Friday, June 12, 2015


Thrush is awful.  It's yeast...on your boobs (and also in mouths, like baby mouths).  It's painful on the surface and comes with shooting pains in the breasts.  And it can be very stubborn.  I've been nursing pain free for two weeks now, so I'm comfortable enough saying I finally beat it.  That said, I'm well aware it could come back, especially with the warmer weather.  Since I got so many great tips, I decided to put them all in one place here.  I literally did all of this stuff.  I have a Thirty One tote I dubbed my thrush kit.  It's sitting on my kitchen table which is what reminded me to finish up this draft.  I'm still using my Rx, but should be able to put all this junk away very soon, just being extra cautious!  I saw two different doctors on three different occasions, had a lactation appointment, follow up with a lactation nurse, and talked to many other mothers.  It was so, so awful.  I would dread feeding Niko and have to give myself a pep talk to make it happen...then I would cry while feeding him.  It got better at some point, but only for a day or two.  I seriously considered quitting breastfeeding, but 1) I'm stubborn and 2) I knew I'd regret it once the thrush (or whatever it was, I didn't know it was thrush for the first month or so) cleared up.  I'm so glad I hung in there!

For Mom:
Don't give it a home - Yeast loves warm, moist places, so wearing breathable clothes or none at all as much as possible will help.  Thrush can just happen for no real reason, but I'm pretty sure all my babywearing while packing gave it a nice place to grow.

Don't feed it - Cutting carbs and sugar (sad, I know) will help.  Proteins and healthy fats are your friend!

Gentian Violet - Though it's messy and stains, it is generally very effective, read more here.

Vinegar - Vinegar is a natural super-cleaner.  Click here for the recipe and method for using vinegar for thrush.

Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE) - I think this is what put the final nail in the coffin for my thrush.  I actually took it in pill form, but this link talks about why it works and how to use it.

Prescription - Nystatin is the one I hear about most, though which actual Rx you get may vary by doctor and their theory on thrush.  Some will say many strains of yeast are getting resistant to Nystatin.  I got Ketoconazole.  It may also be important to get an Rx for baby, talk with your doctor.

All Purpose Nipple Ointment (APNO) - Though I didn't use this for thrush, I actually used this in the early days of nursing Myra just because I was in so much pain from latch struggles and constant pumping.  It's called all purpose because it works for just about everything.  Click here for more info.

Probiotics - The good bacteria in probiotics (also the live and active cultures in yogurt) will help fight off the yeast.

Bleach and Sun - Also addressed in this link from above.  This link, too.

Pain Management - I constantly regretted forgetting to take ibuprofen.  Click here for information on medications and breastfeeding.

For Baby:
Prescription - see above.

Gentian Violet - see above.

Pacifiers and Bottles - Boil daily.  We had a rotation of pacifiers so I was only actually boiling every 2-3 days, but would consider them dirty after no more than one day's use.  Boil your pump parts, too, if you're pumping.

Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE) - see above.

Don't feed it - If baby is eating solids, keep diet in mind as mentioned above.

Diaper rash - Thrush can present as a yeast diaper rash, too, so be on the look out.  Myra had that and it was a pain.  I bleached all her diapers and used disposables until we were done treating it.  Lots of naked time! is a great resource for all things breastfeeding.  Click here for her thrush info page.  If you're looking for more general breastfeeding info, Dr. Jack Newman is also a favorite, especially his info on drinking alcohol while breastfeeding (also cited here).

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