Baby Yeast Infection

Due to several reasons a child may develop diaper rashes such as wetness, sensitivity and chafing. However if the diaper rash persist even after the treatment or with modification of baby care such as keeping the bottom of child dry, then the chances are pretty suggestive of baby yeast infection. Read on to learn why your baby may develop yeast infection and how you could treat and prevent this condition.

What Do Baby Yeast Infection Rashes Look Like?

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1. Yeast Diaper Rash

Yeast infection is not usually detected in mild cases; however in severe cases, the rash may appear beefy red with well-defined little raised borders and active lesions. The skin of child becomes scaly. Another clue to identify yeast infection is a yeast rash that doesn’t respond to any traditional treatment and will hang around more than 2 days. It can also appear on skin folds of groin area.

2. Oral Yeast Infection/ Oral Thrush 

Thrush is usually whitish oral, velvety lesions that appear on the tongue and mouth. Underneath the whitish material lies the red tissue which bleeds easily. The size and number of lesions can increase slowly in untreated cases. Thrush may be widespread (to involve large parts of tongue, mouth’s roof and inside of cheeks) and may mimic oral ulcers. These white patches cannot be rubbed off like bits of milk.

The initial sign of oral thrush is your baby becoming uncomfortable while taking foods because of painful mouth. However, it is also seen that the feeding behavior of few babies is unaffected by thrush.

When to See a Doctor

Consult with your doctor if you think the baby’s rash is a yeast infection. Your doctor will suggest treatment and medications. And, if the rash does not seems to improve after 3 days of medications then inform your doctor about this.

Immediately contact your doctor if the baby develops fever or yellow patches and open sores (in the vicinity of rash). This is a sign of bacterial infection that requires intensive antibiotic treatment.

How Does Your Baby Get a Baby Yeast Infection?

  • Moist diaper environment. Yeast occurs as a natural commensal on the body of humans (which is harmless in most cases unless the growth of yeast exceeds the normal range). Typically fungus thrives in wet and warm places such as bowels, vagina, skin and mouth. If a child has diaper rash (which is left untreated) then it can easily trigger yeast infection, regardless of the gender of baby. Moist diaper environment is perfect breeding ground for yeast infection.
  • Antibiotic treatment. Babies exposed to antibiotic treatment (even if the nursing mother is consuming antibiotics) are more prone to develop yeast infection. The reason is that consumption of antibiotic kill good bacteria (besides the disease causing bacteria) present in body that keeps the excessive yeast growth in check. In the absence of good bacteria, yeast can grow excessively.
  • Oral thrush. If a baby has mouth yeast infection (oral thrush), he/ she may develop diaper area yeast rash too. Here is how: when the child infected with oral yeast infection ingests any food or drink, the yeast can easily pass through the digestive system of child which ends up in stool and eventually it lands on the baby’s diaper.

How to Treat Babt Yeast Infection

Always contact your pediatrician before applying treatment modalities on any presumed yeast infection.

1. Treat Oral Thrush

Drops and gels are available for treating infected area in mouth of baby. It is important to clean and wash your hands after finishing the baby’s treatment so that thrush can be prevented from spreading. Treatment of yeast infection may take a week in resolution.

2. Treat Yeast Diaper Rash

  • Antifungal or Anti-yeast Cream

Regular diaper rash cream will not help in curing fungal infections therefore your doctor may advise to use topical antifungal or anti-yeast cream including clotrimazole, miconazole or nystatin, or any mild corticosteroid containing cream. Some of the creams are available on drugstore without prescription.

  • Barrier Cream or Ointment

Follow the directions written on the label of product can help in clearing the rash within a few days. It is also seen that some doctors advise to apply an ointment or a barrier cream over medication to prevent the rash from getting worse. Avoid using cornstarch as it can worsen the rash and talcum powder which can enter the lungs of the baby.

  • Frequent Diaper Change

Frequently change the diaper of baby and cleaning gently the affected area with water and cotton ball or soft cloth piece can help in decreasing the duration of illness. Avoid rubbing the area too hard and avoid using alcohol wipes. Water filled squirt bottle can also be used for cleaning the area if it appears extremely sensitive or irritated. If you are consuming soap for cleaning then it should be fragrance-free and mild. After cleaning pat the area so that it got dried or let it dry by air. Leave your baby without diaper for a few hours daily.

Click here to learn more treatments and remedies for baby diaper rash. 

3. Avoid Transmission and Re-infection

Thrushes can easily transmit from mother to a baby by hugging, kissing, bathing and nursing a baby. It can also transfer through pacifiers and bottles.

Fungus can easily grow in moist and warm places. It can travel from mouth of baby to GI tract then came out in the form of stool and cause yeast infection. Identify these pathways and block the transmission to prevent re-infection.

How to Prevent Baby Yeast Infection

If the baby is on antibiotics or had recovered recently from thrush then it is difficult to prevent yeast infection. However, following certain steps like preventing moist and dark environment can be helpful.

  • Always sterilize and clean teething rings, dummies, feeding equipments and bottles (or toys that your baby might take in mouth)
  • If you are a breastfeeding mother then clean and washed your nipples thoroughly before every feed
  • Check the diaper of baby more often and change soiled and wet diapers.
  • Wash and clean the bottom of child thoroughly after every bowel movement and completely dry the area before putting another diaper.
  • Tape the diaper loosely so that air can circulate around baby’s skin.
  • Keep the butt of your baby uncovered at least a couple of hours every day and let him roam around without a diaper.
  • Wash the clothes of babies at 60 degrees Celsius temperature to destroy any fungus.