Skip to content

How Do Babies Get Thrush?


How do babies get thrush?

What Is Thrush?

When babies get thrush, a parent’s life becomes a mix of worry and long nights. If you’re not familiar with this common infection, it’s easy to misunderstand the symptoms when they first appear. First-time parents are especially prone to not knowing what the disease is, but even a seasoned veteran of childbearing may completely overlook the disease if they haven’t encountered it before with previous children. Thrush is an oral yeast infection that babies frequently contract. It’s not usually a serious infection, and it is easily treated, so that’s terrific news for parents who know their infants have thrush.

Learning more about what thrush is can help you keep your children from contracting thrush or can help you know what to do when babies get thrush. The signs and symptoms of thrush are well documented and visible to the naked eye, so you’re not up against an invisible disease. Your baby’s behavior will be affected as well, so you have even more help in knowing what the problem might be. If you’re wondering how babies get thrush, your answers have been a part of medical knowledge for many decades now, and that’s always helpful.

The Symptoms Of Thrush

Thrush causes white and/or yellow splotches in a baby’s mouth. This very easy to see and recognize sign will be your most useful aid in knowing what the problem might be. There are other signs of thrush that you can look out for, too, including:

  • Since thrush is oral, the white patches can become irritated and raw, causing red sores
  • When feeding, the baby may show visible signs of discomfort or even be hesitant to feed
  • Babies may also avoid sucking on pacifiers because this can irritate the patches inside the mouth even more

When babies get thrush, they may also cry more than usual. That’s because the white patches will cause irritation, especially during feeding or when they’re using a pacifier. If you see the white patches in their mouth and discover that a baby who normally loves a pacifier is suddenly refusing it, that can also be a sign that they’ve developed this pesky oral infection.

Milk residue can also cause white patches that look similar to thrush. To know the difference, you’ll need to use a very clean object like a gauze pad to gently wipe the tongue of your baby and see if the white patches disappear. If they do, it’s very likely that those white patches are thrush. Since thrush is a medical condition, you’ll definitely need to make an appointment with your pediatrician to confirm that the condition your baby suffers from is thrush. So many infections can be confused for other conditions, so it’s vital to rule out other conditions under the guidance of a great pediatrician. A great doctor will know from looking at the condition if it is indeed thrush. It’s a very common condition among infants.

How Babies Get Thrush

Thrush is a very early infant infection, usually diagnosed in the first two months of life. That’s because thrush is contracted during the birth process itself. Candida thrives in the vagina, and it’s present when your child is on the way out. Normally, there’s not an abnormal amount of it in there, and it actually keeps other more pesky organisms in check, but on rare occasions when the woman is using antibiotics or is on hormones, it will be more numerous than usual and your child can be exposed to it during the birth process. Mothers, don’t feel guilty! This has nothing to do with you, and there’s absolutely nothing you can do to prevent this form of thrush. You can, however, prevent the infections in the future as you go about your daily routine of breastfeeding or bottle feeding.

A second less common way that babies get thrush is from yeast developing on breasts after breastfeeding (yes this happens). If you don’t properly clean and dry nipples after breastfeeding your baby, you can develop yeast on your breasts that might pass on a yeast infection to your baby. And it goes without saying that if your baby has oral thrush – and a thriving batch of oral yeast – they can also cause you to develop a yeast infection on your breasts when they breast feed. It’s not a pleasant though, but in order to prevent these infections in both you and your infant, it’s preferable to face the facts and do everything possible to prevent these types of infection.

Now that you know how babies get thrush, you can be wiser in the future and make sure any yeast infection you have during pregnancy is immediately treated or that you seek the advice of a doctor who can tell you how to prevent thrush when your baby is born. Also, clean and dry your breasts after breastfeeding. Yeast grows in very wet environments. It thrives there. The best way to repel it and never invite it into your life is to keep your breasts dry after breastfeeding your baby. This can be taxing for a tired mother to remember to do, but it’s part of an overall healthy lifestyle for you and your little one.

Medical Treatments For Thrush

Babies get thrush fairly commonly, and it’s one of the top things that new parents need to be aware of. Since it is so common, medical science has done an excellent job of providing sound treatments for thrush. If babies get thrush, it’s easy to treat, and most likely the doctor will want to treat both baby and mother. It can easily be passed from mother to baby or from baby to mother, so treating one without treating the other is a bad idea. A doctor will likely prescribe an antifungal antibiotic for both baby and mother. Nystatin is one of the most common medicines prescribed when babies get thrush. For the mother, a similar medication will be prescribed, only it will be prescribed for application to the nipple.


The easiest way to help you and your baby not develop thrush is to do everything in your power to prevent it. If your baby didn’t develop thrush through the birthing process, you’re one of the lucky ones. It happens frequently. Yeast that grows on breast or bottles because of improper drying is where you have ultimate control. Make sure to sterilize and dry your bottles very well so that you create an environment where yeast doesn’t want to live. It’s also important to dry breasts before feeding your baby so that they don’t pick up yeast that way.

There are babies who get thrush all over the world. It’s common, but it’s not something you want to let go for too long. Infants are fragile little beings, and any type of infection that threatens them is important to address as quickly as possible. If you see white patches in your infant’s mouth and confirm that they aren’t just milk residue, it’s time for a trip to your pediatrician’s office. Babies get thrush, but they don’t have to keep it for long. With effective topical treatment, most instances of thrush are completely clear after only 10 days. And while it’s always worrying when your child is sick, it’s something that you have control over. Thrush is easily recognizable, easily treatable, and after instances of thrush from the birthing process, it’s easily preventable.

1 thought on “How Do Babies Get Thrush?”

  1. If your baby won’t sleep, check out the sleep method from – Thank you SleepBaby for this brilliant method! My daughter now sleeps from 7pm to 6 or 6:30am every night with almost no night wakings. And even if she wakes, it’s usually just for a second and then she falls back asleep all on her own.

    Most nights I get my 8 hours of sleep and it’s just wonderful! I really feel like I understand her little body and mind and can address her sleeping holistically. I can’t thank you enough, Kacey and the team!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.