Please be aware that Health Canada has completed a safety review and has recommended that gentian violet, a common antiseptic used to treat thrush/yeast should no longer be used due to increased risk of cancer.  More information can be found on Health Canada’s website here

Thrush is an infection caused by yeast.  Yeast lives in and on our bodies.  When the yeast overgrows it can cause problems. Yeast likes warm, moist areas such as mother’s nipples, milk ducts, and vagina; as well as the mouth and diaper area of a baby.  

Signs and Symptoms of Yeast:

  • Your baby may have: white patches on tongue, gums and inner cheeks that do not wipe off, persistent bright red diaper rash, with small red bumps on the outer edge of the rash, change in behaviour, (gassy, cranky), pulling off and on /or fussy at the breast. 
  • Mom may have: sore nipples, burning or itching without pain during breastfeeding, pain is not improved with latch-on or positioning, nipples may look pink, red, shiny, flaky or have a rash with tiny blisters, shooting pain in the breast during or after feedings, cracked nipples, a vaginal yeast infection.
Treatment:
  • Continue to breastfeed your baby.  Rinse your nipple area with warm water after each feeding, pat dry, then air dry.
  • Make an appointment with mom’s doctor and baby’s doctor for treatment.
  • Make an appointment with a lactation consultant for a feeding assessment if necessary. `
  • For some treatment options from Dr. Newman: click here 
  • For persistent symptoms, Dr. Newman suggests Fluconazole. 
  • After starting medication, symptoms may seem to get worse for a couple of days before getting better. It is important to finish your medication even if symptoms improve. 

 MOM AND BABY MUST BE TREATED AT THE SAME TIME, EVEN IF ONLY ONE HAS SYMPTOMS TO PREVENT PASSING THRUSH BACK AND FORTH BETWEEN MOM AND BABY. 

Helpful Hints:
  • Wash hands with warm soapy water before and after feeding and after every diaper change
  • Breastfeed on the least sore side first until the milk letdown reflex occurs then switch to the sore side
  • Hand express prior to feeding to get the milk flowing
  • Check for correct positioning and latch
  • Breastfeed when baby is showing feeding cues, before baby gets too hungry and eager to feed
  • Air dry nipples
  • Do not use breast pads if possible.  If breast pads are needed, use 100% cotton, non-plastic lined and change often
  • Wear cotton bras and underwear and wash in hot water and dry in hot dryer
  • Wash any clothes, blankets that get wet with milk
  • Do not save or freeze expressed breast milk during a yeast infection
  • If you are using a breast pump, clean all parts that come in contact with your milk.  Wash in hot soapy water, rinse well in hot water. Set to air dry on a clean towel. 
  • Thoroughly clean all items that come into contact with baby’s mouth e.g. Toys, pacifiers, bottle nipples; wash in hot soapy water, rinse well with clear water and allow to air dry on a clean towel
  • If you get yeast infections often, your sexual partner should be treated as well
  • Do not share personal items with other family members e.g. tooth brush, cups, eating utensils.