Thrush (yeast) is a common issue for breastfeeding mamas and new babies.
You may notice symptoms such as white spots in baby’s mouth, and painful nursing.
When my little boy began presenting early thrush symptoms when he was a couple months old, my doctor guided me to some natural and inexpensive remedies instead of automatically prescribing an expensive chemical-based remedy.
With some simple steps, the thrush was gone!
- Most importantly, take your probiotics!
You can purchase acidophilus/probiotic supplements and/or eat live-cultured unsweetened yogurt daily. The probiotic benefits will pass from the nursing mama to baby, but if your little one is old enough to eat solids, give baby some yogurt too. There are some probiotic solutions available for little ones, too, if your doctor recommends it.
- Reduce/eliminate sugar.
If thrush is especially lingering, you may even want to limit fruit and dairy products, as they contain natural sugars. Make sure you are getting plenty of B vitamins, too.
- Use a 1% solution of Genetian Violet.
(Apply to mama & baby before & after feeding). Beware of the purple-staining factor, though; keep bibs handy! If you can only find 2% solution, dilute it by half with sterile water. I have seen this in natural food stores and in the cosmetic sections of “hispanic food aisles” in grocery stores.
- Wash the nipple-shield (and Mama), if using.
Use a diluted solution of 5 oz water + 5 drops of grapefruit seed extract after every feeding, and rinse well. If using a nipple-shield (with a lactation consultant’s direction), this can be a barrier to your body’s natural “self-cleaning” antimicrobial process during breastfeeding. (I purchase the grapefruit seed extract from Mountain Rose Herbs.)
- Wash bedding, towels, nursing bras, blankets, washcloths, etc!
Thrush is very easily spread. Even if you feel it’s a bit “obsessive,” wash all items after one use, and change to a fresh one. My no-sew cloth bed pads are can be tucked into the bed, and changed each morning (instead of changing the whole bed everyday!).
- Get some sunshine!
Dry your clothing/linens in the sun, which has an antimicrobial effect. If your bedroom window is secluded, mama can nap privately to allow for air flow and sun on her bare chest, which will help clear the yeast.
As an additional resource, Ina May’s Guide to Breastfeeding offers some additional tips for addressing thrush and healthy breastfeeding.
Do YOU have any helpful tips to share?