One of the infections that can affect your infant is oral baby thrush. It is a common yeast infection. It is curable and usually not a cause of worry. Oral thrush in babies can be caused due to the different micro-organisms present in the body.
Thrush is common in babies in the first few months of their lives. This is because their immune systems are yet to develop properly. Depending on the age of your baby, you can determine which home remedies you can use.
Read more: 5 Signs of Thrush in Babies
What causes oral baby thrush?
Oral baby thrush is caused by a fungus known as Candida Albicans. This fungus is usually found in your baby’s mouth and his or her digestive system. It is present in adults also. Usually it continues to exist without causing any trouble.
In certain cases, there may be an imbalance or overgrowth of yeast in your baby’s mouth. In these cases you can see infections such as oral thrush in your baby. The exact causes of oral trush in babies is unknown. It has been seen to occur when babies suck on improperly cleaned pacifiers. It can also happen as a result of certain antibiotics.
What does oral baby thrush look like?
Many new moms are confused about whether their baby is showing the signs of oral thrush. This is because the infection looks like a coating of milk on your baby’s tongue. It is hard to tell the difference many times.. It is especially hard to tell if your baby has just been breastfed or has eaten formula.
Some of the symptoms of thrush in babies are:
- Thin coating of milk on your baby’s tongue in several patches
- The coating does not disappear even after a few hours from feeding time
- It does not go away easily when wiped off
- With time, the thin coating starts to become thicker
In severe cases you will notice the following symptoms:
- Your baby will have patches resembling cottage cheese in his or her mouth
- The patches cannot be wiped or worn off easily
- In case the patches are wiped off, you can notice the area below it becoming red and raw
- There might even be bleeding in severe cases
If you can see the above symptoms in your baby, it is likely that he or she has got the infection. If you are breastfeeding your baby, and feel soreness in your nipples, you may also have been infected. This case is known as nipple thrush.
What is the treatment for oral baby thrush?
If you see the symptoms of oral thrush in your baby it is best that you contact your doctor. Timely medical attention will help cure your baby faster. If left untreated, it can cause your infant severe discomfort and pain.
In very severe cases, your doctor is likely to prescribe medication. In any case, it is always best to get your doctor to check whether the coating in your baby’s mouth is a fungus or just milk. If it is mild you can use certain home remedies to treat thrush in baby tongue.
What are the home remedies for treating thrush in babies?
There are a number of easy home remedies that you can use to treat thrush in your baby. You need to remember that these are ok if your baby has a mild case of thrush. In severe cases, it is best to get professional medical attention.
11 Natural Home Remedies To Treat Thrush in Babies
Gentian violet is a sort of dye that imparts color to anything that it touches. This home remedy has been in use for many years as a cure for baby thrush. Research has also shown it to be an effective solution.
- Apply some gentian violet in your baby’s mouth with a cotton swab
- Do this once or twice in a day
- Continue for up to three days. You should notice a difference
- Make sure your baby is undressed prior to application. This way you won’t stain the clothes
- You can also apply some petroleum jelly to your baby’s lips before applying the dye. This way the lips won’t be stained.
It is usually been proven to be safe for use on human. It is safe to apply on babies. However, to be sure, consult your baby’s doctor first. Gentian violet is easily avialable at drugstores and online. When buying, make sure you purchase 1% Gentian Violet solution.
Sodium Bicarbonate / Baking Soda
This is yet another age old home remedy that mothers have been using to treat thrush in their babies. You can use this to treat mild cases of infant oral thrush. Remember to use only diluted sodium bicarbonate.
- Bring to boil 1 cup of drinking water
- Let it cool till it is at room temperature
- Now, add about 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
- Mix well
- Dip a clean cotton swab in this solution
- Wipe your baby’s mouth gently with the swab
- Do this every time after your baby has been breastfed. Otherwise, you can do it as many times in the day as you can
You will soon see the thrush disappear. Make sure to use a fresh cotton swab each time you apply the mixture in your baby’s mouth. Prepare a fresh solution every time. Do not use left over solution. For best results, breastfeeding mothers can coat their nipples too.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil has many health benefits. One of them is its ability to treat thrush in your baby. Here is how you can use it to help your baby heal.
- Boil 1/2 cup drinking water and cool it till it reaches room temperature
- Add 1 – 2 drops of tea tree oil to the water
- Dip a clean cotton swab in the mixture.
- Shake any excess liquid off
- Apply this gently on to the affected areas in your baby’s tongue and mouth
This should help in keeping the infection from spreading. Remember to use a fresh cotton bud every time you repeat the treatment.
Grapefruit seed extract
This one is a bitter option. But it is very effective in removing the fungus. Try the following home remedy for a few days to treat oral baby thrush. Grapefruit seed extract can be easily bought from pharmacies.
- Add 8 – 10 drops of grapefruit seed extracts to 1 ounce of distilled water
- Apply this to your baby’s mouth and tongue
- Do this every hour. Especially before and after every feed
- In case there is no improvement after 2 days, increase the concentration of grapefruit seed extract to 15 drops. If it still doesn’t improve, increase to 20 drops
Remember to use only distilled water for this home remedy. Using regular tap water will make it less effectife. If this does not help, discuss possible medication with your doctor.
Breastfeeding mothers should also coat their nipples with the solution before and after every feed. This will prevent the infection from being passed on to your baby from you.
Aloe vera is definitely one of the home remedies for thrush that you can use. It is safe for use on babies. You can easily use this at home.
- Apply aloe vera gel to the affected areas in your baby’s mouth, tongue, and cheeks
- Use a fresh and clean cotton swab to apply the gel
It is very effective in treating the discomfort caused by oral thrush. In older babies you can even let them have 1/4 cup of aloe vera juice everyday. This will not only treat the infection, but also boost your little one’s immunity. This will ensure that the infection does not return soon.
Turmeric and milk paste
This is suitable for treating thrush in older babies. In infants it is best not to use this. Turmeric is very well known for its antibacterial properties. It is also anti-viral and anti-fungual. These properties make it very good in treating oral baby thrush.
Turmeric roots are easily available in the market. The other item needed for this home remedy is milk. Milk is available in every home. Make sure to use organic turmeric
- Peel and crush some amount of fresh turmeric roots
- Make sure you have enough to make about 3 teaspoons of the paste
- Add 2 spoons of milk to the turmeric paste
- Mix well
- Apply this paste on to the affected areas of your baby’s mouth.
- Tell your baby to move the paste around the whole mouth for a few minutes
- Spit the paste out
- Repeat the process twice every day
This home remedy is sure to help your baby get over oral thrush fast. It is not suitable in infants as they are unable to spit out the mixture and may swallow it.
Warm Milk and Castor Oil
This is one of the most effective home remedies for treating oral thrush in infants. It is easy to make and apply. Warm milk has been used by many mothers to treat thrush in their babies. It is also effective in keeping your baby’s lips moisturized.
- Take 1 tablespoon castor oil
- Add it to 1 glass of warm milk
- Apply this mixture to the affected parts in your baby’s mouth and lips
- Apply as many times as you want in a day
With regular application you will see the symptoms begin to fade. It will also help to fight further infection in your baby.
Fresh Loganberry Jam
This is also one of the home remedies that you can try. It is known for curing thrush in baby’s tongue and mouth. Beware, it has a very strong taste. Your child may not like it. It may be tough to give to your baby who has not tasted anything other than breast milk or formula.
However, if you decide to give it your baby, here is how you can prepare it:
- Take 1/2 teaspoon of loganberry jam
- Add to one cup of drinking water
- With a fresh and clean cotton swab, gently apply the mixture onto the affected areas of your baby’s mouth
- Do this every time after your baby is breatfed
- You can repeat the process as many times as you like for faster results
Fresh ligonberry jam may be difficult to find easily. But it is definitely a home remedy worth trying. It is very effective in curing the symptoms.
Studies have shown that fungus cannot survive in hot or lukewarm environment. We know that oral baby thrush is caused by fungal infection. This can be an effective way to treat thrush at home. It can help to flush out the fungus in your baby’s mouth.
- Let your baby drink lukewarm water between feeds
- Make sure that the temperature of the water is suitable for your baby
- Use hot water to strelize your baby’s feeding bottles and nipples to avoid the spread of the fungus
- Wash your nipples with warm water and air-dry to prevent passing on the fungus to your baby
For an older baby, you can let them clean their mouths with lukewarm or hot water. Make them gurgle and swish the water around in their mouths, then spit it out.
Using pure coconut oil in babies to treat thrush is absolutely fine. It is easily digested by your babies. It can form a good barrier between the passing of the fungus back and forth.
- Apply some pure coconut oil to your baby’s mouth
- You can also apply some on your baby’s lips
This will help treat the oral baby thrush. Coconut oil is rich in caprylic acid. It is found in raw virgin coconut oil. This is a known anti-fungal agent. Coconut oil can be a great home remedy to treat thrush in babies. Mothers who are breastfeeding, can also apply some on the nipples to prevent further infection.
Apple Cider Vinger
This might cause a few tears from your little one. It has a strong taste. But it is very good in treating oral baby thrush.
- Add a few drops of apple cider vinegar to your nipples before each feed
- This will help keep the thrush away
- You can also add to your nipples after the feeding.
For older children, you can make an apple cider vinegar and honey tonic. This can help treat thrush.
- Mix 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with some honey
- Add this mixture to 1 cup of warm water
- Let your child drink this solution twice a day
- Continue till you get the desired results
Apple cider vinegar is a known anti-fungal agent. It can be used effectively to treat oral baby thrust. It’s health benefits make it safe for use in children. However, they may not like the strong taste.
When your baby is breastfeeding, it is important for you also to follow some steps. These will help limit the infection. It will also prevent the infection from spreading from you to your baby.
Some of the steps for you to follow that can be useful include:
- Eating yogurt or other foods that contain probiotics
- Washing and sterilizing your baby’s pacifiers and toys
- Restricting how much sugar and sweets you include in your diet
- Making sure to sterilize breast pumps. Do this as soon as you use them
- Keeping nipples clean and dry at all times
Speak to your doctor, in case the thrush lasts for more than 2 weeks. Though infant oral thrush is not a serious problem, it should be treated without any delay, as it could cause your baby a significant amount of pain and discomfort.