Breastfeeding

8 symptoms of thrush all breastfeeding mums need to know about

Cracked nipples, engorged breasts, mastitis – the list of painful conditions that go with breastfeeding never seems to end. And, if you’re extra unlucky, you may also experience thrush during your breastfeeding journey

What is thrush? And how do you know if you or your baby has it?

The healthy mummy breastfeeding category slider - breastfeeding baby facing forward

Breastfeeding provides the perfect environment to feed and comfort your new bub. It also provides the perfect environment for thrush to grow. Yikes!

Thrush, also known as candida albicans, is a fungal infection that can develop during breastfeeding. It can impact both mum and bub and, although not dangerous, it is something worth knowing about.

Signs you may have thrush

Cracked nipples – There are a number of reasons why you could be experiencing cracked nipples, especially in the first few weeks. Thrush could be the problem, but poor latch is also a common reason for cracked nipples.

Pink, red or shiny nipples – Are your nipples sprouting the perfect shade of rouge? The glossy nipple look could also indicate an infection.

Itchy nipples – Your nipples may also be increasingly sore and itchy and very sensitive to touch.

Burning breasts – Feel like your breasts and nipples are on fire? This burning sensation is another indication that you may have thrush.

Mother feeding her baby

Signs your infant may have thrush

White patches in the mouth – The main way to check if bub has thrush is by looking in his mouth. Thrush looks like milk curds or cottage cheese and will usually appear on his tongue, gums or on the inside of the mouth.

Pain in his mouth – While not always the case, in some instances the white patches can also cause rawness of the mouth. You may find that if you wipe away the white curds, the base is red and possibly bleeding.

Unsettled feeding time – With pain comes discontent. You may find that bub is having a hard time feeding and is unsettled due to the soreness.

Nappy rash – While there are a number of reasons why your baby may be experiencing nappy rash, thrush can indicate that the infection has spread through the digestive system.

breastfeeding thrush

I think I have thrush. Now what?

The fungus or yeast that causes thrush lives in our bodies naturally and is called Candida albicans. But when the fungus gets a chance to grow, it can get out of hand quite quickly and lead to a thrush infection. As thrush is a yeast or fungal infection, you will need an antifungal cream prescribed by a doctor to treat it.

You can continue to breastfeed while being treated for thrush but many mums prefer to express as it can be painful to feed with thrush. If you are expressing, you can feed bub the freshly expressed milk but don’t freeze it as the milk may contain thrush bacteria.

There are a few precautionary methods you can take to help reduce your risk of transmitting thrush between you and bub including sterilising pumps, bottles, teats and dummies.

Probiotics to help beat thrush

Adding a probiotic to your diet is also a great way to help the friendly bacteria that suppress the candida to grow again in your digestive tract.

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With a slight cranberry flavour, it tastes DELICIOUS and it is breastfeeding-friendly!  You will LOVE our super greens! You can add it to your smoothies or mix it into a glass of water each day to drink

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jenna
written by:

Jenna Galley

Born and raised in Canada, Jenna traded in the cold mountain air for the laid back lifestyle of Australia nine years ago. She is now a mum to one son, one daughter, one dog and one cat, all of whom live with her and her partner in Cairns, QLD. When not writing about the ups and downs of parenting, she is usually outside doing some form of physical activity or indulging in a glass of antioxidant-infused fruit drink. Okay, it's wine.