Thrush and Breastfeeding: Symptoms, Causes and Treatments

But when a stint of thrush threatens to interfere, it’s reassuring for a new mom to know that she and her baby can be successfully treated. For mom, the signs of a yeast infection on the nipple may be subtle or very painful. The amount of fluconazole passing into breastmilk is less than that given to treat babies with Candida. Be extra mindful to carefully wash hands after changing the baby’s diaper. All family members should be checked and treated for any candidal infections. What is the color of your vaginal discharge telling you?, this is not an indication of a security issue such as a virus or attack. ● There is NO related pyrexia.

Thrush is treated by anti-fungal medications which are prescribed by a doctor. Because yeast may become immune to antifungal creams, your doctor may recommend a different course of treatment in addition to the cream or instead of the cream. This type of pain may feel like a burning sensation.

Presence of the following symptoms in the infant should alert the mother and her practitioner to the possibility of breast and nipple thrush: Therefore, a fourfold approach to treatment may be needed: There are safe probiotics available for babies too. Most doctors will prescribe an antifungal cream that you will spread on your nipples and drops to place in your baby’s mouth.

In the meantime, try to keep your nipples as dry as possible in between feedings. Wear a clean nursing bra every day and change it if it gets wet. Exposing mother and baby to topical or oral treatments unnecessarily is unethical and unfair for two reasons: • MICONAZOLE (Daktarin Gel) is recommended as first-line treatment in children under two years. Unless your doctor states otherwise, creams (usually water-soluble) or ointments (usually oily) need to be applied after feeds several times a day for the recommended period of time and until you’ve been free of symptoms for at least two days. These can trap in moisture, making you more susceptible to thrush. Nipples may feel very sore and sensitive to touch and nipple skin and areolae may appear deep pink, flaky or shiny. This encourages good bacteria to live in your gut and discourages the growth of yeast.

  • Wash anything that comes into contact with the affected area , immediately after use at a high temperature.
  • Researchers have conflicting views on the diagnosis and treatment of thrush.
  • Your nipples and areola may also look pale.
  • It can take up to two weeks for thrush to dissipate completely.
  • It normally lives on our skin and other areas, and 90% of babies are colonized by it within a few hours of birth.

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Having thrush does not mean you need to stop breastfeeding. Nipple infection, as a possible cause of nipple pain, must be considered especially when: When fighting any infection, eating a balanced diet and drinking enough water is a good idea. Hale TW, Bateman TL, Finkelman MA, Berens PD. Wash clothing and linens in high heat. Thrush in the first few weeks of feeding should be rare unless the mother had vaginal thrush at delivery or had deep breast thrush at the end of a previous lactation. Chronic fungal skin infection treatment and prevention, or, you may not have a yeast infection—it could be bacterial vaginosis (BV) or a sexually transmitted infection (STI). This is true even if the milk is frozen, because freezing only deactivates yeast; it doesn’t kill it.

The fungus Candida albicans and other Candida species generally live on our bodies without causing a problem. You might also want to let some milk air dry on your breast after feeding, which can help reduce some inflammation and soreness. There are practical, effective steps you can take to combat thrush alongside any medication you use. In women who are breastfeeding, thrush can lodge in the nipples, areolas, and breasts, causing significant pain. Good breastfeeding practice can also reduce your risk of thrush:

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Here is a step-by-step process for how to pasteurize breast milk at home. Tips to cure a yeast infection, fortunately, there a number of powerful foods to fight this yeast that you can start eating TODAY to help get you to optimal health! It may take longer for full recovery. Heat is the best way to kill candida spores:

  • ● Other skin conditions like psoriasis or dermatitis.
  • Thrush infections can also happen after you or your baby has had a course of antibiotics.
  • It’s most common in babies around in the first 8 weeks of life.


Thrush is a yeast (fungal) infection that grows and spreads in warm, moist, dark environments. Anecdotally, some mums find acidophilus probiotic capsules help to restore bacteria which can keep thrush under control. Here are some simple suggestions that may help prevent a yeast infection on your nipples, or cure a mild case of yeast infection: WHERE DOES THRUSH OCCUR? Conversely, the guidance on thrush from The National Infant Feeding Network (NIFN) says swabs are not usually required unless a bacterial infection is suspected, a treatment isn’t working or if systemic treatment—eg a prescription medicine rather than a topical cream—is considered21.

Avoid nipple infection from the vagina through good hand hygiene. Breast and nipple thrush can cause strong nipple and breast pain. It will help get rid of the yeast if you sanitize anything that comes in contact with your baby’s mouth or your breasts every 24 hours.

  • Because freezing does not kill yeast, any milk frozen during the infection will need to be boiled before being given to the baby.
  • How is thrush passed from child to mother—and vice versa?
  • If you feel better before the course of medication is complete and stop using it, the yeast infection can come back.
  • If you apply it directly after a feed, it will be absorbed by the time baby feeds again, so there’s no need to wash it off before feeding.
  • To prevent reinfection, mothers should boil the baby’s pacifier for 20 minutes each day and boil all breast pump parts that come in contact with milk.
  • I prefer the type probiotics that live in the fridge, since there’s a better chance that all of it will still be alive by the time you drink it.

Engorged Breasts

It is important to note that even if either mother or baby has no visible symptoms; both must be treated simultaneously to prevent reinfection. All of these signs and symptoms can help confirm diagnosis, but are not necessarily present in their entirety which can make differential diagnosis difficult. Soreness that continues throughout the breastfeed, or lasts for more than one week of breastfeeding, isn't normal. Often, both breasts are affected, and in many cases, when a breastfeeding mother has thrush, so does her baby.

Examination Of The Baby

If you suspect this, stop the treatment immediately and contact your health professional. Before treating either you or your baby you should ask the person supporting you with breastfeeding to watch a full breastfeed from the moment the baby goes to the breast to the moment he/she comes away from the breast at the end of the feed. Specific statistics regarding the incidence of breast and nipple thrush is still lacking. For this reason, we suggest you use this remedy sparingly, and for as little time as possible. Recently there has been a tendency to over-diagnose thrush in the UK. Usually it doesn't require waiting to breastfeed but it's unfortunately not a one size fits all answer," says Severino Wynn. Candida support protocol: how to get rid of candida naturally, most common benefits include increased vitality and energy, better mood, improved focus and concentration as well as reduced inflammation related pain. "

It has been described as a stabbing or shooting pain, a deep ache or a burning sensation that radiates through the breast.
If you speak to any mother about having breast thrush she will probably describe excruciating pain during and after feeding her baby.

Can You Prevent Your Baby From Getting Thrush?

In particular, if you have vaginal thrush, your partner may need treatment too. Sterilize bottles (including bottle nipples), your pumping equipment, pacifiers, and toys (especially the ones that might go in baby's mouth) between uses.  Your nipple may appear red and shiny. Dermatoses of the breast in lactation. Be sure to give the nystatin after nursing so the medicine will stay in your baby's mouth longer. Eat a balanced diet and reduce your sugar intake.

Your doctor will diagnose oral thrush by gently scraping any lesions found inside the mouth and examining them under a microscope. However, there are drawbacks: You are more likely to have thrush if: It doesn’t matter if only one of you has symptoms; you’ll both be carrying the spores.

Bottles, nipples, and pacifiers.

For the same reason, wash your hands frequently, especially after feedings and diaper changes. If nipples are very inflamed, hydrocortisone (1%) as well. Treatment with Diflucan can last two weeks or more, and it is safe to breastfeed while you're taking this medication. If standard treatment fails to resolve your symptoms, your doctor may ask you to apply gentian violet aqueous paint (an anti-fungal and anti-bacterial agent specially prepared in some pharmacies) to the nipples twice daily for seven days. Pain may be felt deep in the breast, sometimes as a stabbing pain and sometimes in the back and shoulders6.

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If thrush is diagnosed, both mother and baby will be treated at the same time for at least two weeks, but breastfeeding doesn’t have to stop. Use a separate towel for each person in the family, and wash them often at 60 degrees C. Pink, flaky, shiny, itchy, cracked, or blistered nipples.


Try yogurts low in sugar, probiotics or acidophilus (viable units) (1 capsule TID x 4 days). New babies are still developing their immune systems (especially in the first 8 weeks), so both can be prone to infection. It necessitates the healthcare professional who prescribes or sells the medication outside of its license application to take responsibility for the use of the product. Be sure to examine other causes of nipple and breast pain.

Symptoms may include: Your nipple may also look unusually bright pink if you have white skin; on black skin, the nipple usually turns a lighter, slightly more pink colour than the areola. To work effectively, they need to be applied to all the nooks and crannies in a baby’s mouth as directed by your doctor or pharmacist. By following a simple treatment, as recommended by your doctor or healthcare provider, mom and baby can return to normal breastfeeding very quickly. Keep nails clean and short. A weak immune system. Be careful because Gentian Violet also stains anything it touches—clothes, skin, nipples, and tongue! Change your breast pads frequently!

When a breastfeeding woman or breastfed infant presents with symptoms suggestive of thrush, both mother and baby will need to be examined. If you are prescribed Fluconazole/Diflucan for thrush, but your real problem is nipple vasospasm, this treatment may make your vasospasm worse. On the other hand, if your breastfeeding baby has oral thrush, it's possible you got the infection from him.

Go to Your Baby's Age

The experience of the BfN Drugs in Breastmilk Helpline is that many mothers with young babies are treated for thrush without having problems with attachment addressed first. Discard the swab after use. Let’s have a chat here or on the Medela Australia Facebook page. And keep in mind, it takes time to completely resolve a Candida infection, so pain, discomfort, and/or itching may continue for weeks.

A recent study done in Australia has linked gentian violet to cancer of the mouth. There are not always signs that exist with thrush. Grapefruit seed extract (GSE): They will watch a feed and look at the nipple as it comes out of the baby’s mouth to check it isn’t coming out squashed or misshapen. Babies with thrush may not have symptoms, but those who do may have:

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It's normal to be worried and a little scared about spreading an infection to your baby. At-home steps for treating a yeast infection include: No part of this handout may be reproduced in any form without permission from The Pump Station & Nurtury®. You may have gotten thrush if you have damage or cracks on your nipple, the fungal infection can more easily get inside the tissue and the ducts this way. They can lead to a mistaken diagnosis of a yeast infection. This makes diagnosis very difficult and there is some controversy over the condition 1. Thrush can also occur after a course of antibiotics when the harmless flora and bacteria that would have kept the thrush at bay have been killed. Add a probiotic (like yogurt) to your diet.

If mother or a family member has an existing Candida fungal infection such as vaginal thrush, athlete’s foot, nappy rash or jock itch 14. It is one of the causes of nipple pain while breastfeeding. Thrush can show up on your breasts or in your baby's mouth. Second line treatment: High levels of chronic stress might adversely affect your immune system. Treatment will be successful only if the gel is administered as recommended and for a sufficient amount of time to completely eliminate the infection.

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What other symptoms does the mother have? Oral thrush is caused by a strain of yeast fungus called candida albicans, which lives on the skin and inside the mouths of most people.  Breastfeeding thrush is more common if you have cracked nipples. Dry heat (such as hair dryer or hot water bottle wrapped in a towel) is usually better than wet heat (such as a hot facecloth). Mothers often describe the pain in very graphic terms ‘feeding through broken glass,’ ‘unbearable’ and dread their baby waking up for feeds. Your healthcare professional will refer you for the care you need. The patches look like cottage cheese and aren't easily washed off.

Thrush spreads easily, so both you and your baby need simultaneous treatment to avoid reinfecting one another – even if one of you is symptom free. Thrush in the mouth is a common problem for babies, because their immune systems are still developing. Also, if you had a yeast infection during pregnancy or childbirth, or if you received antibiotics after your delivery, your baby may be more prone to a thrush infection while breastfeeding. Gentian violet is effective, but messy.

Cold temperatures do not kill the yeast cells you carry in your milk during a thrush infection, so it’s possible to reinfect your baby – and yourself – with stored milk pumped during infection.

… More Than You Ever Wanted To Know About Thrush

If your nipples and areola are swollen and very red, it could indicate a yeast infection. Period, pms, & ovulation symptoms and pain, rinse the vagina and vulva with water only, and the groin can be washed with a perfume-free natural soap. Sriraman stresses the importance of seeking medical care if treatments don’t eliminate the fungal infection completely, the infection is recurring, or thrush occurs in toddlers or older children. Fungal or bacterial infection?

The good news: This post may contain affiliate links, which means that if you click through and make a purchase, I’ll be compensated at no additional cost to you. Deadly yeast infection, an accurate diagnosis requires access to modern medical care, which is not available worldwide [66]. Consider switching to a non-antibacterial hand soap during this time.