Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Thrush Anyone?

I know Works for Me Wednesday is supposed to be me giving advice, but I missed the backwards edition last week, and I'm hoping you'll forgive me for not following the rules as I ask for your advice...

I wasn't able to breastfeed the first two times I attempted it. One issue after another prevented me from being able to continue. I made it two weeks with my first baby until the pediatrician told me to stop, and I gave up in frustration after only four weeks with my second daughter.

This time, a lactation consultant was able to help me figure out what I was doing wrong before I left the hospital. It was such an answer to prayer. She had already been in to see me and the nurses had helped me and just as before, everyone said, "You are doing great!" but I knew I was heading down the road to all of the same complications. My nipples were already scabbing and painful and my milk hadn't even come in yet. The morning before I was to leave I prayed for help. I said, "Lord, please show me what I'm doing wrong." I wanted to make it work so badly.

Five minutes later, the consultant came in and said, "Oh, I see what's happening." Her tips were all that was needed to make it work this time. It has hurt, but nothing like it did the first two times, and for the most part it has been going great.

Now, though, I'm thinking we may have a case of thrush. His tongue has a white coating that won't go away, and I have a burning sensation during and after nursing. It is so discouraging for me. I'm not sure that it is thrush and it isn't unbearable, I could just keep going. My baby is only three and a half weeks old, so maybe this is just typical soreness. A part of me wants to ignore it and just hope it goes away. Everything I have read on the Internet makes it feel like a futile fight, that we'll just keep passing it back and forth to each other. I've been trying some home remedies like apple cider vinegar solution on his tongue and my nipples. It seems to be helping some, but not curing the problem.

I thought I'd ask you all and see if any of you have dealt with thrush and conquered it. Any tips? Have you tried natural remedies? If it keeps up, who am I supposed to ask for help from, my OB? my family doctor? my pediatrician?

Thanks in advance for your help...(and sorry to my male readers for the topic) : )
For more WFMW tips go here. I learn new things every week.
Here's a link to my past WFMW posts where I followed the rules : )


Unknown said...



My girl had it, a couple times, but then it was over. Now remember, this was six years ago! But if I remember correctly, her pediatrician gave her an antibiotic that cleared it up. I know I didn't stop breastfeeding. I breastfed both of mine until 13 months.

Do you use Lansinoh? If you don't, YOU REALLY SHOULD BE!!! It definitely helped the soreness go away with my girl, and never experience it at all with my boy. With him, a nipple shield really helped him "learn" how to latch on. With her, it eased the soreness. Medela makes a good one; they have it at Target. They also have Lansinoh. It's a purple tube in a purple box. Maybe the nipple shield can help you not get the thrush on you, while the meds are clearing it up in the baby. Ask your pediatrician.

Keep us posted!

missy said...


#2 had it horribly and after all of the prescription drugs, we finally had a dr. tell us to use gentian violet. You get it from the pharmacist, but it's not prescription. It's a purple dye that you coat their mouth with. It stains EVERYTHING (their mouth, your breast, clothes), but it works. There is some controversy about it now, but it totally works. We also gave her liquid acidopholus which helped prevent it after we got it cleared up.

Good luck. He's so incredibly gorgeous!!!! I could just smooch him, thrush and all :o)


andreawilliams said...

Oh Becky! I am so sorry. I wish that I had an answer but I don't. Did you call the lac. consultant yet? They are full of ideas. Good luck and give him a big snuggle from me!!

Christa said...

I've got you covered on this one, sister! I'm nursing my fifth baby, so I may know a few things. First, get yourself some acidophilus pearls. (Sold at health food stores and also now at Walgreens!) They're tiny white balls/pills that kill bad yeast in you and prevent you from getting an infection yourself. Secondly, lemon juice! Get an eye dropper and squirt it into baby's mouth with the majority on the affected parts. It's not the best taste in the world to them, but it does kill the growth. (The other option is apple cider vinegar, another anti-fungal, but I think that's meaner.) Do that several times a day! Should be gone fairly soon. :) Hope it helps. Let me know how it goes.

Melanie @ This Ain't New York said...

Don't give up! Call the lactation consulant. If you can't find one again, google Le Leche and they may be able to direct you.

Donielle said...

I'd totally call the L.C or pediatrician to check baby out to see if that's what is really is. As for the pain, no matter what I used on 'em, they hurt like heck for over a month. Let down was just horrible. It's different for every woman, I think some can just have more pain than others. That said, if you're red or cracked, seek out the L.C. to make sure you're doing it right.

Sure is something nobody ever tells you - breastfeeding is WORK!

Thia said...

Here are the two best links ever on thrush:


Wendy said...

yes, my oldest one had it SEVERAL times as an infant. Get the pediatrician to give you an antibiotic for the baby. (I can't remember the name; too long ago!) The one we had was liquid...Give the baby dosage as prescribed. What REALLY helped us end it was also dipping a clean q-tip into the medicine and applying to the nipples (I know, a little too much info, but it really did help!) 'cause it transfers from the baby's mouth to you. I can't remember the frequency of applying the med. to yourself; maybe a few minutes before nursing and then again after? Thrush is so painful...I hope this helps!

Anonymous said...

I struggled with my first baby to nurse and only made it 3 weeks. I vowed to hang in there with my next 2 and it changed my life. Yes there were times I cried through it because I was cracked and bleeding, but that was a result of an incorrect latch on. I got help from a lactation consultant and my Doctor gave me lanolin (which is completely safe for the baby) and our troubles cleared up within 2 days. The bond created between nursing moms and their babies is truly a gift. What a blessing to have this time; it goes so quickly. Hang in there and enjoy every minute.

Gettysburg Mom said...

Hi there. I've nursed three- and encountered thrush with the second. Oh the frustration. and pain! I wanted to reinforce what a previous poster said about treating not just baby but yourself, as well. Otherwise, it just comes right back. Good luck and hang in there!

Anonymous said...

I am sorry this has been so discouraging for you. I highly recommend you call your pediatrician. One of my kids had thrush, I can't remember which, but I know the pediatrician helped. Sometimes, you can get a antibiotic, if the dr feels it is necessary. You don't have to feel defeated though, especially if the nursing is going well. You will get through this. I don't recommend just ignoring it, it will only get worse.

As for the pain, no one told me this with my first and I wish someone had. It does hurt for awhile. BUT on the bright side, it does get better. I remember one day realizing, "hey my nipples aren't in agonizing pain any more!" I want to say it was after a few months.

Hope you get relief soon with the thrush and the pain!

Anonymous said...

My baby had that just last week and it clears up easily if you have the right stuff. My dr. proscribed oral Nystatin and the thrush was gone in a day and a half

E. Tyler Rowan said...

Sounds like you're getting the best advice, but I'll weigh in my support for the Gentian Violet.

Paint it all over the tongue, roof of mouth, and inside of cheeks. And all over your (ahem) nipples and aereolas. (My husband called me the "purple nipple monster" LOL.)

Went through thrush with 3 of my 5 kids, and every. single. time. the prescription stuff (I think it's nilstatin) didn't work and we got the Gentian Violet. Five days, works like a charm.

But make sure you wear nursing pads, keep a bib on baby, and a couple receiving blankets handy. Last thing you want is purple ink stains on your house and clothes! (Hint - spraying hairspray on it will cause an ink stain to release.)

Sarah said...

found your post from rocks in my dryer...i have a 4 month old and we battled thrush for over a month, but it's finally gone! just as the previous posters said...call the pediatrician & try nystatin first. if that doesn't clear it up, try gentian violet. some other tips... wash all your babies clothes, burp rags, bibs, & your nursing bras with 1 cup of vinegar (it kills the yeast). also rinse your nipples with a vinegar/water solution after nursing (1 tablespoon vinegar to 1 cup water). sterilize all pacis, nipples, bottles that you use DAILY! don't give up! there is hope!!!

Marlene McGarrity said...

I don't have any kids, but I have two friends who had babies and I know they used Gentian violet. The babies looked liked these babies with purple faces:


Shynea @ Penny Pinching Diva said...

A lot of babies get thrush. And all three of mine had it, even when I was breastfeeding. The best thing that you can do right now is make an appointment with your son's pediatrician so he can get a prescription for it. Thrush is fungal based, so at home remedies won't cure it fully. Also, you should contact your local La Leche league to see what they recommend that you put on your breast after breastfeeding to prevent thrush.

Don't give up. I am hoping that this time is a better experience for you. :)

Precision Quality Laser said...

While I have never had a baby who had thrush (that I was aware of), I do know what PAINFUL breastfeeding is like.

One lady mentioned Lansinoh, a word of caution, if you are allergic to wool don't use it. It is derived from wool and will further irritate your nipples. But if you aren't allergic to wool, then by all means go for it! :)

The one thing that worked in helping me to heal from the cracked and bleeding nipples was to use a burn patch. I think they are called Second Skin? If you put them in the fridge before you use them, they are so much the more soothing! There is nothing icky on them that will keep baby from nursing. I had no problems after I initiated use of burn patches.

Just keep after it! You can do it!

Rsymphony said...

Hi Becky :)
I’ve been reading your blog for a month and I have to say congrats on your littler prince! I’m expecting #4 and had a tough time breastfeeding my girls but our little man was a dream…so I’m hoping this little guy will be easy too :) Yes, nursing does hurt for awhile but I found Gerber Breast Therapy moisturizing balm and LOVED it! You don’t have to wash it off to nurse and it keeps “that area” soft and moisturized :) I bought mine at Target and applied it after every nursing session and shower. While nursing was still uncomfortable for several weeks; I never had any pain from being dry or cracked. I would highly recommend it!
Hope this helps :)

Jennifer said...

I don't know much about the thrush issue, but I also know about nipple pain. Placing tea bags on the nipples was a life saver. I just used ones that were already boiled for tea, but I think they may be just as effective from the box. I've passed that info on to others and they had good results as well. Let me know if you choose that and if it worked.

Heart4Adoption said...

Since you already have great advice, I'll just add to hang in there! I didn't deal with thrush but did have nursing difficulties with my oldest. I vowed to make it happen, got help, and nursed for a year. Press on:)