4

votes

Breastfeeding Moms: How Did You Deal with Thrush?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created August 26, 2012 at 9:10 PM

I'm currently experiencing stinging/burning/tingling pain in my nipple and breast, with what I can only assume is thrush. My baby is fussy during feedings and cries at the end of them, and that makes me very sad to know he might be in pain. :( I've stocked up on probiotics and am considering initial treatment using a grapefruit seed extract protocol detailed on this site: http://drjaygordon.com/breastfeeding/thrush.html/comment-page-1#comments

What were your experiences with thrush while breastfeeding? Did you try to eliminate it naturally or with medications? I'm not opposed to medication because I just want this to go away, but figured I'd try some other avenues first. I'm also reducing my intake of sugars (kinda went overboard on fruit the first month after giving birth). Bought kefir and kombucha, though I'm slightly afraid the kombucha will make it worse because it is made of yeast, though a different strain. The hardest part of being a new mom for me are these breastfeeding issues - thrush, clogged milk ducts, painful nipples!! Honestly, this is harder on me than the sleep deprivation! :( Any advice for me, or commiseration? I so just want to be able to hold my baby against my chest without the shooting pains!!

Bd614f091f0625dea86bad5791471f2d

(775)

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

Yes. I know the feeling--you can't help but scream out in pain. Usually for me, it's only been on one side at a time, so I would pump on the sore side since she never would take a bottle. If she *had* taken a bottle, I would have just pumped and fed her that way. It's way too painful. And discouraging. Ibuprofin helped only with mastitis.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on September 14, 2012
at 08:54 PM

I would think that the stress to the liver would be transitory, and once Diflucan cleared the system (it is taken for a very short time), and the yeast returned to normal levels, the liver would be able to repair itself, as it normally does with cellular maintenance.

E8fbc8067e64d0994aa70171601e68fd

(297)

on September 14, 2012
at 08:35 PM

You know what else is hard on the liver? The toxic waste products of yeast. In fact, the toxins released by killing yeast with diflucan is probably to blame for the burden on the liver -- not the medicine itself.

E8fbc8067e64d0994aa70171601e68fd

(297)

on September 14, 2012
at 08:33 PM

What you are describing is definitely the onset of thrush. Kill it "with fire" (as one commenter described) before it gets worse. Kombucha will add mycotoxins to your system -- bad idea. You are already dealing with the waste products of the yeast in your body. I really, really sympathize. I have been through it -- everything you have described, I was right there 2 years ago.

E8fbc8067e64d0994aa70171601e68fd

(297)

on September 14, 2012
at 08:29 PM

BoneBrothFast, your comment is so ignorant, it hurts. Her symptoms are definitely NOT indicating mastitis. (Source: I have had both mastitis and thrush while breastfeeding!)

E8fbc8067e64d0994aa70171601e68fd

(297)

on September 14, 2012
at 08:28 PM

I had wicked thrush and Ibuprofen only dampened the pain somewhat. I still had to clench my teeth and pray for mercy every time my newborn latched on. The pain of thrush is quite unlike the common nipple pain of breastfeeding. I would have traded going into labor for the pain I experienced in the first 6 weeks of nursing.

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11048)

on August 28, 2012
at 12:15 PM

Diflucan is very hard on the liver. I live in an area where valley fever is a big issue and liver disease is a common result from the treatment. I've never looked into whether or not Diflucan is secreted in breast milk, but baby's liver would be my primary concern.

53ae5256bd5ba7fadcf3755115cbc1d5

(190)

on August 27, 2012
at 02:25 PM

that sounds a bit like a over-active letdown reflex. are you feeling engorged before hand? does your baby gag or gasp and fuss while nursing? have you seen a lactation specialist? are you taking fenugreek?

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11048)

on August 27, 2012
at 01:12 PM

Oh, please tell how a breast infection benefits baby.

Dcd6927a3606b66f3bfb1c5c28d67a6f

on August 26, 2012
at 10:46 PM

Oh boy....I dunno which is worse!! Curious as to how this is beneficial to baby, can you elaborate?

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on August 26, 2012
at 10:35 PM

Just so you know, you are likely to get more support over at the mothering.com breastfeeding forum.

Fb677d93955eb0fac597e3d94db92980

(1115)

on August 26, 2012
at 09:19 PM

Oh and I tried the natural methods... they didn't work for me (probably because I was impatient) but the prescription took care of it.

Fb677d93955eb0fac597e3d94db92980

(1115)

on August 26, 2012
at 09:18 PM

Oh and I tried the natural methods... they didn't work for me (probably because I was impatient) but the prescription to care of it.

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12 Answers

2
6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on August 27, 2012
at 08:55 PM

The midwife who helped deliver my first child, had recommendations that would almost always stress the natural over the synthetic, with one exception: yeast.

Her theory was that we often don't hit it hard enough with natural or over the counter treatments and was actually a big proponent of Diflucan. I'm with her on that after taking it once and being yeast trouble free for years after a good decade of trying to manage the yeast. Go for meds first, and then use natural remedies to keep it in check if you seem susceptible to regrowth.

If the pain is from nipple cracks and not the pressure of the babies sucking, I found that a little lanolin went a long way to keep things soothed too.

Edit: I've been thinking about the exact wording of your question more, and I'm not sure if thrush is what you've got going on here. I'm not saying it isn't, but there are other possibilities. I didn't start to experience that "let down" tingle/burn at all until several months into breastfeeding, it could be that you are feeling. I found it quite startling and uncomfortable at first. Does the sensation feel stronger when the baby is crying, or at the beginning of a feeding?

It also sounds like there might be some latch issues if you are also experiencing pain, a fussy baby, and plugged ducts. This needs to be evaluated ASAP by a lactation consultant. You can end up with some really painful breasts and even mastitis if the baby isn't taking enough of your breast into their mouth, or feeding slightly off-center and only draining some of the ducts fully.

Until you figure out what is going on, if feeding directly is too painful, with the new health care law that went into effect Aug. 1, you can now get a prescription for a hospital grade breast pump, and your insurance will have to cover it. Talk to your OB or pediatrician about this.

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11048)

on August 28, 2012
at 12:15 PM

Diflucan is very hard on the liver. I live in an area where valley fever is a big issue and liver disease is a common result from the treatment. I've never looked into whether or not Diflucan is secreted in breast milk, but baby's liver would be my primary concern.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on September 14, 2012
at 08:54 PM

I would think that the stress to the liver would be transitory, and once Diflucan cleared the system (it is taken for a very short time), and the yeast returned to normal levels, the liver would be able to repair itself, as it normally does with cellular maintenance.

E8fbc8067e64d0994aa70171601e68fd

(297)

on September 14, 2012
at 08:35 PM

You know what else is hard on the liver? The toxic waste products of yeast. In fact, the toxins released by killing yeast with diflucan is probably to blame for the burden on the liver -- not the medicine itself.

2
Dc0b6400ec0a34615510f4e01cedab28

on August 27, 2012
at 04:49 PM

We had a horrific case of thrush that took 2.5 months to get rid of. It was so painful to nurse that I exclusively pumped for those 2.5 months, but luckily we were able to re-establish exclusive breastfeeding by 3 months. It took us a couple of weeks before we got diagnosed with thrush, and many different 'experts' said it wasn't thrush and others said it was. Trust your gut!

Our first treatment was a prescription for Nystatin. It ended up giving our daughter horrific diarrhea. The doctor said he'd never heard of that happening before, anyway, after lots of googling, it turns out Nystatin isn't really that great for getting rid of thrush because it's delivered in a sugar suspension that feeds the yeast. We stopped the Nystatin after two weeks and it didn't get rid of the thrush.

After trying several combinations of 'natural' treatments, the one that actually ended up working in the end was using gentian violet (not actually natural, btw) once a day, applied to both the nipple and baby's mouth (it stains purple, so be careful!) and treating baby's mouth and nipple after every nursing with grapefruit seed extract (dilute, not full strength). The pain was gone after 2-3 days but when I stopped early, it came back, so in the end I did it for a full week before stopping and then it never came back.

A really great resource is Dr. Jack Newman's website. Here is his Candida Protocol: http://www.breastfeedinginc.ca/content.php?pagename=doc-CP

2
Fb677d93955eb0fac597e3d94db92980

(1115)

on August 26, 2012
at 09:16 PM

Well the first question is, are you sure it's thrush? As a first time mom, who knows what's normal? - we're all a little different - and it's normal to have stinging/burning/tingling when you're in the early stages of developing your breastfeeding relationship. And even months later, I still sometimes got random stabbing/shooting pains. Again, normal. The best way to be sure is to look in your baby's mouth. Is there a white coating? If so, then yes, probably thrush. If not, there are a million and one reasons for why a baby may be fussy/cry during/after feedings. I'd suggest going to the doctor just to ensure it is what you think it is...

After that, there are quite a few natural (and prescriptive, if necessary) routes to take to deal with it. And it goes away pretty quickly. At least it did for me and my daughter.

Good luck!

Fb677d93955eb0fac597e3d94db92980

(1115)

on August 26, 2012
at 09:19 PM

Oh and I tried the natural methods... they didn't work for me (probably because I was impatient) but the prescription took care of it.

Fb677d93955eb0fac597e3d94db92980

(1115)

on August 26, 2012
at 09:18 PM

Oh and I tried the natural methods... they didn't work for me (probably because I was impatient) but the prescription to care of it.

1
E8fbc8067e64d0994aa70171601e68fd

(297)

on September 14, 2012
at 08:21 PM

I had HORRIBLE thrush with my newborn. Nystatin made things worse (probably because of the sugar).

After weeks of living with the feeling of crushed glass in my nipples every time we nursed, I begged my OB to go to what he considered the "nuclear option", diflucan.

Well, Diflucan cleared up the yeast in a matter of days. I was elated and livid at the same time, pissed off that I'd had to suffer through weeks of agony during what should have been a beautiful time with my brand new baby.

And if you're wondering -- yes, diflucan does reach the baby through breastmilk, but in much smaller concentrations than the mother experiences in her blood. Plus if the mother has thrush, so does the baby. So the tiny dose of diflucan for baby should be therapeutic and help stop the yeast infection from thriving in the baby and coming back to the mother.

Addressing the "diflucan causes liver disease" issue:

I very much doubt that a single course of diflucan will damage the liver. Certainly you should increase your intake of water and clean saturated fats to help detox from the stuff -- not to mention to help shuttle out the toxic waste created by the yeast itself.

Perhaps mycotoxins are what people end up with liver disease from -- not the medicine that kills the yeast.

1
E91fd339d760ed76cc72570a679ebf5a

(2369)

on September 07, 2012
at 12:49 AM

I had an awful case. It was excruciating and so I had to kill it with fire. Tried grapefruit seed extract to start as well as Jack Newman's All Purpose Nipple Cream, but that wasn't enough, so it was Diflucan for me, Nystatin (in the awful sugary suspension) for him, plus Nystatin cream on his yeast diaper rash. It returned once after initially getting better and so the pediatrician told me to apply the Nystatin suspension to my nipples before nursing. Icky, but it did the trick. I bought gentian violet as well but didn't have to use it. My midwife said she heard it works for some, not for others.

1
9a783f1b60e2936f07f1f38fc62c11e4

on August 27, 2012
at 04:28 PM

Do you have access to a lactation consultant? Everyone seems to think breast feeding will be so easy since its "natural" but without a strong support network it can be very challenging. I hope you'll look into getting help from a consultant, midwife, la leche league, etc. hope you feel better soon.

1
61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11048)

on August 27, 2012
at 01:17 PM

I consumed tons of probiotics and this was pre-paleo. I bought little shots of a yogurt drink that contained some obscene amount of live cultures. I also smeared it on my nipples between feedings to get at it from the outside. It hurt like hell to nurse, but I persevered. Eventually, his thrush cleared up and my nipples healed. It does take longer than using a prescribed anti-fungal, but I had serious reservations about medicating an infant.

I am pregnant now and will make sure I get probiotics on a daily basis to try to prevent thrush in the future. I read somewhere that baby likely picked it up on his travels through the birth canal, but have not researched it to see if it is accurate.

0
32652cb696b75182cb121009ee4edea3

(5802)

on March 05, 2013
at 01:00 PM

I have 4 kids, and have nursed for 8 years (geez...). My suggestion to anyone with a newborn is to take probiotic powder (for children), wet your nipple, and pat the powder on it just before nursing. Do this once a day for 2 weeks after baby is born. It will head off thrush. (I learned this from my pediatrician).

0
Bafa51bbb98f07ea3585257ac0181ec3

on March 05, 2013
at 10:44 AM

in Australia you can get 'baby biotics' which are probiotics specifically for bubs digestive system. they were effective for us, using a really low dose to start to avoid gas etc. that was after persevering with candida diet, diflucan, nilstat, nystatin(gel and ointment) garlic, lemon, obsessive nipple washing and air exposure. Aggh.probiotics......I wish I knew.

0
0a9ad4e577fe24a6b8aafa1dd7a50c79

on August 26, 2012
at 10:29 PM

Just so you know, mastitis (you sound like you might be getting it from what you described) is completely normal and although uncomfortable for the mom, actually benefits the baby.

Dcd6927a3606b66f3bfb1c5c28d67a6f

on August 26, 2012
at 10:46 PM

Oh boy....I dunno which is worse!! Curious as to how this is beneficial to baby, can you elaborate?

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11048)

on August 27, 2012
at 01:12 PM

Oh, please tell how a breast infection benefits baby.

E8fbc8067e64d0994aa70171601e68fd

(297)

on September 14, 2012
at 08:29 PM

BoneBrothFast, your comment is so ignorant, it hurts. Her symptoms are definitely NOT indicating mastitis. (Source: I have had both mastitis and thrush while breastfeeding!)

0
Bd614f091f0625dea86bad5791471f2d

(775)

on August 26, 2012
at 10:22 PM

My daughter is 26 months old now, and I can tell you that nipple pains of all sorts have been a regular part of life for me. I know the experts say that you won't have any pain after the first couple of weeks, but that's definitely not my story! Not always, but it happens now and then.

I wish I could find the documentation right now, but grapefruit seed extract is created using a variety of chemicals that remain present in the final product. The health food store that I used to work for actually took it off of their shelves.

Crying at the end of feedings might be gas pains or indigestion. Keep a food diary and make note of his moods and reactions.

I never dealt with thrush, but I did experience clogged milk ducts quite a few times, along with several bouts of mastitis. The pump was my best friend. I'm not one for promoting medication, but taking one ibuprofin is something that really helped a lot when my pain and fever escalated.

Nursing is really hard, but it's definitely worth it. Sometimes I get frustrated because my little girl shows no signs of weaning, but I grin and bear it. More bearing than grinning, mind you. You will see the fruits of your labor when your little boy becomes a toddler.

Anyway, enough rambling. Stay strong, my friend! It's tough, but you can do it.

E8fbc8067e64d0994aa70171601e68fd

(297)

on September 14, 2012
at 08:28 PM

I had wicked thrush and Ibuprofen only dampened the pain somewhat. I still had to clench my teeth and pray for mercy every time my newborn latched on. The pain of thrush is quite unlike the common nipple pain of breastfeeding. I would have traded going into labor for the pain I experienced in the first 6 weeks of nursing.

Bd614f091f0625dea86bad5791471f2d

(775)

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

Yes. I know the feeling--you can't help but scream out in pain. Usually for me, it's only been on one side at a time, so I would pump on the sore side since she never would take a bottle. If she *had* taken a bottle, I would have just pumped and fed her that way. It's way too painful. And discouraging. Ibuprofin helped only with mastitis.

0
Fe8ee6e49baae08c9535e326f3ce8ff2

(40)

on August 26, 2012
at 10:13 PM

where are you in the world?

commiserations from me :-( been there and have always tried natural however never succeeded - I am in the UK and treated topically for me and it treated baby also at the same time ( at 6 weeks) .Where ever you are try to desl quickly if it goes deep into the breast it is painful beyond.....have assisted others in this position ( peer support volunteer) good luck

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