How to Prevent Baby Yeast Infections

You’re just getting used to taking care of your little bundle of joy.  You never thought you could love someone so much.  You know you can’t protect her forever, but you just want to shield her from every little pain, every little discomfort.  Then one day you go to change her diaper and her sweet little bottom is covered in a red, angry-looking rash!  How could this happen?  Are you a bad parent?

No.  Diaper rashes are, essentially, yeast infections.  Yeast lives on the skin of humans, and normally causes no problems.  An overgrowth of yeast, which can be caused by a moist environment or taking antibiotics.  It’s true that frequent diaper changes can help prevent diaper rash, but antibiotics taken by a breastfeeding mother may make her infant more susceptible to yeast overgrowth.  Mothers should not avoid needed antibiotics to avoid diaper rash in their infants, however, because a very sick mother is even less desirable for the baby!

Change Diapers Often

To prevent yeast-caused diaper rash, change your baby’s diaper often.  The less time your baby’s sensitive skin is exposed to moisture, the less chance there is for yeast overgrowth.

Invest in a High Quality Diaper Cream

Using a quality diaper cream like Desitin after every diaper change will shield your baby’s bottom from any moisture she produces.  Using creams like this after the last diaper change of the night is crucial, as she will be exposed to moisture longer during the night time (unless you set your alarm every hour to check for a wet diaper!)  Since these creams create a barrier between your baby’s skin and any wetness, they are also invaluable in helping your baby recover from a diaper rash she already has.

Babies can also get a yeast infection in their mouths.  When this occurs, it is known as thrush.  Thrush infections can be stubborn and difficult to get rid of, so your best bet is to prevent them.  Especially since a nursing mother can end up with the thrush infection on her nipples (and no one likes itchy nipples!)

(when nursing) Cleanliness Is a Must

After nursing, allow your nipples to air dry.  Covering them immediately, especially if your bra is tight, seals in moisture and encourages the growth of yeast, which can be transferred to your baby’s mouth at the next feeding.  Regular showers should be sufficient to keep yeast growth down.

(when bottle feeding) Bottle Care is Imperative

Make sure bottles are properly washed and sterilized in boiling water often.  Any moisture that hangs around in the bottles can encourage yeast growth.  If a bottle is prepared, it should not be fed to your baby if it hasn’t been refridgerated for four hours, as yeast growth will be high enough to possibly trigger thrush.  An unfinished bottle should not be refed to a baby at a later time, as any yeast from the mouth will be busy multiplying in the formula or breastmilk in the meantime.

Proper precautions should ensure that your baby’s encounters with yeast infections are kept to a minimum, or avoided entirely.  And you can get back to your other worries as a new parent!