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Thrush While Breastfeeding

Breast and nipple thrush (BNT) is a yeast infection of the nipple and breast caused by a fungal organism known as Candida albicans, a common cause of all thrush infections.

It occurs most commonly in breastfeeding mothers. The infection may lead to severe nipple and breast pain, especially during breastfeeding. Thrush while breastfeeding can be VERY common – and it can be very painful for mom, unfortunately!⁣⁣⁠
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Thrush is the term used to describe excess colonization of Candida albicans. It’s a yeast-like fungus that is actually always present in your body.⁣⁣⁠
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This bacteria likes to hang out in dark/moist places (mouth, stomach, vagina, etc), and the excess of this fungus can result in infection and inflammation.⁣⁣⁠
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So let’s go back to breastfeeding…yeast and fungus thrive on sugars & being in a dark/wet environment.⁣⁣⁠
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*hint hint* – This is why thrush is common during breastfeeding! Breast milk is composed of sugar! And unless you’re just walking around topless all the time (kudos to you if you are!) – your boobs are in a dark, closed, wet environment.⁣⁣⁠
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Many times, when thrush accumulates we see it in babies, on their tongues! This is different from “milk tongue” because you can just rub it away.

Signs of thrush:⁣⁣⁠

  • White spots, dryness, and/or cracking on nipples⁣⁣⁠
  • Hard, shiny spots on your nipples⁣⁣⁠
  • Itchy body or itchiness inside your boob⁣⁣⁠
  • Sharp, stinging or shooting pain while breastfeeding⁣/pump⁣⁠
  • White coating or white spots on your baby’s tongue or mouth⁣⁣⁠

Breast And Nipple Thrush Treatment Options⁣⁣⁠

This is definitely something to see your provider about. There are antifungal creams that can be prescribed to you that work wonders! And your peds will commonly provide an oral antifungal for the baby too!⁣⁣⁠
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Preventing thrush is just as important! Probiotics are GREAT for that. ESPECIALLY if you’re on an antibiotic for any reason. Mamas on antibiotics (like for mastitis) are at a higher risk for thrush.⁣⁣⁠

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Other Helpful Tips with Regards to Thrush

Hygiene is key to prevent thrush from being passed around the family!

If anyone else in the family has thrush make sure that is treated correctly and thoroughly.

Make sure you wash your hands before and after applying any medicines to your breasts and nipples and of course whenever you apply baby’s medicine as well.

Ensure you wash your hands very well after every nappy change.

Frequently change wet breast pads for new dry ones, to keep your nipples as dry as possible. Thrush likes to grow in moist, warm environments.

Only use your own bath towel; do not share with anyone else.

Wash your bras, towels and any cloth nursing pads on a high heat wash and ideally air-dry outside.

If you are using teats or dummies make sure you wash and then boil clean them after each use.

Have you had experience with thrush?

Share your tips in our comments below! 😀

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14 Comments

  1. If I am having pain with latch and lasts about 20 seconds or so and then goes away but I did notice my baby does have some white on his tongue. I don’t have itchiness could it be thrush?

  2. It was determined that I have yeast on my breasts but my baby doesn’t have any thrush (yet). I am putting oral nystatin on my boobs but am still having a lot of pain. Any ideas??

  3. I will have nightmares about thrush for the rest of my life. I’ll take mastitis a thousand times over thrush, it’s literally a hot knife to the nipple the entire time while feeding and it takes weeks!!!! To get rid of and you have to do it right or else it’ll keep coming back!!! I 100% would’ve stopped breast feeding bc of it but my daughter refuses bottles and formula 😭

  4. How can you tell when thrush is gone? Babe still has white tongue I’ve just been cleaning my breast after every feed and changing my bra/disposable pad everyday. Doctor didn’t prescribe anything and said it will go away over a few weeks? Does it work like that?

  5. OMG I think we have thrush over here. I didn’t think to put it together. White patch that doesn’t wipe off her tongue ✅ pain while breastfeeding when there wasn’t previously pain ✅ itchy body ✅ white spot on nipple ✅ do I see my provider and she see the ped?

Posted By Claire

Claire is our Community Manager here at New Moms Forum. A mom of two (almost grown-up babies), Claire has been building and operating community-based websites for almost 20 years. In her downtime, Claire enjoys spending time with her family and drinking copious amounts of red wine!

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