Learning About Yeast Infections In Babies

Most yeast infections that affect babies are relatively harmless. The two parts of the body that are most likely to be infected are the mouth, a condition also known as oral thrush, and the diaper area causing a red and irritated rash.

In many cases the cause of yeast infection is the result of an imbalance in micro-flora in the body.  When babies are born, they are effectively sterile. Their first contact with bacteria and yeasts occurs in the birth canal. As they grow, the populations of bacteria in the gut and elsewhere on the body continues to rise.  It is estimated for example that once we reach adulthood we have over 3 pounds of bacteria in our gut.  These populations of “good bacteria” play a role in keeping pathogenic organisms, including yeasts under control. They may also play a role in boosting the immune system and improving digestive function. But if this balance of micro-flora is lost, for example after taking antibiotics, a yeast infection can develop.

Oral yeast infections can be recognized by whitish patches in your baby’s mouth that won’t rub off.  There may also be areas of raw and bleeding skin.  If the infection appears severe, your first step should be to call your pediatrician. There may be a need for you to take prescription antifungal medication. Homeopathic treatments such as Yeastrol may also be an option to consider, but always under supervision. If you are breast-feeding, most health professionals will suggest that you continue to do so. But make sure you dry your nipples carefully between feedings.

Oral yeast infections can at times spread to cause severe looking diaper rashes. While mild rashes caused by contact abrasion with the diaper tend to be confined to the bottom area only, yeast infections typically also affect the skin folds around the thighs.  A yeast induced rash may also develop a raised border and blisters can form. The skin under the diaper in babies tends to remain warm and moist over long periods of time – creating exactly the conditions in which yeast thrives.  They are a wide selection of diaper rash remedy creams and ointments on the market, some of which may be effective against yeast infections. But if the rash does not clear up on its own, call the doctor.