Symptoms And Treatment Of Thrush In Babies

4 min read

Written by Sindhuja Prabhu

Sindhuja Prabhu

oral thrush in babies

A cranky baby is very common. However, if your baby is crying every time you try to feed them or keeps trying to touch their mouth, then check their mouth. Does anything seem odd? What is thrush in babies?

Do you see any white patches around the mouth or on the tongue? Your baby could be suffering from Thrush. Thrush in babies is quite common. Read on to find out more about thrush in babies.

In This Article

What is Thrush in Babies?

Thrush in babies is a fungal infection very commonly found among infants under the age of 6 months. This is caused by Candida – a type of yeast.

How do Babies get Thrush?

The biggest question all parents with a tiny baby have is – how do babies get thrush? They are completely indoors, not exposed much to the outside world or other people, then how?

Babies put everything in their mouths, including their hands that have been everywhere they can reach. If they have touched a contaminated surface and put that hand into their mouth, they could have been infected too.

Sometimes babies can pick this fungus from the birth canal during vaginal birth. Thrush becomes a serious concern only when the fungus spreads and causes sore patches around the mouth and tongue.

Sometimes, if your baby is on antibiotics, the good bacteria in their body can be killed off, thus resulting in this disease. It is because the body’s natural defense mechanism – the good bacteria are killed, and paves way for the spread of infection.

What are the Symptoms?

baby crying while breastfeeding
Here are some of the symptoms to watch out for:

  • Feeding Difficulty:

Thrush can cause severe discomfort and prevent your baby from feeding properly even if they are very hungry.

  • Patches:

If you notice any thick white patches in and around your baby’s mouth, it could be a strong symptom. Try cleaning them gently with a soft cloth. If they don’t budge, it could be thrush.

  • Cracked Skin:

It can cause the skin around their mouth to crack. While this could also be due to dehydration, it never hurts to cross-check it with your doctor.

  • Mother’s Body:

It can be transferred to the mother. If the mother is experiencing any itchiness around her nipple, it could indicate thrush. While dry and cracked nipples are common, if it causes intense pain while feeding, it is time to get it checked.

  • Diaper Rash:

Another common phenomenon in a baby. However, if the fungus is excreted from the body, the baby can experience a rash around its bottom.

How is it Diagnosed? Is it Contagious?

Thrush in a baby is diagnosed with the above-mentioned symptoms. It is highly contagious through their saliva. If your baby is putting things or their hands into their mouth and touching other things with those hands, thrush can spread through these contaminated surfaces.

How can We Prevent Thrush in Babies?

mom and baby washing hands
A baby can come in contact with the yeast Candida in the birth canal itself. This is not in your control. However, here are a few precautions you can take to prevent oral thrush in babies:

  • Wash both yours and your baby’s hand often
  • Sterilize everything that comes in contact with your baby’s mouth – pacifiers, bottle teats, nipple shields, etc.
  • Clothes that might have come in contact with the infected area can be washed with hot water and disinfectant solution
  • Keep your breasts and nipples clean to avoid any fungal infection. Always clean your nipples with warm water before feeding the baby.
  • If you are using a breast pump, sterilize all parts that come in contact with your breast.
  • If you suspect your milk stash to be contaminated with yeast, discard it right away, no matter how hard it is to do.

What are the Treatments Prescribed?

The treatment generally involves an anti-fungal medication. Though the treatment for thrush in babies can be found over the counter, it is advisable to start any medication only after consulting your pediatrician.

What are the Home Treatments?

baby putting hand in mouth

When you spot any baby thrush symptoms, here are some home treatments to help your thrush baby. Remember, there is no scientific evidence that thrush can be completed cured by these remedies. These can be followed in addition to the anti-fungal treatment prescribed by the doctor.

  • The feeding mother can cut back on sugar, yeast, and dairy products in her diet
  • Rinsing nipples with vinegar and water solution


1. What is Thrush in Babies?

Thrush in babies is a fungal infection that can cause painful sores in the mouth.

2. What causes Thrush?

Thrush is caused by a yeast called Candida, which can live anywhere on the body.

3. Is Thrush Painful for Babies?

Sadly, yes. A baby with thrush can be in a lot of pain, especially while feeding if the oral thrush is out of control.

4. Can Mom Breastfeed a Baby with Thrush?

It is not advisable as thrush in babies is contagious and can be transferred to the mother’s nipple while feeding.

Sindhuja Prabhu,M.Sc (Psychology),PGDBM

Sindhuja, a mother of two, is an obsessive mom with a keen interest in psychology, especially child psychology. Her quest for knowledge and way with words led her to become a passionate content writer. She transformed her love for writing into a full-fledged career which incidentally also turned up being the perfect stress buster for the last 5 years.Read more.

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