Thrush from breastfeeding: Symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment

Some hospitals have their own breastfeeding clinics.

There are a number of treatment protocols for thrush including topical antifungal creams, careful hygiene, dietary changes and antifungal medications. The candida fungus, which causes thrush, can live on your breasts, in your nipples or in your breast milk, making it easy for it to pass to your baby through feedings. These look like left over milk. You probably can't prevent your baby from getting thrush if this annoying infection is a by-product of vaginal birth or breastfeeding.

Mothers and babies should not be exposed inappropriately.

A hot iron can also kill yeasts. Your nipples may be bright pink. On a last note, I need to warn you that sometimes what looks like thrush isn’t really thrush. If your baby has thrush in his mouth, you will notice white spots in the mouth that you cannot rub off with a washcloth (a white coating that you can rub off is not a problem; it’s probably just milk residue). It describes, among other things, how to use Gentian violet and systemic fluconazole, which you will need to speak to your doctor about. They can arrange for swabs to be taken from your nipples and your baby's mouth to see if thrush is present. Some moms find the pain so excruciating that they can barely stand to nurse their baby.

Symptoms for Mum include: You can also get it from changing your baby’s diapers if the fungus is in their stool. Or, it may be that your baby had it first and gave it to you.

Thrush infections are flat-out difficult to deal with. It affects about one newborn in 20, and one baby in seven by four weeks of ageThrush is more likely to happen if you or your baby is having a course of antibiotics, as these suppress the healthy bacteria that keep the candida fungus in check. Be sure to give the nystatin after nursing so the medicine will stay in your baby's mouth longer. For nursing moms, the symptoms are a bit different.

  • A thin later of APNO should be applied on the nipple and areola after every feed.
  • Oral thrush in the infant’s mouth may signal breast or nipple infection in the mother that may require treatment.
  • Divide each dose before applying and keep away from your baby’s throat to avoid choking.

Presenting Symptoms Which Suggest The Presence Of Candida Infection Of The Breast

More info here. The information provided is taken from various reference sources. Read more about positioning and attachment during breastfeeding. After nursing, let your nipples air dry completely, then reapply the medication.

• MICONAZOLE (Daktarin Gel) is recommended as first-line treatment in children under two years. The duration of treatment may vary, but usually continues for one week after the resolution of symptoms. It is important to seek professional help if you think you might have thrush. Diabetic moms have a higher incidence of yeast infections. It’s good practice to wash and sterilize bottle nipples and pacifiers daily but extra important when dealing with thrush. Yeast infection (vaginal): symptoms, causes, diagnosis, treatment, the evidence of this remains split, with some studies suggesting a risk in women but not men, while others conclude that the risk, if any, is negligible. Mother or baby has been treated with antibiotics or corticosteroids, or mother takes the contraceptive pill. Your doctor will prescribe antibiotics only when absolutely necessary.

For example, if you use nursing pads for leaking breasts, change them as soon as they get damp. And don’t douche – ever. Having a little yeast in your body is harmless, and it's normally found on the skin and in the genital area, mouth, throat, and digestive tract.

It may be in one or both breasts.

What Does The Nipple Look Like When A Feed Finishes?

● Consider a good quality probiotic to support a healthy microbiome. Antifungal medications are used to treat yeast or fungal infections. Chronic illness, including HIV, diabetes or anaemia. That’s 300 uses between the six-pad pack.

Thrush should be a diagnosis of exclusion, particularly after position and attachment have been optimised by an experienced breastfeeding worker. Diet → very high in sugar and yeast, or low in vitamins and minerals. “Thrush (oropharyngeal candidiasis) is a medical condition in which a yeast-like fungus called Candida albicans overgrows in the mouth and throat,” explains Natasha Sriraman, MD, academic pediatrician and associate professor of pediatrics in Norfolk, Virginia. The main physical finding of oral thrush in the breastfed infant is white patches on the surfaces of the mouth and tongue. Cut out sugar and refined carbs from your diet until the infection is over (or forever, if you can – it can only be good for you). You may also be prescribed an antifungal medication to take in pill form. Coconut oil for candida:, die-off rarely lasts more than a few days and can be managed by increasing your fluids and planning a light schedule for those first days. Nursing should be an enjoyable experience for both mother and baby.

That way, you both can be correctly diagnosed and treated at the same time. Yeast infections: symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, women of all ages can get vaginal yeast infections, but this uncomfortable condition is more common during a woman’s childbearing years. Research indicates that freezing does not kill yeast, but no one is sure if expressed milk can cause a recurrence. Ideally, your baby should take at least one inch of your areola into the mouth.

  • You might also want to let some milk air dry on your breast after feeding, which can help reduce some inflammation and soreness.
  • If you or your baby have been diagnosed with thrush you will both need to be treated.
  • As there are many other potential causes of the symptoms associated with thrush, it is important to rule out all possibilities.
  • It's normal to have Candida in the mouth and digestive system, but because the immune system of young children is undeveloped and immature, fungal overgrowths are common—and this overgrowth can result in thrush.


You may find it helpful to contact one of our trained breastfeeding counsellors on the Breastfeeding Helpline 1800 686 268 (1800 mum 2 mum) and/or refer to our article on attachment. Practitioners are required to take full liability for use. Dinsmoor MJ, Viloria R, Lief L, Elder S. You will need to sterilize these things after every use for as long as you are treating the thrush and after you have both recovered. J Hum Lact 2020; 18(2):

If you are experiencing pain while breastfeeding, or your baby is fussy at the breast, take heart—this doesn’t mean you need to stop nursing. Wear wide-based, hard, Medela nipple shells to prevent your bra from sticking to your sore nipples; or use soft, disposable nursing pads changed at every feeding. Use a separate towel for each person in the family, and change yours and your baby’s daily.

When possible, remain topless for several minutes after breastfeeding to allow your nipples to air dry. Thrush of this kind can spread easily. To sooth your nipple, massage 100% lanolin nipple cream onto the affected nipple. Itching on or around the nipple and areola.

Classification & Terminology

How can thrush be prevented while breastfeeding? White patches inside his cheeks or on his tongue or gums. Look for the any of the following symptoms: Other causes of nipple pain: Recurring blocked milk ducts (Newman, 2020). If you feel better before the course of medication is complete and stop using it, the yeast infection can come back. Areas of the body usually affected include tips of fingers and toes, as well as nipples.

This is because the nipples are not used to breastfeeding. The correct amount of cream will make the nipple and areola appear glossy or shiny. Often however, there are no visible signs and mothers report only on the pain. Change your bra and breast pads if-and-when they get wet and always keep your nipples as dry as possible. The patches look like cottage cheese and aren't easily washed off. It's caused by a type of yeast called Candida, which also causes some diaper rashes and vaginal yeast infections in women.

Yeast thrives in warm, moist, sugary environments, and that's exactly what your baby's mouth and your nipples provide during nursing.

Flu-like symptoms like fever, chills, body aches, nausea, vomiting, or fatigue. Once you have a Candida overgrowth in your gut, it can easily spread to all other areas via your hands. With appropriate treatment, many women and babies overcome thrush and continue their nursing relationship. More home hygiene: Use disposable bra pads to protect your clothing.

Key Organisations

In some cases, a full course of oral fluconazole (Diflucan) (once every second day for three days) is also necessary. Urinary tract health supplements, but above all, dietitians generally stress eating a wide range of nutritious foods – fruits and vegetables and healthy sources of fiber, where most Americans fall short – is key to proper gut health and better overall health. Even if you don’t have diabetes, your doctor may recommend reducing your sugar intake, including refined carbohydrates, until the infection resolves. Breastfeeding and Thrush (jump to 14 minutes 56 seconds). So, to keep the infection from passing back and forth from mother and child, both need to be treated at the same time. This study is the first longitudinal study of the role of both staphylococcal and candidial colonisation in breast infections and will help to resolve the current controversy about which is the primary organism in the condition known as breast thrush. First of all, make sure your baby has a good latch and that you have no pain while nursing.

Mothers can also develop a Candida infection on their nipples while taking antibiotics or steroids. Early diagnosis and treatment of nipple and breast thrush will help to improve your breastfeeding experience. It could cause the skin to break down.

What are the symptoms of thrush in babies?


However, preventing reinfection – or infection in the first place – is something you can do right at home. Your doctor may ask to take a swab of your breasts to check for a bacterial infection, and prescribe an antibiotic to treat it alongside your thrush treatmentYou could try adding probiotics to your daily diet to help the friendly bacteria that suppress thrush to grow again in your digestive tractYou can take probiotics in pill form, or by eating live, natural yoghurt, but don’t rely on them to fight your thrush infection. Vasospasm happens when circulation to the nipple gets restricted due to pressure between the baby’s tongue and soft palate. If breastfeeding is too painful while you or your baby has thrush, check in with your pediatrician to get treatment, fast. For baby, it’s more consistent. In the US the solution sold is often a 2% solution which is too strong, and probably accounts for the mouth ulcers that some babies get after being treated with it. ● Dietary adjustments may be helpful: These spots will look sort of like cottage cheese, and won't come off easily if you wipe his mouth with your finger or a soft cloth.

Breast thrush presents as severe nipple and/or breast pain, often after a period of pain free breastfeeding.

Areas of Excellence

Wash the baby's hands often, particularly if the hands are in the mouth. Change pads after each feeding. The data presented here is intended to provide some immediate information but cannot replace input from professionals. When there are less healthy bacteria, it leaves an opening for the yeast to grow. It almost never appears on the buttocks. Severe yeast infections that do not respond to OTC treatments may require a stronger antifungal, such as ketoconazole (Nizoral), for which a prescription from a doctor is necessary.

Many processed foods contain refined carbohydrates, so read food labels carefully. These conditions include treatment of the mother and/or infant with antibiotics, cracked nipples, use of oral contraceptives and diabetes. Mix together and apply to nipple and areola four times a day after the feeding. There is often more than one symptom present so it's important to get checked by your GP.

Breast and nipple thrush can cause strong nipple and breast pain.

How will I know if my baby has thrush?

Here are a few things to look for in your baby: More information about thrush and its treatment,can be found on the Breastfeeding Network website. Your provider may prescribe an antifungal cream for your nipples. Clean teats and dummies thoroughly after use and boil for five minutes. They will also explain how to treat sore nipples. However, do not use ACV to replace the prescription your physician has given you. Ideally teats and dummies should be replaced on a weekly basis.

What If Breastfeeding Is Too Painful While My Baby Has Thrush?

This type of pain may feel like a burning sensation. If your little one has a rash, I encourage you to take him to his health care provider. I call it milk tongue, which is different than thrush. It is safe for your baby, but it makes sense to wipe off any excess before he feeds. Pain persists throughout feeds as well as between them and generally occurs in both breasts even if it starts in one. I'm using the yogurt tampon method for yeast infection, how soon will i feel relief? ● A white ‘plaque’/residue may be present in the crease around the nipple.

Can I use gentian violet to treat my nipples?

Both you and baby need to be treated at the same time to ensure you get rid of the thrush. Oral thrush in the infant can also often be asymptomatic. The treatment is the same for both a bleb or blister and a blocked duct. Give any leftover medication to baby from the dropper. I have thrush. Yeast infection: vaginal yeast infection symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment. Your nipples are flattened, wedge-shaped or appear white after feeds.

Anecdotally, some mums find acidophilus probiotic capsules help to restore bacteria which can keep thrush under control. Oral thrush is common in infants under 6 months old. Topical treatment usually lasts for 14 days. What causes a thrush infection? The fact sheet includes suggested doses. It’s most common in babies around in the first 8 weeks of life. Researchers have conflicting views on the diagnosis and treatment of thrush. If symptoms persist, a second course of fluconazole 150 mg capsules may be prescribed as one capsule every second day for three days.

Signs and Symptoms

If your baby also has a yeast diaper rash, your provider may prescribe an antifungal cream to use in the diaper area. You may notice your baby is fussy or less interested during breastfeeding because of the irritation. There should be no change in the shape or colour of the nipple after a feed. With proper treatment for a yeast infection you should be back to a happy breastfeeding experience quickly!

When fighting any infection, eating a balanced diet and drinking enough water is a good idea. Also consider a possible alternative diagnosis: Experts say you can further ease pain by avoiding the use of soap on your breasts, which can be drying and irritating. Breastfeeding creates the perfect environment for thrush.

He or she may prescribe a topical anti-fungal treatment or an oral medication for both you and your baby, as it is easy for mothers and babies to pass thrush to one another. Doctors may prescribe one of the following creams or ointments when thrush is diagnosed. Your doctor will diagnose oral thrush by gently scraping any lesions found inside the mouth and examining them under a microscope. In women who are breastfeeding, thrush can lodge in the nipples, areolas, and breasts, causing significant pain.

  • The baby may even refuse to nurse altogether because his mouth is sore.
  • How is thrush from breastfeeding treated?
  • So if baby has obvious signs of thrush, you can be pretty sure that the nipple pain that you’re experiencing is thrush.

Looking For A Practitioner?

Used occasionally for persistent with triamcinolone eczema-like inflammation associated with a thrush infection. Thrush is caused by an overgrowth of Candida albicans, a fungus that lives in the digestive tract and on skin. In addition, the baby may have a fiery red diaper rash that does not respond to OTC diaper rash remedies. Or boil feeding and pump equipment for 20 minutes and replace teats and dummies weekly.

The tricky question is what to do with any extra milk that is pumped while you had thrush, after the thrush has cleared. Your doctor may do a swab on the nipple to help identify the cause. Your nipples might burn or sting. Use for at least 14 days.

Can I store breast milk during a thrush episode? A prospective study of fluconazole treatment for breast and nipple thrush. Use a clean towel for each bath or shower. Wearing disposable breast pads also creates a warm environment near the nipple, providing ideal conditions for yeast to multiply. In particular, if you have vaginal thrush, your partner may need treatment too.

Pay careful attention to the positioning and attachment of your baby.

Magazines & More

You also need to treat thrush in your baby and any other fungal infection in you or your family members. Visiting your GP for a diagnosis is important as other skin diseases, including eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis, impetigo, herpes and bacterial infection can have similar symptoms to thrush. They can lead to a mistaken diagnosis of a yeast infection. To prevent the spread of thrush, wash your hands thoroughly after nappy changes and before and after applying any creams/lotions. If your baby has thrush, he can give it to you. This information can also be viewed as a PDF by clicking here. ● Treatment can be difficult, and it is sometimes helpful to discuss this with parents, as it may empower them to be motivated to use self-help measures which will ultimately be beneficial. Some people also sweat more during pregnancy.

We also suggest that treatment is not commenced whilst waiting for difficulties such as tongue tie to be addressed.

Your doctor may prescribe you with oral treatment with nyastatin (Nilstat) capsules or tablets (500,000 units per tablet), but will consider the duration and severity of symptoms when selecting the most appropriate treatment. Like candida, staphylococcus lives on your body and usually doesn't cause problems. Thrush thrives in sweet sugary environments so change breast pads often and you could try reducing your sugar intake during an active episode of Thrush. We would like to make it clear that neither BfN or Wendy Jones (pharmacist who compiled the medical information) can be held responsible for use nor for any adverse effects which may be suffered by the mother or baby. Using a dummy/pacifier or bottle teat especially in the early weeks after birth (these are a source of reinfection) 16.

Whichever medication you use, apply medication after each feeding and remove before feeding again. Too much can break down the tissue, and then you have a whole new problem. Thrush in your baby’s mouth is treated using an oral gel or drops. The pharmacist will direct you on how to give it to your baby. Wash all clothes and towels that come into contact with your breasts or baby in hot water. Nipple thrush causes Taking antibiotics or having a lowered immune system can cause an environment in the body that makes it easier for yeast to grow and cause an infection. Women describe the pain of thrush as severe, even excruciating.


In severe cases the pain could last for an hour after feeds. How to stop anal itching: treatment, home remedies & constant itch. • Check for possible sources of reinfection, especially if symptoms improved at the start of treatment. ● Both breasts are affected. These options include: Rince your nipples with 1 tablespoon (15 ml) vinegar in 1 cup water (250 ml), every hour for a 24-hour period. And then there's nipple thrush causing the skin to flake, crack, and shine, along with itching and pain—symptoms I was experiencing. So if you use nystatin and do not see much improvement, go on to the next one.