We have already figured out you have thrush. Your nipples are pale pink, or have pale spots, maybe they are peeling, and it feels like daggers are erupting out of your boobs or one of these medieval bad boys are trying to work their ruthless horrors on you a few times a day. =>
It’s time to crush it so you can stop worrying about how badly your boobs hurt, and start focusing on better things in life, like your baby.
Where to Start? Sanitize! (and don’t stop breastfeeding)
If your baby has thrush, you need to cure yourself as well. If you only cure one of yourselves at a time, you will be severely frustrated when it keeps popping up. Your nipples and milk puts thrush in Baby’s mouth. Your baby’s mouth puts thrush in your nipples and milk. It becomes a vicious cycle.
Most Important: Don’t Stop Breastfeeding
Thrush usually hits in the first few months of a baby’s life, during the time when you are both still trying to figure out how to breastfeed and your boobs are trying to cope with the insane amount of liquid suddenly accumulating in and pouring out of them. Introducing formula comes with a whole-nother host of issues
Stop Storing Your Breast Milk
If you have thrush, you do not want to store the yeast in your milk, and give your baby thrush later on. Try to hold off on storing your milk until you are thrush-free.
Sanitize Breast Pump Supplies
As mentioned above, your breast milk has yeast in it (not a good enough reason to stop breastfeeding), so to kill the yeast and not let it keep contaminating things, you need to sanitize your pumping supplies after every use until you are thrush-free for 14 days.
Throwing the parts in the dishwasher is not enough, unless your machine has a specific “sanitize” option. There are many microwave sterilizers that make life easier.
Sanitize Your Clothes
Sanitize anything that comes in contact with your breasts and breast milk. Bleach your bras, bed sheets, t-shirts, garments, reusable nursing pads, burp rags, etc. Some experts believe vinegar, tea tree oil, high heat (drying your clothes on high), sunlight, etc. only damages the cell walls of yeast, but they will repair themselves. Like a horrible zombie apocalypse nightmare. Better safe than sorry to just add bleach.
What to Wear (and Not Wear) When You Have Thrush
Skip the bras
Seriously ladies. Don’t wear bras. At least until 14 days after the last sign of thrush. They restrict airflow, and you will leak into them (creating that perfect moist, warm, sugary environment yeast love so much).
Spend as much time as possible top-less, bra-less, or if you have religious clothing you would prefer wearing (I’m talking to you fellow Mormons), do what I did, and just roll it up above your breasts. Heavenly Father will understand. (But of course, it is between you and Him, so do what you feel is best).
On an unrelated note, there is contradicting evidence as to whether bras actually contribute to saggy boobs later in life because they keep the boobs from using their own muscles and skin to support themselves. But I digress. You can wear them afterwards, but save yourself the hassle of needing to bleach them everyday,nand just don’t wear them. If that is impossible for you, at least allow your boobs to breathe at night.
Cotton is very breathable and doesn’t trap moisture as much as blended fibers do. Wear t-shirts without bras, or if you must wear bras, find some good cotton ones. Remember to bleach them after every use.
Nipple Wash and Care
Wash your nipples with apple cider vinegar
White vinegar can feed yeast, so use apple cider vinegar (ACV).
Do this after each breastfeeding session. Especially if you plan on wearing bras afterwards.
To add more potency, add a couple drops of grapefruit seed extract (GSE) to the ACV and rub it on with a cotton ball (to reduce contamination or add yeast from your fingers onto your nipple).
It is safe for baby to suck on the residue, and it actually helps baby get a diluted amount of GSE to help with his own thrush, but if he seems to not want to nurse, try rinsing your nipples off with water before nursing.
(Warning: make sure to dilute the GSE. It is very concentrated, so test the ACV, GSE mixture on your finger before applying it to your nipples, which are even more sensitive.)
Apply Motherlove Diaper Rash and Thrush cream to nipples. Make sure to use a cotton ball or q-tip. This cream is also baby safe, but if baby appears to not like the flavor, just rinse it off with water before nursing.
A good routine to get into is to rinse your nipples with the ACV,GSE mixture, let them air dry, then apply Motherlove ointment and don’t touch any fabric (like wearing a shirt). Always use an applicator and do not double dip.
Bleach anything that touches your milk that will touch your nipples or baby’s butt in the future.
If it seems like there is build-up accumulating on your clothing from the ointment, use Dawn dishsoap (the blue, concentrated kind that has pictures of animals on it) in your next load to get the crud off.
What to Eat When You Have Thrush
Acquire a quality probiotic pill.
This will supply healthy, necessary bacterial flora to your gut, and to your baby’s gut *through your milk). If you have taken any antibiotics recently, this is probably a contributing factor to your thrush. Antibiotics wipe out the good and bad bacteria and let yeast run rampant. (Although, a yeast infection is infinitely better than a bacterial infection).
Find them in the refrigerated section of a pharmacy. Even Walmart has them. The room temperature ones out in the aisle are not as good. Refrigerated ones are fresher, which means there will be less dead cells in them. Take them at least 2-3 times a day. Preferably when your stomach is empty (so right before a meal, or right before you start cooking your next meal). You can not really overdose on probiotics, because all of the excess/unused bacteria will be pooped out.
Eat Activia (probiotic) yogurt.
It needs to say “probiotic” specifically on the label. Eat a little container of it morning and night with your probiotic pill. This encourages even more healthy bacterial growth. If you are lactose intolerant like me, just take a lactase pill with your yogurt.
Drink Grapefruit Seed Extract.
I would drink a glass full (8oz) of orange juice with 10-15 drops of GSE every morning and night. Take it with your yogurt and probiotic pill.
–> Now you know what I had for breakfast and post-dinner snack for like a month. Probiotic pill and Activia yogurt, with GSE mixed in orange juice.
What to Avoid Eating When You Have Thrush
Limit sugars and carbs
Yeast loves sugar, so you want to starve it out. Carbs turn into sugar in your body. Even though pretty difficult and unlikely, it is possible to take it too far. If you don’t get enough carbs, your body will start producing ketones, which yeast LOVES. Stick to whole, unprocessed carbs, like quinoa, carrots, and spaghetti squash.
Stay away from red meat and dairy
Probiotic yogurt is good, but all other forms of dairy should be put on hold until you have established healthy gut flora.
Eat a plethora of green, leafy vegetables and dietary fiber.
Have a Yeast Blitzkreig
Call your OB/GYN and consider a prescription
I think I was prescribed fluconazole, or difulcan. It was a small, pink pill I had to take for 16 days straight. I am not sure if it helped, but if all else fails, or if you really want to use everything you’ve got, take the pill while you do everything else. I know people who have taken the pill three or four times in one bout of thrush, and it never went away for long (yeast does become immune and adapts), so don’t just rely on the pill. What doesn’t kill one cell of thrush might kill another, so round house kick them all in the face at the same time.
You Dan Do It!
Sanitize, take probiotics, no bras, and eat clean! You will have pain-free boobs in no time!
Good luck busting thrush’s butt! Remember to pray for peace, and to take it one day at a time. Your baby loves you!
What has worked for you? Are you struggling with thrush right now? Do you have any questions or concerns? Leave me comment below!