Breastfeeding women can develop a yeast infection in their breast which can be passed back and forth between mom and baby. It’s called thrush when it occurs in the mouth and a yeast infection when it occurs in the breast. Candida, also called yeast, is a fungus that occurs naturally in the mucous membranes and on the skin. An overgrowth of yeast can cause an infection. Don’t let a yeast infection go untreated, as both mom and baby must be treated to prevent reinfection. Yeast infections may lead to plugged ducts and mastitis.
Risk factors for yeast infections:
Antibiotics (causes yeast to multiply);
Vaginal yeast infection in the mother during pregnancy;
Diabetes in the mother;
Anemia in the mother;
Cracked nipples make mother and your baby more at risk for developing a yeast infection;
Damp nursing pads or bras;
Plastic lined nursing pads – they prevent air flow to the nipple area.
Symptoms in the mother:
Red, pink and sore nipple;
Sharp, burning pain in the nipple and shooting pain deep in the breast;
Severe burning ;
Nipples that are itchy or burning;
Shooting pain in the breast during or after a feeding (yeast most is in the milk ducts);
Nipple or breast pain with correct use of a pump.
Symptoms in baby:
Thrush appears as white spots or patches in the baby’s mouth;
Nursing may be uncomfortable for the baby and he may pull off the breast or refuse to nurse;
Excessive gassiness; and,
Thrush can also be symptomless.
What to do for mom:
See your doctor and strictly follow her recommended course of treatment
Wash hands often;
Nurse frequently for shorter amounts of time;
Rinse nipples after nursing and air dry well;
After feeding apply antifungal cream (if recommended by your doctor);
Change nursing pads at each feeding and keep nipples as dry as possible;
Watch your sugar intake – yeast feeds on sugar;
Your doctor may prescribe an antifungal medication like Diflucan (fluconazole) which can be very effective;
Violet on your nipples (if recommended by your doctor); and
Feed baby with expressed milk – freezing the milk will not kill the yeast.
What to do for thrush in baby’s mouth:
See your baby’s pediatrician and strictly follow her recommended course of treatment.
She may prescribe nystatin drops;
Boil any objects that go in baby’s mouth for 20 minutes.
Yeast is persistent so it’s very important to get a follow-up with your doctor even when you think the infection is gone.
Mommas- if you are suffering with a yeast infection now, we are sorry and know how much pain you are having. You’re not alone and you and your baby will get better. Call your doctor asap if you haven’t already to get on that road to recovery. We’re here for you!
Dr. Brown’s Rachel’s Remedy Antimicrobial Breast pads have an antimicrobial finish that help eliminate and inhibit bacterial and microbial growth that is often found in warm, damp areas. You can get them here.