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!
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.
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.
So let’s go back to breastfeeding…yeast and fungus thrive on sugars & being in a dark/wet environment.
*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.
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!
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.
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! 😀