You’re cuddling your new baby, breathing in the scent of her little body, the touch of her skin…nothing could be better, motherhood is wonderful! Nursing is wonderful! And then you bring her close to nurse, she latches on, and OUCH! What is that sharp, itching pain?!
If you’ve never experienced the pain (literally and figuratively) of thrush and yeast issues associated with nursing, you should consider yourself very fortunate. If you have, or are dealing with this annoying problem, perhaps this article will help. Or maybe you just need a refresher.
The symptoms of yeast are a sharp stabbing pain in the nipples, exacerbated by nursing, and often includes itching. If it’s just in the nipples, you’ve caught it before it’s in your milk ducts! However, if you are experiencing stabbing sensations in your breasts as well, it will be harder to evict. You may notice white patches in your baby’s mouth, and a red rash in the diaper area (and perhaps a little bit of yeasty yellow stuff in the folds around the diaper), that doesn’t go away with regular diaper ointment.
So what can you do about it? I have had thrush with BOTH of my children, and have done a great deal of reading on the subject. I also wanted to naturally heal my body.
1. If you are using cloth diapers/wipes, make your own wipe solution, adding a few drops of tea tree oil to the solution. Also remember to add vinegar to your rinse cycle when washing, to help kill any yeast that is clinging to the diapers/wipes.
2. Sterilize everything your baby’s mouth (or bottom!) touches. This includes pacifiers, bottles, or that favorite blanket that so often is chewed on (just rinse with vinegar when washing). It’s a good idea to sterilize pacifiers and such every day.
3. Coconut oil gently rubbed onto the tongue and cheeks of baby can help fight the yeast. Make certain the coconut oil is unrefined. Coconut oil is known for it’s anti-yeast properties. A tea steeped in bay leaves also may help fight yeast…simply use a spritzer bottle, and spray in the mouth (spritzing it on baby’s bottom can help as well).
1. Take a good pro-biotic. When yeast takes over, it’s often a result of poor bacterial balance in your body. Increasing the good-”pro”- bacteria in your body, will help fight the bad bacteria. You can also open up a capsule of pro-biotics, and dip your finger into the powder, and place it on the tongue of baby. Yogurt is also a great source of pro-biotics. However, make certain to choose a natural or organic yogurt that is low on added sugar. Most mainstream yogurts are high in sugar, and it feeds the yeast.
2. Avoid sugars and excess dairy products. These both feed the yeast.
3. Rinse your nipples in a mixture of 1 T. vinegar to 1 c. warm water. Vinegar kills bacteria, and will help heal those nipples. Tea tree oil placed on the nipple after nursing has helped me a great deal.
4. Search for a supplement that is made from grapefruit seed extract. This will help heal your body from within.
5. Wash clothes, bras, and nursing pads (or use disposable) frequently, and add vinegar to the rinse cycle on the machine. Just washing won’t kill the yeast, so you must use something that will kill it. Also only use towels once, and rinse them in vinegar (or bleach them).
6. If you can, go bra-less, or even topless (in a suitable environment…your neighbors, brother-in-law, etc. probably shouldn’t see all that!). Yeast thrives in a dark, moist environment.
7. Drink tons of water. (Not sure how this helps yeast, but I think drinking lots of water helps just about everything, so I thought I’d add it in!)
Like I mentioned, I’ve dealt with yeast more then once with both of my children. It’s no fun! But if you buckle down now, and are very militant about taking care of it, it just may save your nursing relationship!
Article by Kylie Steiner
Kylie is a young farmer's wife and mother of two; learning to be the wife, mother and woman God created her to be. She cooks mainly with whole foods, constantly researching ways to better nourish her family. Creating is a passion for Kylie, and is a necessary part of her survival.
Kylie has written 3 awesome articles for Natural Family Today.