Thrush is a yeast (candida) infection of the mouth that typically affects babies in the first few months of life.  Unless thrush is very widespread, it does not seem to cause a baby much discomfort.  It is never serious.  Thrush causes white patches or spots on the tongue, cheeks, inner lips, and palate that cannot be wiped off with a washcloth.  The spots look like cottage cheese that is stuck on.  (It is very common for babies to have white tongues due to milk fat—this is normal; this is not thrush.)  Your baby is more likely to get thrush if he has been on an antibiotic.  The antibiotic can kill off good bacteria, allowing yeast to colonize.  Also, babies with thrush often have a yeast diaper rash as well.  The rash is very red, located in skin creases, and has satellite lesions – polka dot like spots on the edges of the rash.


Thrush is never serious.  Please call only during office hours if your child has white spots in the mouth that cannot be wiped off—especially if you are a nursing mother with breast tenderness or redness.

Treatment: Thrush is treated with a topical prescription medication called Nystatin.  It works by contact with the spots.  Apply the Nystatin after feeds by rubbing it on your baby’s cheeks and gums.  (If you use nystatin before feeds, it will wash away and have no effect.)  If your baby is being treated for thrush, make sure you boil all bottle nipples, teethers, and pacifiers each day.  Otherwise your baby can be re-infected with yeast from these objects.  It generally takes several days to see improvement.  Call back if the condition is not improving in a week. 

Call or Visit

  • phone: (616) 243-9515

  • FAX: (616) 243-1815

  • after hours: (616) 776-7401

  • or contact us via the Patient Portal

  • Alger Pediatrics
    733 Alger St. SE
    Grand Rapids, MI 49507