Thrush: Symptoms, Treatment And Prevention
By Cindy Puppos | July 29, 2019
WHAT IS THRUSH?
What is thrush? Chances are, until you became a breastfeeding momma, the question never entered your mind. Thrush, however, is something that you need to know about - it’s very easily transferred between mom and baby, the symptoms can be uncomfortable, and there are ways to stem the problem once diagnosed.
Candida albicans, also known as thrush, is a yeast (fungal) infection. It occurs when there is an overgrowth of the fungus in the body, either yours or baby’s. The yeast infection can be easily transferred between a breastfeeding mom and child. Mothers are at a higher risk of developing thrush if they recently took antibiotics, are diabetic or are anemic. If baby develops thrush in his throat first, it can be passed to breastfeeding mamas through cracked nipples.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF THRUSH
For a breastfeeding mom, the signs of thrush can present in the following ways:
- Bright pink nipples that are itchy, tender and have a burning sensation
- Cracked nipples that heal slowly or will not heal
- Pain deep in your breast
- Reddened areolas along with inflamed nipples
- Irritation that makes your nipples look shiny or flaky
- Vaginal yeast infection
When it comes to thrush and your little one, it can appear in a few areas and in the following ways:
- A fungal diaper rash on your baby’s bottom that is red and bumpy and will not go away after topical cream treatment
- White patches on baby’s tongue, the roof of his mouth, or inside his cheeks
- Uncharacteristic fussiness during and after breastfeeding
- Baby is slipping off the breast or breaking suction during feeding (clicking noise)
- A rash with small, red spots near the edge appearing on baby’s body
YOU SUSPECT THRUSH, NOW WHAT?
Since thrush is so easily passed from mother to baby and vice versa, by the time you realize an individual has it, chances are it has already been passed on. Once you suspect you, your child or you both have thrush, you’ll need to visit your child’s pediatrician and your primary care physician to treat the infection.
Thrush in your baby’s mouth will likely make it painful for him to breastfeed, so any previously pumped milk being fed via a bottle may be an option. 1 Natural Way can work with you, your doctor and your insurance provider to secure a breast pump system so you can keep your supply well stocked. You may want to discuss a temporary formula supplement with your pediatrician as a backup option.
PUMPING WITH THRUSH
Since breastfeeding may be too painful for you and your little one, pumping to keep your supply up is an option, however, professionals advise that you do NOT collect this breast milk to store for future use.
Thrush can live in your breast milk and won’t die - even if you freeze it. Wait until you finish taking the entire course of medication, and you no longer have any symptoms, before you begin breast milk collection again.
Building up a healthy, plentiful breast milk storage supply comes in handy during moments like these. Find out how to improve breast milk production, get pumping advice and learn some breast milk storage how-tos with these helpful 1 Natural Way guides: Foods to Eat (and Avoid) as a Breastfeeding Mom and Breast Milk Storage 101.
Candida is hard to get rid of since it grows and spreads quickly; fast diagnosis and treatment will be your sanity saver!
When it comes to yeast and fungal infections, antifungal medications are often prescribed. Most times, both mother and baby will be directed to take different medications. Also, it is worth discussing with your doctor the possibility of your spouse or other children receiving a prescription as well.
It is imperative that both mother and child correctly administer or consume the prescribed prescriptions even if symptoms alleviate.
To encourage and replenish good bacteria, a probiotic supplement like Lactobacillus acidophilus can be consumed, as well as yogurt with active cultures. And, since yeast loves sugar, it is wise to avoid sugary drinks and food while being treated for thrush.
Ugh. So you know you don’t want thrush. Let’s talk prevention!
- Wash your hands before and after you touch your breasts, after you use the restroom, after you changed your baby’s diaper and applied any topical medication, as well as before and after you use a breast pump and its accessories.
- Focus on washing your breasts and nipples and keeping them dry after feedings and showers and before you put on new breast pads, nursing bras and other tops.
- - Change your breast pads often. A moist, warm breast pad encourages yeast infections. You may need to invest in breast pads that do not have a plastic liner (these do not allow air around your breasts and hold in moisture).
- - Wear a clean nursing bra daily and be sure to change it if it gets wet or has breast milk soak through from damp breast pads.
- - Wash and sanitize your breast pump and its accessories on a daily basis.
- - If you are using cloth diapers, wash all of them with hot water and bleach. To cut down on a yeast infection recurrence while undergoing treatment, consider using disposable diapers.
1 Natural Way offers a complete array of products and services to make moms more comfortable and confident throughout their pregnancy and breastfeeding journey. We provide mothers with name brand breast pumps, monthly breastfeeding supplies, maternity compression stockings and postpartum recovery garments, as well as expert and compassionate advice and top-notch customer service. Click here to start the qualification process and find out if you qualify for a breast pump at no cost to you.
About the Author
Cindy Puppos is 1 Natural Way's Customer Service Manager, so she has a good idea of all the different and wonderful questions that moms have for her team. Thankfully, as the mother of two boys (who are now grown!) and a veteran of the company and breastfeeding, Cindy is always knowledgeable about breastfeeding, pumping and all the latest and greatest pumps!