Oral thrush is a common type of infection that is caused by a fungus, or yeast, called Candida albicans. Your baby may develop this type of infection after a course of antibiotics, while breastfeeding or simply because her digestive tract is not developed. Symptoms include white patches on inner lips, cheeks or tongue, and cracks on the side of the mouth. Your baby may or may not be bothered by these lesions, but if you suspect that she has thrush, take her to see the doctor. Yogurt is a popular home remedy for yeast infections, but it might not be appropriate for your baby, depending on her age.
Yogurt for Babies
A baby younger than 6 months old should eat only breast milk or baby formula, reports Medline Plus, so feeding him yogurt is not an appropriate treatment for thrush. An older baby might be able to eat small amounts of yogurt containing live active cultures. Ask his pediatrician to be sure, and introduce it as you would any other food, waiting one week before or after introducing other new foods. If you do use yogurt to help treat your baby's thrush, also follow his doctor's directions for eliminating the infection.
Yogurt for Mothers
If you are breast-feeding and your baby has thrush, you may develop thrush on your nipples as well. Since you can pass the infection back and forth, it is important to treat your own thrush at the same time that you treat your baby's. Eating yogurt with live active cultures might help, but there are no scientific studies to prove yogurt's benefits against thrush. While eating yogurt, follow your doctor's recommended treatment to ensure that you get rid of the infection.
Several other natural treatments for infant oral thrush may be effective. Do not try any remedies without your baby's doctor's approval, as some substances may be harmful or irritating to your baby's mouth. Probiotic capsules contain live active cultures and might help your baby. Pomegranate gel and garlic may ward off oral thrush, as can hydrogen peroxide diluted with water. Your baby's doctor may prescribe an anti-fungal medication, or may suggest not treating it to see if it clears up on its own.
If your baby is over 9 months old or develops recurring thrush, ask her pediatrician to check her for underlying health conditions. If you are bottle feeding, run the bottles and nipples through the dishwasher or wash with hot water to kill the fungus that causes thrush. Keep an eye on your baby's diaper region, as sometimes oral thrush can cause a diaper rash requiring anti-fungal cream.