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Baby Yeast Infection On the Neck: How to Treat It

baby and mom

It’s no secret that a new baby is pretty helpless. Most newborns can’t hold their heads upright until they’re about four to six months old, as their necks are still taking time to develop. 

Before a baby reaches this important milestone, it’s more prone to neck rashes, as the drooping can cause the skin to fold. Sometimes a yeast infection may cause or worsen a neck rash. 

A yeast infection occurs when normal yeast that lives in the body grows more than it should. However, there is nothing major to worry about, as yeast infections are treatable and common. Here’s what to know about yeast infections on the neck and how to treat them. 

Related: What to Know About Baby Growth Spurts 

What is a Yeast Infection? 

baby with blanket

Yeasts are a common type of fungus. A common kind of yeast is called candida, which typically grows on the skin, gut, mouth, and genital area. When this type of yeast overgrows, it results in a condition called candidiasis. 

This is the same type of yeast that is found in vaginal infections in women. When candida is present in the body at healthy levels, the yeast can live in harmony with other bacteria and organisms in your body. 

However, an imbalance can sometimes occur, where the yeast grows more than it should. This commonly happens in babies, as their immune systems are still growing. 

Additionally, babies may not have yet developed enough friendly gut bacteria to keep the yeast at bay. This can lead to yeast infections, particularly in skin folds in the neck, groin, bottom, vagina, legs, and arms. 

Babies can also experience oral flush, a yeast infection in the throat, mouth, and the tongue. Sometimes, a diaper rash can also result in a yeast infection. 

Related: What Causes Ear Infections in Babies? 

Baby Yeast Infection On the Neck: Symptoms

A yeast infection on your baby’s neck may display itself through a variety of symptoms. This includes:

  • Moist, pink skin patches
  • Redness in the skin folds
  • Raised, red edges
  • Pink or red scaly or rough patches
  • White or gray powdery patches on the skin
  • Swelling and redness
  • Red sores and satellite spots 
  • Skin discoloration patches 

Baby Yeast Infection On the Neck: Causes

The soft folds of skin on your baby’s neck can create the perfect moist, warm environment for a yeast infection to grow.  

There’s also another kind of yeast infection that can grow on your baby’s chin, known as a drool rash. Yeast loves to grow in wet places with less oxygen. Blankets or clothing can also cause friction, irritating the delicate skin on your baby’s neck. 

An irritated or sore area on your baby’s neck is more likely to result in a yeast infection because it might ooze liquid. 

How to Treat a Yeast Infection On Your Baby’s Neck

baby under blanket

So, if you suspect that your baby is suffering from a yeast infection on the neck, what can you do to treat it?

First, you’ll want to take your baby to the doctor to have them test your baby for a yeast infection. Your doctor will usually wipe your baby’s neck with a cotton swab to perform the test. 

Keep in mind that some mild yeast infections may go away on their own as your baby starts lifting its head and develops fewer skin folds. However, you may need to use an antifungal cream to treat other, more severe yeast infections. One type of yeast infection that’s common is a combination of zinc oxide and miconazole

This antifungal treatment is available in spray or ointment form. However, antifungal treatments shouldn’t be used on babies younger than four weeks old. Contact your baby’s pediatrician before using an antifungal treatment on your baby’s skin. 

Apply the antifungal treatment with a clean cotton swab before applying it to your baby’s skin. If your baby has a yeast infection in the mouth or another part of the body, speak to your doctor about getting a prescription for an oral medication. 

The medication typically comes in a liquid form, and it can be administered by a dropper or syringe. You’ll typically need to administer this medication every two to three days. 

Most yeast infections on the neck go away two weeks after treatment begins

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Preventing Yeast Infections On Your Baby 

While you can’t always prevent yeast infections in your baby, there are some things you can do to reduce the risk of a yeast infection developing. 

This includes:

  • Laying your baby flat on its back when it’s sleeping to help straighten the neck
  • Avoiding letting your baby sleep in the car seat or any seat that allows their neck to slouch
  • Avoiding blankets or clothing around the neck when your baby is inside
  • Avoiding dressing your baby in tight clothes or rough fabrics
  • Washing your baby’s neck with warm, soapy water and a sterile washcloth
  • Clean and dry your baby’s neck regularly (especially after feeding, spitting up, drooling, or vomiting)
  • Sterilizing your baby’s bottle nipples, pacifiers, and teething toys
  • Avoiding the use of antibacterial soap or cleanser on your baby’s skin (this can remove healthy skin bacteria that can trigger a yeast infection)
  • Avoiding the use of harsh shampoos, soaps, and laundry detergents, as these may irritate your baby’s skin and lead to infection
  • Avoiding kissing or touching your baby’s neck area

Related: Tips for Relieving Engorged Breasts 

No Need to Worry!

As you can see, a yeast infection on your baby’s neck isn’t anything to worry about. Most go away on their own, and if they don’t, you can talk to your doctor about getting a prescription medication. 

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