Yeast in your breasts?! What?
Candida albicans. The culprit behind the very annoying yeast infection. You may be familiar with this uncomfortable sensation in your underwear since it tends to be pretty common, but what about in your breasts?
Well let me tell you, it’s just as disturbing in your poor breasts and if you’re breastfeeding, it’s easily passed on to your baby’s mouth – also known as thrush. It isn’t anything to be embarrassed about; it happens!
It’s a difficult hurdle to overcome when you’re breastfeeding because it’s sometimes mistaken for a poor latch – because of the pain related to it. This may be contributing to the problem for you, but it’s not always the case. With thrush, the feedings become very painful from the moment your baby starts feeding for the entire session. But, the true giveaway that it is in fact thrush is pain that persists even BETWEEN feeds. It’s usually described as dull and impermeating deep into your breast tissue, armpits, or even into your back. During feeds, women describe it as burning, radiating, and intense pain that feels like razor blades inside the nipple and breast tissue.
I agree, as I experienced this myself with my first baby! I would get really anxious before my baby would latch on. I would even start sweating. The pain was unbearable! I didn’t think it was a latch issue, but I went to get help anyways to get a second opinion. In my case, the latch was perfectly fine so I visited my family doctor who confirmed it was definitely thrush. Yay! At least now we could focus on a plan to get through it. It can be tricky since you and your baby can continuously pass it back and forth to each other. Your baby will have a white-ish tongue that appears thicker than breast milk, and you can’t wipe it away. There are a few options out there to tackle this beast, but this is what helped my baby and I get rid of thrush once and for all:
– You may try Gentian violet with your doctor’s recommendation. It is a very specific and concentrated antifungal purple solution. You paint it onto your nipples and you allow your baby to feed so that the solution gets into their mouth. It stains everything though – fabric, clothes, etc. so be mindful of that!
– Antifungal syrup for your baby to give by mouth. Prescribed by your doctor to give a few times a day.
– Dr. Newmans all purpose nipple ointment. This stuff works wonders for many breastfeeding issues that bring on pain. It includes an antibiotic, antifungal, and a corticosteroid. So, it helps with pain and inflammation. It’s truly magical for a lot of women! Your doctor can write you a prescription for this and the pharmacy will mix it up for you. It’s awesome, too, because you can apply it sparingly between feeds and you don’t have to worry about washing it off for when your baby feeds.
– Change your breast pads often! If you’re not using breast pads, wash your bras more often. In hot hot water.
-Wash. Your. Hands.
– Leave your breasts open to air as much as possible. Let those nipples breathe! This will also help your nipples heal if they are cracked and sore.
– Cut out sugar as much as possible in your diet. Yeast thrives on sugar!
– Support! You need professionals around you. Your doctor will tackle this thing head on, a Mama Coach like myself will help you with the latch, and your partner or family to mentally get you through it. It’s not always easy, but you can work through it.
Within a few days, your pain will dramatically decrease and you will be on the road to pain-free breastfeeding! If your pain suddenly comes back after a few weeks, get help again.
I’ve been through it and I can be a part of your support team. Our journeys are sometimes bumpy, but you’re strong and there isn’t anything you can’t do, mama!