Suddenly your baby sticks out a little white tongue instead of a pink one. Thrush is a fungal infection of the mouth which many small babies get.
For most babies, thrush in the mouth doesn't cause any problems. The first stage of treatment is to ensure that you don't get it as well.
If your baby has some white spots or a white coating on their tongue, the roof of their mouth and the insides of their cheeks, it's probably thrush. This is a common fungal infection which often appears on babies' tongues and/or the inside of their cheeks. It looks like a white coating on the mucous membranes, which become red and irritated. A bad case of thrush can make it harder for your baby to feed.
How to treat thrush
Thrush often passes without treatment. You can try winding a gauze bandage or towel around your finger, dipping it in carbonated water and then gently rubbing the mucous membranes in your baby's mouth. This method has no proven effect, but some people find it helps.
If the fungal infection spreads, it should be treated with antifungal medication. Ask your paediatric clinic which product to use. If your baby uses dummies, these should be boiled every day.
Thrush in your baby's mouth can also result in an itchy fungal infection on their bottom, as the infection spreads through the digestive system. If this happens, contact your paediatric clinic for further measures.
You can also get thrush
Mums can also get thrush on their nipples, in their mouths and in the vagina. Thrush on the nipples can make breastfeeding painful. In the worst case scenario, thrush can spread to the milk ducts, causing fungal infections that are painful and difficult to treat.
This can be itchy and cause a burning, stabbing pain. If you have any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor, midwife, lactation consultant or paediatric nurse for treatment. It's important that both you and your baby are treated.
If your baby has a feeding bottle you can reduce the risk of ongoing infection by boiling the teat and bottle in water every day. Do not suck on a clean teat yourself, e.g. if it's been dropped onto the ground.