What Is Thrush?
Thrush is caused by yeast that grows in moist dark areas such as the parent’s nipples and milk ducts and the baby’s mouth and diaper area. Even after weeks or months of breastfeeding, symptoms of thrush may begin suddenly.
Parents may have:
- Red, itchy, tender or burning nipples.
- Nipple soreness that does not improve with a deep latch or changing your breastfeeding positions.
- Pain radiating from your nipples into your breasts.
Your baby may have:
- White patches inside their mouth, on the inside of their cheeks, around their gums or on their tongue. These patches can’t be easily rubbed off with a cloth.
- Diaper rash on their bottom that is red and patchy and does not get better when you use diaper creams.
- Gassiness or fussiness.
- Some discomfort in their mouth causing them not to latch or pull off the breast repeatedly.
If you and, or your baby have signs and symptoms of thrush, call your healthcare provider or local public health unit. It is important that both you and your baby are treated to prevent passing thrush back and forth.
What to do:
- Continue to breastfeed your baby.
- Wash your hands before breastfeeding and after every diaper change.
- Rinse your nipple area with warm water after each feeding, pat dry, then air dry.
- Change nursing pads as soon as they are wet to keep your nipples dry.
- Wash any clothing that has become wet with breast milk, e.g., your bras, tops, or reusable breast pads.
- Wash any toy or other item that goes into baby’s mouth. After washing, rinse each item with clear water.
- If you are using a breast pump, clean all parts that come in contact with your breast milk. Wash in hot, soapy water. Rinse well in hot water. Air dry by placing on a clean towel. It is sometimes recommended to boil breast pump parts and feeding equipment for 10 minutes after each use or at least once each day. Talk to your healthcare provider to see if this is best in your situation.
Adapted from BestStart.org by Health Nexus.
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