A yeast infection is a persistent, bright red rash on a baby’s bottom or other areas where skin touches skin. Yeast infections are caused by a microorganism that flourishes in a warm, moist environment. (source: Mayo Clinic)
It’s also a parent’s nightmare since it can be so hard to get rid of. Why? Well yeast strives in a moist environment and what’s more moist than a baby’s bottom in a diaper. Nice and warm and moist = yeast ideal home.
Yeast can also live in their cloth diapers (or fabric) for example for a week or two and so it becomes a bit of a merry-go-round when dealing with yeast.
When mamas ask others how to get rid of yeast, usually the focus is on how to wash it off the cloth diapers (things mentioned include tea tree oil, vinegar, bleach…) or which anti-fungal cream to use (from the very natural to the anything but natural). Ask 10 people how to remove yeast and you’ll be sure to get 10 different answers.
So, here are ways to do so that are simple and effective.
You need heat, yes lots of heat.
Yeast begins to die from the cloth diapers at 120F and it’ll be completely gone with 140F. So, crank up the water heater and wash all your cloth diapers with your regular detergent. You don’t need anything else than your regular detergent if you are using hot enough water.
Use an anti-fungal
If it’s going on my baby’s bottom, it’s going to have to be natural. Motherlove makes a good anti-fungal called Diaper Rash and Thrush Salve. Slather it on baby’s bottom anywhere where skin touches skin and also where there is a rash.
The opposite of warm and moist is cool and dry. So, keeping your baby diaper-less as much as possible during the yeast infection will help to kill the yeast.
Most importantly ~ find the culprit
What caused the yeast infection? If you only worry about the wash and cream you may just find yourself dealing with yeast infections over and over. It’s best to find the culprit and work from the inside out (holistically) to make sure you’re not having to deal with yeast again.
Common yeast culprits
- Antibiotics ~ if you had antibiotics at birth your baby may have a yeast infection (or thrush shortly after birth). Or if baby has had a dose of antibiotics, it’s very common for baby to then develop yeast. Probiotics are often recommended because it will help replace the good bacterias that the antibiotics killed off. There are both adult and infant probiotics available at most natural health stores. Probiotics are recommended two hours after the dose of antibiotics.
- Sugar ~ yeast loves sugar. You are probably not feeding your baby spoonfuls of sugar but fruits for example have sugar in them. So, if your baby has started solids and you are finding yourself dealing with yeast infections you may want to reduce the amount of fruits you give your baby. Also almond, coconut and even rice milk can contained as much sugar in a cup as the equivalent of 4 teaspoons of sugar, so if using these milks consider instead buying unsweetened versions.
- Dairy and high-carb foods. A diet of a lot of dairy and high-carb foods will also increase yeast in the body. Be mindful of these when dealing with a reoccurring yeast as dairy or high-carbs may be the culprits.
- Diaper changes. Change baby more often to avoid creating a warm and moist environment that is perfect for yeast to strive.
By taking a more direct and holistic approach to yeast infections you’ll get rid of it once and for all and not find your baby having yeast infections more than once.