially if it's unexpected. So when I aimed to uncover the most disgusti…
By Jamie Kenney

How Having Kids In Your 20s Affects You Later In Life

For parents, like myself, who had kids in their 20s, there are a number of questions that come to mind. When you're deciding what your future will look like, you'll likely consider what this means for your health, career, and more down the line. Thin…
By Tessa Shull

Study: Drinking Two Glasses Of Wine A Day Is Good For Your Mind — Here's Why

There’s more scientific proof that a daily drink or two isn't necessarily a bad thing and could have a place in an overall healthy lifestyle. A new study out of the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) in New York found that — in mice, at le…
By Tiffany Thomas

Research Says Eating Carbs Can Lead To A Healthy Pregnancy, So Bring On The Pasta

In the world of me, no food is better than bread. I know it's supposed to be pretty terrible for you, high in calories, low in protein, and full of that modern-day demon, gluten... but guys, it's really yummy. Especially warm out of the oven, when th…
By Jen McGuire

These Photos Of Prince George Then & Now Will Give You Serious Baby Fever

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their third child in Spring 2018. With all of the excitement surrounding the new baby, it's easy to forget all of the good times that have already passed. The couple's eldest is already well into the sc…
By Azure Hall

This Is, Hands Down, The *Grossest* Thing Babies Do Inside The Womb

Your baby's life in the womb may be safe and warm, but it's also kind of grody. Seriously, the whole process of growing into a human being includes more than a few icky moments along the way. But this is the grossest thing babies do inside the womb b…
By Lindsay E. Mack