Baby Hints & Tips

Milk Tongue

White coating on baby’s tongue

A white coating on baby’s tongue is very common.  This can be milk residue or it can be thrush.  If the coating wipes off, then it is milk tongue.  If it doesn’t wipe off it could be thrush, it would be best to check with your doctor or pharmacist.

It is important to note that thrush in breastfeeding mums can only be properly managed when the mum’s nipple is also treated.

Community question: How to clean off milk tongue

I have a 7 week old who is formula fed, and his tongue is always covered in white stuff from the formula. Any ideas on how to clean it off?

Newborn Baby Boy Sticking out his Tongue


Medical disclaimer: Tips provided need to be considered in conjunction with medical advice. For immediate concerns, please contact HealthDirect (Australia wide) ph 1800 022 222 – to talk to a registered nurse 24hrs a day, and in emergencies call 000.

  • If it goes away after water its fine my little guy has it but it goes away after a drink but as many have said if it doesn’t rub off or come off with a drink if water then take to the dr. Ellejay
  • More likely to be Thrush….. get your doctor to look at it.. Very common in infants. Rosemary
  • Sounds like it might be oral thrush. Take him to the Dr and get checked just in case. If its just formula there’s no need to clean it off. Amie
  • My daughter had that too it goes away on its own Tori
  • All my in-laws said my lo had thrush. I know what thrush looks like in a babies mouth and it didn’t look like what my lo had. But better to be safe than sorry, I had already taken her to the doc, and as I suspected, it wasn’t thrush. It was Milk Tongue, from my milk which is apparently pretty common. There is no need to clean it off, it eventually goes away. PLEASE see your doctor though, just in case. Michelle
  • If concerned go to your doctor and check. From my knowledge of having 4 bottle fed kids ranging from 13 to 2 months old they always have a white tongue. Nothing to worry about usually. Kelly
  • This always happened to my DD and I kept getting her checked at the docs. They said it’s just milk fat so not to worry about it. Once she hit 8 weeks it stopped happening but the dribbling started Belinda
  • My little one would have a white tongue only after a bottle of formula as well. It wasn’t thrush. Which I assume you know as you asked for no diagnosis, unfortunately most people didn’t take note of that clause.. I never cleaned it off but if you wanted to id just suggest a clean wet washer would do the trick. It stops happening after a while – when they start being more active with mouth actions I think Rainie
  • Both of our Bub’s had this. Paediatrician said if it’s only on the tongue and not around the sides/roof of mouth it’s just milk build up not thrush. Our 6 month old had this and it is now gone on its own Mel
  • If your doctor has said it’s just milk solids, try a wet face washer. Wrap your finger inside the washer then stick the tip of your finger in Bubs mouth and gently rub Bubs tongue to remove any buildup also a good way to get them used to the idea of tooth brushing. Nikita
  • Don’t clean it off it’s meant to be there. Abby
  • Just get a face washer/ wash cloth some water and just clean it if it doesn’t come on it is thrush which will need medical attention Bek

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