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
  • 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
  • Do not save or freeze expressed breast milk during a yeast infection
  • Sterilize all breast pump parts once a day.  To sterilize, wash items in hot soapy water, rinse well and boil in water for at least 2 minutes.  Let items air dry.
  • Sterilize all items that come into contact with baby’s mouth e.g. Toys, pacifiers, bottle nipples; wash in hot soapy water, rinse well and then boil in water for a least 2 minutes.  Let items air dry.
  • 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.
  • For more information on managing and treating yeast see La Leche League factsheet.