The yeast-type fungus, Candida, is naturally present in small amounts in the human body. Most of the time it causes no problems. However, when conditions favor explosive growth of the fungus, usually by offering a moist, warm, dark area, Candida can get a foothold. This will result in severe diaper rash or thrush in your baby. Fortunately, some home remedies may help your baby overcome a yeast infection.
Perhaps the most common form of yeast infections in babies appears in the form of a diaper rash. Suspect any rash that lasts more than two days and develops red circular raised bumps on the reddened skin. Avoid using baby diaper wipes and opt for warm water and a soft washcloth. Use a mild soap that does not contain any antibacterial ingredients, such as Ivory. Wash and dry the baby's diaper area gently and allow as much "air drying" time as possible.
Choose a topical ointment or cream for your baby's yeast infection that includes an anti-fungal agent but not an antibacterial agent. Cream used to treat athletes' foot is beneficial, since it also fights the Candida fungus that causes a diaper rash from a yeast infection. Alternately, dilute white vinegar at the ratio of 1 part vinegar and 1 part warm water and fill a spray bottle. Spray baby's bottom after a diaper change and allow the solution to remain for a few minutes before gently patting it dry.
Unfortunately, when Candida is the culprit for your baby's diaper rash, it is also present in high levels in the rest of his body. His mouth may show signs of yeast infection (Thrush), appearing as a whitish coating on his tongue. If your baby sucks his fingers, they may appear red under and around his nails. If your baby is eating solid food, give him a small spoonful of plain yogurt every hour. It's okay if he spits it out. Use anti-fungal cream on his fingernails and put on a clean cotton baby mitten or a sock to keep him from sucking on them.
A breastfeeding mother with high levels of Candida in her system may pass the fungus to her baby. The mother can eat plenty of yogurt and garlic to reduce the amount of yeast she passes to her infant. Except for plain yogurt, the mother should avoid dairy products for a couple of weeks, if her baby has a yeast infection. In addition, eliminating sugar from the mother's diet may prevent further yeast infections in the baby. Hidden processed sugar is found white breads and highly processed breakfast cereals.
Some babies seem to contract yeast infections frequently. If your baby has two or more yeast infections, either in the diaper area or in his mouth within a three-month period, his immune system may need a little help in fighting off the fungus. Change his diaper as soon as he soils it and dust the diaper area lightly after drying with plain cornstarch. Don't wash your own hands with antibacterial soap. Use plain soap and throw away the baby wipes. Snip the elastic waist and leg areas on your baby's disposable diapers in order to let more air in.
A doctor should see any baby if a diaper rash forms bumps with pustules or any severe rash that lasts longer than four days, despite treatment, to rule out an immune deficiency disorder.