In this article, we shall discuss one of the most common infections that every mother and her infant encounter during their breastfeeding journey. It is known as Thrush and oral thrush in babies. We will look into the ways in which it can be prevented effectively.

What is Thrush?

Thrush is a form of yeast infection. It is a painful condition that can develop within the nipples, areolas, and breasts of a breastfeeding mother. A woman is at higher risk of developing this infection if she has cracked and open nipples or a vaginal yeast infection. Breastfed babies might develop thrush in their mouths and on their tongues, which is called oral thrush. Oral thrush in babies is often painful and makes them fussy or creates trouble feeding them. Oral thrush is very common in infants under six months old.


What Are The Symptoms Of Thrush?

Thrush on the breasts – Thrush on the breasts might cause pain during and after every feed. It caused pain inside the nipples or behind the areolas and transmits all through the entire chest for almost an hour during and after every feed. Some other signs of thrush on breasts include pale-looking nipples and areolas, irritability inside the areolas, glossy skin nearby the areolas, and flakes on the nipples and areolas.

Oral thrush in babies – The symptoms of oral thrush in babies include white patches inside his cheeks or on his tongue or gums. These seem like leftover milk. When wiped off, they leave red sore areas that can bleed. The oral thrush causes pain in the baby’s mouth, making them fussy during and between feeds. Oral thrush in babies may make them go on and off the breast and make a clicking sound.

What Causes Thrush?

If the healthy bacteria within the mother’s body cannot keep the fungus in check, it causes Candida overgrowth. Thrush occurs due to Candida overgrowth and if the immune system is powerless. Infants are more likely to develop oral thrush since they don’t have an evolved immune system. This contamination is very infectious, it’s vital for both the mother and child to get treated immediately when infected. If the mother is infected with thrush, her breastmilk, and anything that touches her breasts can spread the bacteria, including hands, nursing bras or pads, clothing, and towels. If the infant has thrush, anything they put in their mouth may likewise spread thrush.

It’s crucial to sanitize pacifiers, teething rings, and bottle nipples to evade this. Oral thrush might be transmitted through an infant’s mouth to the mother’s breasts during feeds. It may also transmit while changing an infant’s diaper due to the presence of fungus in his stool. Taking certain medications, like antibiotics and certain cancer drugs destroy healthy bacteria, making thrush more likely to occur. Women with diabetes may additionally develop thrush than women without this condition.

Treatment for thrush

It may be hard to preclude Candida as it grows and spreads quickly. If a mother and baby are suspected to be infected by thrush, call their doctor so that they will get diagnosed and treated quickly and also follow the below recommendation.

  1. Use medications: Both the mother and her baby should be treated with medicine if either of them shows symptoms of thrush.
  2. Wash the hands regularly: Hand hygiene prevents the spread of many infections, including thrush. Always wash hands before and after touching breasts, after using the bathroom, and after changing the baby’s diaper.
  3. Wash the breasts regularly: After each feed, wash the areolas with water or a mixture of vinegar (one part) and water (four parts) and keep the breasts and areolas spotless and dry.
  4. Wash the baby’s items: To execute the yeast, clean all the things that touch the mother’s breast and child’s mouth. Utilize hot, foamy water to wash pacifiers, bottles, bottle nipples, teethers, toys, and the washable pieces of the breast pump.
  5. Change the breast pads often: Change the breast pads as soon as they get wet. Warm and damp breast is the ideal breeding ground for yeast.
  6. Keep the nursing bra clean and dry: Always wear a clean nursing bra and change if it gets wet. Wash the bra, nursing clothes, pajamas, and bedsheets in hot water or bleach to kill the yeast.
  7. Try probiotics: Probiotics are good bacteria. The mother can try a probiotic supplement such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, or she can eat yogurt.
  8. Limit sugar in diet: Yeast loves sugar. Avoiding sugary foods and drinks may help you get rid of infection more quickly.
  9. Protect the breasts: The nipple pain can be so bad that it hurts when the bra or clothes rub against it. Breast shells can protect the nipples and relieve that pain while she heals.

Supplements that help in treating thrush

Thrush is progressively common in mothers. Avoiding low nutrients food like junk food and eating foods that are rich in nutrients and minerals help treat thrush quickly. Altering the relative acidity (pH) of the mother’s nipple skin may reduce itching. Rinse the nipples with:

  1. 5 – 10 ml (1 – 2 tsp) of distilled white vinegar in 160 ml (1/4 pint) of water four times daily.
  2. 5 ml (1 tsp) of baking soda in 240 ml (1 cup) of water once or twice daily Herbal products and essential oils shouldn’t be applied to the nipples, because it isn’t clear how safe they’re for the baby.

To what extent does it take to recover from thrush?

Thrush causes pain and makes breastfeeding harder for both the mother and baby. It results in reducing the milk supply. However, a mother can breastfeed even during treatment. Proceeding to breastfeed can assist her with keeping up the milk supply. It can take as long as about fourteen days for thrush to downsize totally if the mother follows great cleanliness to abstain from having any recurrence.

To Conclude

Thrush is infectious which can be transmitted between a breastfeeding mother and a nursing baby. Skin or oral prescriptions can wipe out thrush. But, many mothers have found that alongside any medication, a healthy diet, hygiene, supplements, and alternative therapies can also make a big difference and help prevent thrush from returning. It is also crucial for women to know about the best breastfeeding positions. Getting informed about everything related to your infant can make your parenthood journey more enjoyable.


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