Thrush - stopping the misery


Advice for new mums on dealing with thrush Dr Sharryn Gardner, Paediatrician at health app Juno shares her advice...

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What are the symptoms of thrush? Mothers might notice sore or cracked nipples and pain especially after feeding. Your baby might have white patches on their tongue which can look like milk, except if you try and ease them off, it’s raw underneath. The edges of the mouth can crack too and they can get a red nappy rash with red spots around it. Why do mothers & babies get thrush? The organism is a yeast or fungus (Candida Albicans) that normally lives in all of us, kept in check by our ‘good’ bacteria. Thrush is an overgrowth of this. It’s found right throughout the gut normally. Babies will often carry Candida from around or soon after birth. This early on in life, babies have a lot of antibodies from the mother and unfortunately these don’t prevent Candida from getting out of control. Their immune systems are still very immature and learning as they grow. Some babies will have thrush in their mouth (oral thrush) or just the nappy rash, and many will have both. Candida loves warm damp conditions so thrives in the nappy area. A mothers sore or cracked nipples make the area more susceptible to getting infected and your baby may pass it on through breastfeeding. It's passed through very close contact between those who are susceptible, (although it's not infectious in the same way as a virus). It’s also more likely to occur if either mum or baby are taking antibiotics which upset the normal ‘good’ bacteria balance in the gut. Treatment for thrush Anti-fungal treatments are usually given to treat it, in drop, gel or cream form. It is particularly important to continue treatments for either the mouth or nappy area until they are definitely fully gone. If the treatment isn’t working please go back to your healthcare provider to try a different option. You can do a lot to try and prevent it from coming back. Change nappies frequently to avoid the moist environment, leaving the nappy off for short periods to allow air drying and fastening the nappy slightly looser.


Lastly, get help. Knocking feeding or making either of under the weather has big implications - it's not just thrush. Hang in there, their wee bodies get less susceptible as the get bigger. It will pass!

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