How Much Formula Should My 4 Week Old Be Eating How to Avoid and Treat Thrush when Bottle Feeding

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How to Avoid and Treat Thrush when Bottle Feeding

The presence of thrush in a baby’s mouth can be distressing for the baby and very troubling for the parents. Bottle-fed babies are more likely to develop thrush than exclusively breastfed babies. However, steps can be taken to reduce the risk of developing thrush, and treatment is fairly easy.

Thrush, or pseudomembranous oral candidiasis, is a superficial yeast infection found in about 5% of healthy newborns. Babies usually get the yeast from their mothers during passage through the birth canal. You can tell if your child has thrush by looking for white patches that can be found on the inside of the cheeks, mouth, palate and tongue. Many bottle-fed mothers often mistake milk on the tongue for thrush. If the tongue is uniformly white, this is not thrush. Thrush plaques are often described as curd-like. Unlike milk residues, they adhere to the underlying tissue. You can also test for thrush by touching a patch gently with a gauze-covered finger. If it’s thrush, it probably won’t come out very easily, but if it does, you’ll find a raw, red area underneath that can bleed. Thrush lesions can be painful and the bottle-fed child may become fussy and squirm.

Why are bottle-fed babies more prone to thrush?

Many babies have thrush, but it is a self-limiting condition; it goes away on its own, without anyone ever knowing the baby had thrush in the first place. However, certain changes in the baby or its environment can cause the thrush to worsen. Antibiotics or stress may be to blame. Bottle feeding often causes thrush because the lining of the mouth becomes scratched with prolonged sucking, such as babies who sleep with a bottle or pacifier – breastfed babies who do not go to sleep at night still suckle at their mother’s breast, unfortunately, a lot bottle-fed baby goes to sleep sucking a bottle. Also, dirty nipples and pacifiers can cause yeast infections.

How to treat thrush?

First, prevention is better than cure. Babies should not be put to bed while sucking on the nipple from a bottle. Avoid letting your child suck on a pacifier for a long time. Make sure all nipples and pacifiers are properly washed and sterilized.

In most cases thrush will go away on its own and the only treatment needed is to relieve oral discomfort or treat (or prevent) painful yeast diaper rash. You can use an antifungal medication such as Nystatin suspension. This can be applied directly to the patches with a cotton-tipped applicator, or given orally 1-2ml four times daily. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. An old-fashioned, and still effective treatment for baby thrush is baking soda. Use a small cotton bud-tip soaked in a mixture of one-fourth teaspoon of baking soda and one or two drops of mild liquid detergent (without ammonia or bleach) mixed in a glass of warm water. Apply the mixture gently to the affected areas.

If symptoms persist or you have any concerns, seek medical help.

Babies who fuss while bottle-feeding can do so for a number of reasons. If your baby is having trouble feeding formula, it’s worth checking to see if your child has thrush. If your child has thrush, you do not need to change the milk formula. Just apply a treatment as described above and the thrush should disappear in a matter of weeks.

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