Thrush infections are common among us breastfeeding moms, but many people don't talk about them. This is a type of yeast infection that happens during the nursing relationship and it can be a real pain, literally.
With thrush the area on your areola and nipple get red and inflamed and may even peel. When the baby nurses you are enduring varying amounts of torture, depending on how severe the infection is. It is a burning or stinging pain that may shoot up the side of your breast. Sometimes the baby has symptoms such as difficulty feeding, or may even have whitish patches in his or her mouth. It can also show up at the other end in the form of diaper rash, with red inflamed skin around the bum and skin folds.
I started using a Mother Love Herbal product called "Diaper Rash and Thrush Relief" that I bought at my local Whole Foods Market for my baby's bottom and it cleared up the yeasty diaper rash very well. It's a bit pricey, but well worth it for as well as it worked.
Unfortunately I had to use something stronger on my skin. First I tried a vinegar water mixture. I kept it in the shower for sprits after washing. I wash, rinse, spray with the vinegar water mixture, and then rinse it off. It did seem to help, but the yeast eventually got ahead of the vinegar.
Next I tried coconut oil and caprillic acid from information I found on the internet. Both are derived from coconuts and were fairly inexpensive, all things considered. It did seem to help, at first, but then the infection came back.
Then I asked for a prescription. My doctor gave me Nystatin cream. This finally did the trick, but I had to make sure to wash it off completely before feeding the baby.
Right now as maintenance I put the Nystatin on at night before bed and wash it off in the morning before the first feeding. This seems to keep the yeast at bay. Most lactation consultants say to treat mother and baby to completely eradicate the yeast. My pediatrician did not think it was necessary to treat the baby, which might be why this maintenance level is needed. An interesting anecdote is that I started to get thrush when I started using formula in my SNS. For months I used donor milk and I seemed to have no problems with yeast overgrowth then. My theory is that formula coming in contact with the skin might be what's causing the yeast to grow.
Another important thing to note is that when I eat a bunch of sugary stuff the thrush seems to come back. I'm limiting the frozen desserts and chocolate binges...well trying to at least. My family has a lot of birthdays in June, I'm doing my best. :)