Yeast Infections In Infants: All You Need To Know

A common site in infants

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Yeast infections occur commonly in the mouth by a fungal germ called Candida. This fungus lives in our mouth, vagina, gastro intestinal tract. Even though it occurs in adults, it can also occur in babies and can dissuade mothers from breastfeeding. Mothers can become infected and spread to their baby or babies can have it and spread it to their mothers. Candida infection happens in all age groups. I want nothing to deter you from breastfeeding, if that is your intention. I remember when I was working in the public clinics in my community in the Beautiful, sunny Bahamas, I used to see this condition quite frequently. One of the things about oral thrush in infants is that it is easily controlled and treated.

Causes of A Yeast Infection

Some conditions puts you at risk for a yeast infection .You are likely to get a yeast infection if:

  • You are pregnant
  • Have a weakened immune system
  • Hormonial changes-birth control
  • Broken skin
  • Antibiotics use
  • On steriods

Yeast infections can also cause

  • diaper rash, and oral thrush in infants
  • Sore nipples in the breast
  • vaginal yeast infections
  • Jock itch infections

Signs Of A Yeast Infection (Thrush)

Getting the right treatment as soon as possible is key

  • White spots on inside of baby’s cheeks, tongue, or gums.
  • Sore nipples that last more than a few days, even after your baby has a good latch. Mothers can transfer the germ to their babies.
  • Achy breasts or shooting pains deep in the breast during or after feedings.
  • raised white lesions that resemble cottage cheese on your tongue, inner cheeks, gums, the roof of your mouth, and tonsils
  • mouth redness or soreness
  • mouth bleeding
  • loss of taste
  • feeling like your mouth is full of cotton
  • difficulty eating and swallowing if lesions spread to your throat or esophagus
  • Pink, flaky, shiny, itchy, cracked, or blistered nipples.
  • Baby may not be sucking well

If you have concerns of a fungal infection, call both your doctor and your baby’s doctor. That way, you both can be correctly diagnosed and treated at the same time. This will help keep you from passing the infection back and forth.

Can I Give My Baby Breast Milk If I Have A Yeast Infection?

Fungal Infections can spread rapidly

Many mothers are concerned they might have to loose their dozens upon dozens of breast milk they saved for their babies while they acquired a yeast infection. Yes Mamas, you can give your baby breast milk if you are on treatment for this infection. This is awesome news!

While you and baby are being treated for yeast, your refrigerated and fresh milk may be given to baby without a problem.


Remember that it’s recommended that you continue thrush treatment until one to two weeks after all thrush symptoms have disappeared (Amir 2002).

Prevention Of A Yeast Infection

  1. Wear breathable underwear.( Paid link) Cotton is your best choice. It doesn’t hold onto heat or moisture. It will help keep you dry.
  2. Keep things loose. Make sure your jeans, skirts, underwear, yoga pants-Paid link, tights, pantyhose, etc. aren’t too snug. They can boost your body temperature and increase the amount of moisture around your private parts. That raises your chances for a yeast infection.
  3. Don’t douche.(Paid link) “Feminine hygiene products” like douches can disrupt the balance of bacteria in your vagina by removing some of the good bacteria that’s supposed to be there to fight off infections.
  4. Skip the scent in feminine products.(Paid link) This includes bubble baths, soaps, sprays, tampons, and pads.
  5. Avoid hot tubs and extra hot baths. Hot and damp are never your friends.
  6. Change out of wet clothes. Don’t sit in a wet bathing suit( paid link) after you go swimming or damp workout gear after the gym. Change into dry clothes right away.
  7. During your bath, always wipe from front to back.
  8. When on your period, change your tampons, pads, and panty liners often. (Paid link)
  9. Manage your diabetes. If you have it, be sure to keep an eye on your blood sugar levels and keep them under control.
  10. Use antibiotics only when you have to. You don’t need them for conditions like a cold, because they don’t do anything against a virus. If you don’t have to, don’t take them. They are usually required only if you have a high fever

Mother’s Milk Helps To Protect Against Yeast Infection: Great News!

Mothers do not have to waste their precious breast milk

Mother’s milk may actually help to protect baby against candida overgrowth, as some studies have shown a greater incidence of thrush in babies who are formula fed (Zollner 2003, Hoppe 1997). Components of human milk, including sIgA and lactoferrin, are active against Candida albicans (Riordan 2004, Morrill 2003, Andersson 2000, Goldman 1998). In fact, because human milk inhibits the growth of candida, it can be difficult to culture candida in milk without the use of special techniques (Morrill 2003). In addition, human milk encourages the growth of “good bacteria” such as lactobacillus in baby’s GI tract, which helps to limit fungal growth (Riordan 2004). These inherent defenses against candida overgrowth may help to prevent thrush in a healthy baby who drinks expressed milk containing candida from a previous outbreak.

Did you know expressed milk that has been frozen should still be protective against candida overgrowth? Lactoferrin and sIgA are two of the primary components of milk that are active against candida, and both sIgA and lactoferrin activity in human milk are unchanged after 3 months of freezing at -15°C (May 2005).

Minimize any risk of using milk frozen during a thrush outbreak by :

  • One option is to dilute the defrosted “thrush” milk by mixing it with milk expressed at a different time.
  • Another option is to heat treat the defrosted “thrush” milk to kill most or all of the candida present.
  • Per Amir and Hoover in Candidiasis and Breastfeeding (p. 3) and per Odds in Candida and Candidiasis: A Review and Bibliography, 2nd ed. (p 14), candida usually dies within minutes at a temperature of 122°F (50°C).

How To Get Relief From A yeast Infection: 9 Tips

You may be wondering if there is any relief for you during a yeast infection. There are many home remedies you can try. It is important to know that these remedies does not treat a yeast infection ; only brings some relief only to the adults, not the infants children. These remedies have worked well for some women. You will still need to see a doctor for antifungal treatment. In the process of your treatment you can use these remedies to get some comfort:

1. Vitamin C

Vitamin C the immune booster is great relief

Vitamin C (also called ascorbic acid) is necessary for proper immune system function. It does this by encouraging white blood cell productionTrusted Source, which helps protect your body against infection.

It also helps these cells function more effectively and protects them against harmful molecules.

A healthy immune system helps bring balance back to your body. Increasing your intake of vitamin C if you’re deficient may help boost your body’s ability to beat the infection.

2. Apple cider vinegar

People with dentures have a higher risk of getting oral thrush. Dentures that don’t fit properly or that aren’t cleaned well provide the ideal environment for Candida to thrive. This may cause a condition similar to thrush called denture stomatitis.

According to a 2015 in vitro study, apple cider vinegar has antifungal properties against Candida and may be a good alternative treatment option for people with denture stomatitis. Here is a paid link to some apple cider vineger.

To use:

  • Add 1 teaspoon of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar to 1 cup of water.
  • Swish the rinse throughout your mouth for at least 15 seconds.
  • Spit out the mixture.

3. Clove oil

People have used clove oil as a folk remedy for oral problems for centuries. It’s still used in dentistry today as an antiseptic and pain reliever.

According to a 2005 in vivo and in vitro study on immunosuppressed rats, the main compound in clove oil (eugenol) was found to be as effective in treating oral thrush as the antifungal drug nystatin (Mycostatin).

Further research on humans is still needed, but it could work for you as a beneficial addition to your treatment.

To use:

  • Take clove oil as a dietary supplement as directed by the manufacturer or your doctor.
  • You can also make a clove mouth rinse by steeping 1 teaspoon of whole ground cloves in 1 cup of boiling water for at least 5 minutes.
  • Strain the solution, keeping the liquid.
  • Swish the liquid around your mouth.
  • Spit out the solution.

Cloves may cause an allergic reaction or a numbing effect in the mouth in some people.

4. Turmeric

Turmeric gets its vibrant yellow color from curcumin. Curcumin is a powerful compound thought to have anti-inflammatory abilities.

According to a 2010 study on mice, curcumin may treat oral thrush. The study found curcumin to be an antifungal against both albicans and non-albicans species of Candida, especially when combined with piperine.

Piperine is a compound found in black pepper that helps the body absorb turmeric. Further research is needed on humans. Here is a paid link to some tumeric

To use:

  • Make “golden milk” by combining 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon turmeric paste (store-bought or homemade) with a dash of black pepper and 1 cup of filtered water or milk of your choice.
  • Heat in a saucepan until warm.
  • Swish the mixture throughout your mouth as you drink it.

5. Lemon juice

Lemon juice is thought to have antiseptic and antifungal abilities that help it fight against the fungus that causes thrush.

According to a small 2009 study, lemon juice was found to be a more effective treatment for oral thrush than gentian violet among people with HIV. Since the study is small, more research is needed.

To use:

  • Add the juice of 1/2 a lemon to 1 cup of warm or cool water.
  • Drink the mixture, or use as a mouth rinse.

Some people apply lemon juice directly to thrush lesions, but the lemon’s acidity may cause burning and irritation.

6. Gentian violet

Gentian violet is a synthetic, violet-colored dye with antifungal propertiesTrusted Source. It’s a common home remedy for oral thrush.

You can buy gentian violet without a prescription at most pharmacies or online.

To use:

  • Apply gentian violet to the affected area with a cotton swab two or three times daily, or as directed by your doctor.

 7. Yogurt

Probiotic yogurt contains live, “good” bacteria cultures that may helpTrusted Source treat oral thrush.

The cultures don’t kill Candida. Instead, they stop its growth. They may also help restore the proper balance of good to bad bacteria in the mouth.

Since it’s soft, yogurt is also a great food to eat if you’re having trouble swallowing due to painful mouth and throat lesions. Here is a paid link for some yogurt.

To use:

  • Eat yogurt a couple of times daily at the first sign of oral thrush.
  • Choose unsweetened varieties since Candida thrives on sugar.
  • If you don’t like yogurt, you can get the same benefits by taking a daily probiotic supplement.

8. Baking soda

Rinsing your mouth with baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) may help treat oral thrush.

In a 2009 study, researchers looked at the effectiveness of sodium bicarbonate as a disinfectant of Candida albicans adhered to acrylic resin. The test was meant to simulate the daily disinfecting of dentures.

Researchers concluded that, although not the most effective form of disinfectant, baking soda was a “viable alternative.” Here is a paid link to some baking soda. Remember baking soda has several house hold uses.

To use:

  • Dissolve 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda in 1 cup of warm water.
  • Swish the rinse throughout your mouth.
  • Spit out the rinse.

9. Salt-water

Salt has antiseptic, cleansing, and soothing properties. This makes it a common home remedy for many oral problems.

Rinsing your mouth with saltwater could help relieve symptoms of oral thrush.

To use:

  • Dissolve 1/2 teaspoon of salt in 1 cup of warm water.
  • Swish the solution throughout your mouth.
  • Spit out the salt solution. Here is a link to some saline mouth wash.(Paid link)

When to Seek Help?

Contact your doctor right away at the first signs of oral thrush if your immune system is weak.

Other conditions mimic oral thrush, such as oral hairy leukoplakia and lichen planus. See your doctor for a proper diagnosis before self-treating.

Since most home remedies have been researched on animals — not humans — it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor before trying them.

Breastfed babies with oral thrush may spread the infection to their mother’s breasts. If you’re breastfeeding and develop redness around your nipples or pain, see your doctor. It probably is oral thrush.

As you can see this germ Candida can cause our lives to be uncomfortable. It affects all ages. We must do our best to ensure that we are not putting our lives at risk .Let us follow the protocols for prevention of this condition. I hope you enjoyed this session and most of all learned something. I hope you continue to have a wonderful breastfeeding journey. I would love to hear from you. You can leave a comment below.

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Published by Marilyn Smith

Hello. My name is Marilyn Smith. I am a Health Specialist with specialized skills in Clinical Practical Nursing, and Midwife of thirty six years. I am also a certified Lactation and Grief Specialist. I am well qualified to assist in meeting your breastfeeding needs. Breastfeeding is indeed the best for your baby. Congratulations on making such a wonderful decision. Consider this your home as we learn about the joys and pains of pregnancy & breastfeeding

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