What is thrush?

Healthcare   |   Age: 5 weeks 1 day

What is thrush?

If you see white, patchy, cottage cheese-like patches on your baby’s mouth or tongue, don’t panic — these are common symptoms of a harmless yeast infection called thrush. This infection frequently occurs in newborns, caused by the candida fungus, which you may know as “yeast.”

Thrush is an infection that occurs when medications, stress, or illness disturb the body’s balance of good and bad bacteria, which lets the candida fungus grow. Many infants come in contact with the candida fungus when they travel down the birth canal, but the infection can develop due to antibiotics or hormonal changes. Thrush looks different from milk in your baby's mouth, but if you're concerned that you might have mistaken one for the other, try gently scraping a clean finger or spoon over the spot - if the white comes off, it's probably milk, but if it stays, it might be thrush.

Most cases of thrush do not need treatment as the infection clears up on its own. If your baby finds thrush painful, or has difficulty eating, most doctors will prescribe an oral fungal medication. Consult the doctor if thrush persists for more than a week.

It is possible that your baby will pass an infection on to you through breastfeeding, which can cause a painful yeast infection on your nipples. If this occurs, you should contact your healthcare provider as this infection will require treatment. Once you've gotten rid of thrush, remember not to feed your baby any milk you may have pumped while you had it.


  • “Thrush - children and adults.” MedlinePlus. U.S. National Library of Medicine, September 10 2015. Web.
  • “Thrush and Other Candida Infections.” Healthy Children. American Academy of Pediatrics, November 21 2015. Web.

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