04 December 2014

{Cloth 201} Help, I suspect thrush! Now what?

If your baby has a persistent rash, it might be thrush. 

If you see the following, it is most likely a yeast infection: 

- Raised red spots that does not go away within a day or two and does not respond to regular bum creams

It is especially likely if baby has recently been on a course of antibiotics. In the case of a breastfed baby, thrush can pass from mom to baby and vice versa. 

If your baby has thrush, you will need to do the following: 

a)  treat your baby
b) treat the diapers

A. Treat your baby

Typically you will get a prescription from the pharmacy for an anti-fungal cream to put on baby's bum. If the infection is mild you could also try using a few drops of tea trea oil mixed into coconut oil on baby's bum - both these have anti-fungal properties. It will also be helpful to add a few drops of tea trea oil to your cloth wipe solution during this time. Do not put undissolved tea tree oil directly on baby's skin as it will burn the skin.

You might also need to treat any thrush that is present in baby's mouth (big white spots in the mouth). You will need a special ointment for this that you can get at a pharmacy - do not use tea tree oil in your baby's mouth.

You will need to do this until the symptoms clear up and for another two weeks afterwards to be safe. 

If you are breastfeeding the yeast infection can easily pass from baby to you and vice versa, so you will need to apply a topical cream to your nipples as well (usually the same thing that you use to treat thrush in baby's mouth). Again, this should be applied during the full course of the infection and for two weeks afterwards.

Do not use cornstarch on baby's bum - this will feed the yeast and make it worse. 

B. Treat your diapers

If your baby has a yeast infection, the yeast spores can live in the diapers and regular washing will not get rid of them. So unless you treat your diapers to kill the spores, the yeast infection will keep coming back. 

Yeast spores can be killed by the following: 

1) Bleach
2) Grapefruit seed extract (GSE)
3) Heat (> 60C)

It is recommended to do a bleach strip on your diapers if your baby has a yeast infection. This is the quickest and most effective way to get rid of the spores. Add a 1/2 cup of bleach (dissolved in 1 litre water) to your washing machine and run your diapers through 
a regular wash. You can also do this in the bath tub - soak diapers in the diluted bleach solution, then wash as normal. Do an extra rinse to ensure all the bleach gets rinsed out. 

If you cannot or don't want to use bleach, you can add 10 - 20 drops of GSE to the final rinse during your regular wash. This is best used in conjunction with a hot wash and hanging diapers in the sun to dry (ie heat treatment).

You now have a choice: 

a) switch to sposies until the yeast infection clears up and for two weeks afterwards
b) continue with cloth, but be aware that you need to continue treating your diapers until the yeast infection clears up and for two weeks afterwards.

If you continue with cloth, you will need to use liners to prevent the anti-fungal cream getting on your diapers and affecting absorbency.

DISCLAIMER: I have no medical background and this post is merely a guideline based on my own personal experience with thrush (once) and information gleaned from various online resources. This does not and should not replace medical advice from a professional person.

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