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Newborn and Infant Care

Confused about thrush

02/25/2003

Question:

What is and what causes thrush? Are there any home remedies to care for or prevent thrush. How severe is thrush for a newborn.

Answer:

Thrush is caused by Candida albicans, a fungus. The baby can acquire the infection when passing through the birth canal in a woman who has a yeast infection. Thrush often appears as thick milk like curds in the baby`s mouth that can not be wiped away. The recommended treatment for thrush is with a medication prescribed by the health care provider for both the mother and baby. (If you treat only one, the other is usually reinfected). Also, good hand washing is an important factor in preventing reinfections, along with a thorough daily washing of all items that have been in the infant`s mouth, boiling of pacifiers, bottle nipples and teethers daily, and discard after one week of treatment. If disposal breast pads are used, new ones should be used with each feeding, if cloth ones are used, they should be changed with each feeding and not reused until washed in hot soapy water. Bras should be changed frequently and washed often. Thrush is an infection, and all infections should be treated. If any infection is untreated it can affect the willingness to breastfeed. 

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Response by:

Tina   Weitkamp, RNC, MSN Tina Weitkamp, RNC, MSN
Associate Professor of Clinical Nursing
College of Nursing
University of Cincinnati