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Yeast infections are caused by the growth of candida albicans.
Babies are prone to developing yeast infections in the mouth and on the bottom.
Most yeast infections subside in a few days without treatment, although in some cases, severe and troublesome yeast infections need to be tackled with the appropriate medications.
However, you can usually treat yeast infections at home with basic conservative therapy and employ preventive measures to avoid future infections.
Identifying and Preventing Yeast Infection
Determine if the diaper rash is caused by yeast infection.
Babies are prone to having diaper rash because of trapped moisture inside their diapers.
A normal diaper rash should disappear within days.
If the diaper rash is caused by a yeast infection, there will be appearance of small red pinpoint patches that move away from the center and covers the baby’s bottom.
Also, if the mother or the baby is taking antibiotics, the rash is likely caused by a yeast infection, because antibiotics kill the good bacteria that balance the naturally occurring yeast in the body.
Investigate whether or not there is a yeast infection in the baby's mouth.
It is easy to determine whether there is a yeast infection in the baby’s mouth.
If there are white patches surrounding the sides of the mouth, the tongue, gums, or lips, a yeast infection is probably present.
These patches can look like a curd of milk or undigested milk.
Don’t take it off as it can cause soreness.
Promote good oral hygiene and sterilize anything that comes in contact with the baby's mouth.
Sterilize items that come in contact with the mouth such as pacifiers, toys, or milk bottles.
If you are breastfeeding make sure you clean your nipples using a cotton and water before latching your baby.
This will ensure that fungal bacteria from the toy do not enter your baby’s mouth the next the item goes into his/her mouth.
Most bottles, teats, and spoons can be sterilized in a saucepan filled with water, such that the equipment is completely submerged.
If your baby is being exclusively breastfed or bottle-fed, then make sure you gently wipe your baby’s tongue and gums with a soft cloth dipped in warm water after every feed.
This will remove any residual milk in the mouth, and deter the yeast from thriving.
If your baby is old enough to accept top-feed, give him/her a sip of sterilized water after every feed.
This will rinse away the residual milk, sugar, or food in the mouth, which help Candida to flourish.
Outfit your baby with natural, breathable diapers.
Diapers made of natural fabrics are more breathable than their synthetic counterparts.
Increased airflow and circulation in the diaper will help reduce the chance of yeast development, and natural diapers allow this without constantly removing the diaper to allow for drying.
After every diaper change, allow the baby’s bottom to air dry for some time before replacing the diaper.
Apply a protective barrier to the baby's bottom.
Try using plain coconut oil, petroleum jelly, or diaper rash ointment every time you put your baby in a diaper.
These ointments act as protective layers on the baby’s skin, minimizing direct contact with urine and fecal matter.
This will help to prevent the development of yeast and other rashes.
This barrier will also help keep the skin dry.
Treating a Yeast Infection With Home Remedies
Change the baby’s diaper frequently.
Usually, babies defecates and pee a few minutes after they are fed.
You should always change the diaper when it gets wet to prevent moisture from accumulating around the bottom of the baby.
Fungus thrives in warm and moist environments, so always change the diaper after defecation or urination to prevent rash from occurring.
Also, when securing the baby’s diaper, make sure that it is not too tight to allow air to circulate.
Use cotton and water when cleaning the baby’s bottom.
Avoid using scented baby wipes as the chemicals can irritate the yeast rashes.
You can use mild baby cleansers when cleaning the bottom. Be sure to rinse and dry it thoroughly, to avoid moisture build up that will cause the yeast infection to spread.
Allow your baby to go without a diaper several hours per day.
This will ensure that the baby’s bottom is fresh and moisture free. Air exposure will definitely prevent rashes from occurring, or if one is present already, will facilitate fast recovery.
You can put a waterproof sheet or a towel underneath to prevent a mess from the baby pooping and peeing.
Use plain yogurt to naturally deter yeast from the bottom.
Yogurt is rich in probiotics and contains live microorganisms that can help boost the normal flora.
You can apply the yogurt to the bottom, but make sure that there are no open wounds when applying it.
Apply it in a circular motion, and allow it to stay for 15 minutes.
Then, rinse the baby’s bottom with water and let it dry before putting a new diaper.
Do this three times daily.
However, you cannot let the baby take yogurt orally, as yogurt is not good for babies under one year of age to eat.
Treating a Yeast Infection With Medication
Apply an over-the-counter (OTC) fungal cream on affected areas.
These ointments can be applied to the diaper rash every time you change a diaper, until the rash resolves.
Nystatin (Mycostatin), Clotrimazole (Lotrimin), Miconazole (Micatin) are common OTC antifungal topical treatments that can treat yeast infections.
Refer to the patient information leaflet for more directions and instructions on how to use these topical creams.
It usually takes 4 to 7 days before it heals.
Use barrier ointments to prevent build-up of moisture in the diaper.
You should apply this only after bathing and drying the baby thoroughly. Apply on affected areas liberally, to prevent a yeast-friendly environment from developing in the diaper.
These ointments include Zinc oxide (A&D ointment, Diaparene) or Petroleum jelly (Aquaphor, Vaseline).
Know when to seek medical help.
You should be knowledgeable of the symptoms that appear when a yeast infection becomes worse.
If none of the over-the-counter medications or natural remedies work, seek the help of a pediatrician or general practitioner.
These symptoms indicate that you should seek professional help:
Rash increases within 3 to 4 days.
Presence of a fever of more than 37.5 degree Celsius.
Your baby may look sluggish or weak.
Presence of yellow fluid-filled bumps.
Presence of honey-like crusty areas.
This indicates bacterial infection and the doctor may prescribe certain antibiotics for treatment.