Baby thrush is an infection that occurs in a baby’s mouth. It’s caused by the overgrowth of a natural bacterium by the name of Candida, which means yeast. All babies are born with this bacteria already present in their mouths, which is perfectly normal and of no concern to you. The presence of healthy bacterium in the body controls the unhealthy bacterium such as Candida so that infections do not occur. However, that does not mean that your baby will never experience an infection. When your baby’s immune system is compromised by illness such as a cold, regular health issues, or the introduction of antibiotics designed to treat bacterial infections, thrush can occur.
If you’re not sure how to recognize thrush, you should learn the signs and symptoms. The first thing you might notice with thrush is your baby’s sudden lack of desire to eat. He or she might seem hungry but refuse to eat. This is because thrush causes lesions in the mouth. In small portions, these lesions are not very painful and your baby might not even feel them. As the infection worsens, however, the lesions grow in number and become painful. At this point, your baby might refuse to eat. This could pose a problem regarding dehydration.
Thrush is easily treatable both at home and with prescription medication. However, it is highly contagious. Anything your baby sucks on will carry with it the bacterium that causes thrush. It is imperative that you work diligently to prevent the spread of thrush to others by sanitizing and sterilizing any and everything that comes into contact with your baby’s mouth. When your baby uses a bottle, stick the nipple of the bottle in a pot of boiling water for 10 minutes. Do the same each time your baby is finished using his or her pacifier. It might help to have several pacifiers on hand in instances such as this where your baby might use it frequently. If your baby is breast fed, make sure to clean your nipples between each feeding with soap and warm water to remove and kill bacteria so that you’re not passing the infection back and forth with every feeding. It is also important to be on the lookout for painful, red nipples. This is a sign that you’ve contracted the infection and will need to treat yourself as well.
Is Baby Thrush Contagious To Adults?
Thrush is a bacterial infection caused by the yeast virus. It is highly contagious. This is true of adults. Nursing mothers often contract this bacterial infection on their breasts as a result of being in direct contact with the bacteria in your child’s mouth. Your contraction of thrush on your nipples can cause you to pass the infection back and forth to your child at every feeding. Additionally, this infection is contagious to other parts of an adult’s body. If the bacterium comes into contact with different body parts, the infection can occur. Women might experience a yeast infection that causes severe discomfort and requires medication. Some medication is available over-the-counter while others are available only through prescription. Your doctor will have more information and recommendations for you if you contract a yeast infection from your little one.
If you do notice that your baby has shared thrush with you, it’s because your nipples have become red, swollen, and painful. It might become excruciating to nurse your baby and/or pump breast milk. You’ll want to talk to your doctor about treatment if this occurs. Not only because you don’t want to pass it back to your baby, but because you will need relief from the pain or you will risk decreased feedings and pumping sessions, which can limit your milk supply.
Is Baby Thrush Contagious To Other Babies?
Thrush in babies is not just contagious to adults who are nursing their infants. Baby thrush is contagious to other babies as well. Any baby that has thrush gets the infection on his or her fingers, teething rings, toys, pacifiers, and bottle nipples anytime they come into contact with the baby’s mouth. If another baby is present and happens to pick up the infected child’s pacifier or chewed on toy, he or she is exposed to the bacterium that causes thrush. This could make other children and babies develop thrush.
Furthermore, anytime you stick your fingers in and/or around your baby’s mouth, your fingers come into contact with the infection. If you neglect to wash your hands thoroughly after contact, you could spread the infection to another baby that’s visiting simply by holding the baby or touching his or her pacifier or bottle.
To prevent the spread of thrush between babies and adults, have your baby’s thrush treated by a medical professional as soon as possible. Your baby’s pediatrician can recommend an antibiotic that will kill the bacteria and rid your baby of thrush. Additionally, you will need to practice sterilization with everything your baby comes into contact with. For example, if your baby uses a pacifier, you will need to sterilize it after every use. This requires placing it into boiling water for 10 minutes. The same needs to be done for all bottle nipples, teething rings, and everything else your baby sucks on or chews on.
If you nurse your baby, you will need to sterilize your breasts after each feeding. Not doing so won’t spread the infection to other children, but it will continuously spread the infection back and forth between you and your baby. The best way to sterilize your breasts is with a soft wash cloth and warm, soapy water. Massage the skin on and around your nipples gently and allow them to air dry. This will help to kill the bacteria and ease the pain associated with thrush if you have it on your breasts. Do not forget to do this after every feeding. Missing even one will result in your baby being re-infected with the bacteria.