Breast yeast infection or Thrush in breastfeeding moms

The yeast infection caused by the fungus Candida albicans, called thrush is not a big deal, but it is contagious and can be painful, especially for your child. Your symptoms can include pink, crusty, itchy, or burning nipples; a vaginal yeast infection; or a burning pain inside your breasts during or after nursing.

Infants may have white spots or a coating on their gums, tongue, or inside the cheeks. Some babies develop diaper rash whereas others have no symptoms at all. If you suspect thrush, call your doctor. The standard treatment for thrush is the prescription drug nystatin.

Breast yeast infection or Thrush in breastfeeding moms
Breast yeast infection or Thrush in breastfeeding moms

Yeast infection in breast symptoms

This type of infection can sometimes be tricky to diagnose because the symptoms are not always the same. Sometimes you will notice some telltale white patches inside your baby’s mouth, a white tongue (thrush), or a fiery-red yeast-based diaper rash. Your child may also seem to be experiencing some pain or discomfort when he is nursing—like his mouth is sore.

Moreover, if the yeast infection has spread to you as well, you are likely experiencing burning, shooting nipple pain. The skin of the areola may be red and shiny, scaly and flaky, or it may look perfectly healthy. Your nipples may suddenly become irritatingly itchy, particularly after a nighttime feeding. Moreover, it is possible for you to experience nipple pain even if you cannot see any symptoms of thrush in your baby’s mouth, contrary to what many people believe.

Babies can get thrush from being exposed to yeast in the birth canal. There are also many children who develop thrush simply due to the hormonal changes that occur after birth. If you are giving your baby antibiotics or if you are taking antibiotics, you might also be more likely to experience thrush. Some mothers and babies simply seem to be more prone to getting yeast infections than others.

You may also be interested in How to treat mastitis at home

Diagnosing thrush

Typically, you can diagnose thrush in your baby without the help of your doctor or your lactation professional, though if it is your first bout of thrush, it might be easier to let someone help you to make the diagnosis. You might notice white patches on the inside of your baby’s cheeks. Thrush can also occasionally be on your child’s tongue. With a clean, gauze-covered finger, you can gently try to rub the white patches off. If they come off easily they are breast milk residue; if the area bleeds or the white spots do not come off easily, it is most likely thrush.

If you see some white patches at a feeding, wait for a bit and look again. If the patch is still there, your baby probably has a case of thrush.You will typically need to treat breast yeast infection for it to go away, though sometimes you can wait it out if you are not infected, and it does not seem to be painful for your baby.

Breast yeast infection treatment

How you treat breast yeast infection will vary depending on the cause of the thrush, how your child feels, and your outlook on medications. You have to do some simple things first before any medication is effective. These involve preventing reinfection for your child and preventing yourself from having a yeast problem.

This means everything that goes into your child’s mouth needs to be used only once. So if your baby uses a pacifier, boil it before your child gets it again. The same holds true for toys and anything else that goes into the mouth, including medication droppers when possible. You might even wish to cleanse your nipples after feeding. A clean, wet Washcloth will do the trick.

Some practitioners will treat your baby, and perhaps you, with a medication called Nystatin. This is a prescription drug that is used topically on the spots. You might also be told to use it on your nipples. Some practitioners also use an antifungal agent is known as gentian violet. If you go the gentian violet route, first coat your baby’s lips with nonpetroleum jelly. This will prevent the violet color of this agent from staining the baby’s skin. If for some reason you forget the nonpetroleum jelly, don’t worry—the color lasts only a few days.

Seek medical treatment for yourself, your baby, and your partner. (Yeast infections can be transmitted to your partner during sex.) Yeast can be a pain to get rid of, so talk to your health care provider about your various treatment options (nystatin cream or ointment, gentian violet, or anti-fungal creams).

We recommend reading the article: Blocked milk duct: lump in breast while breastfeeding