Mild oral thrush infections in babies can often clear up after a few days without treatment. However, if you are concerned, visit your GP. You can also ask your health visitor for advice, or call NHS Direct on 0845 4647.
If your GP decides that your baby needs treatment, they will probably prescribe an antifungal medicine called miconazole, which kills the fungus in your baby's mouth.
The dose of miconazole will vary depending on your baby's age. Your GP will be able to recommend the correct dosage for your baby and advise you how long to use the treatment.
In 2008, the manufacturers of miconazole recommended that the gel no longer be used in babies younger than four months, because of the risks of choking if it is not applied carefully.
If the infection has not cleared after seven days, visit your GP again. They may continue treatment with miconazole for a further seven days, or they may prescribe another antifungal medicine called nystatin.
Your GP may also prescribe nystatin for initial treatment, if your baby cannot take miconazole.
If the infection still does not clear up, your GP may consider seeking advice from a specialist.
How to use your baby's medicine
Miconazole gel is used for babies. Using a clean finger, smear the gel, a little at a time, on the affected areas of your baby's mouth. To avoid the risk of choking (even though this risk is low), do not apply too much at once and do not try to apply it to the back of your baby's throat.
You can buy miconazole gel over the counter, but ask your pharmacist for advice first.
Nystatin comes as a liquid medicine (suspension). You put the liquid directly on the affected area using a dropper (oral dispenser) supplied with the medicine.
When to use the medicine
Your GP will tell you how much medicine to use and how often to apply it.
Whichever medicine is prescribed, it will be most effective if you use it after your baby has had a feed or drink. That way, the medicine will be in contact with the affected areas of your baby's mouth for as long as possible.
Continue to use the medicine for two days after the infection has cleared up.