Although breastfeeding is natural, it can sometimes be painful — as with thrush. Learn to quickly recognize the signs of this yeast infection so you and your baby can seek treatment, find relief, and enjoy nursing without pain and discomfort.
Thrush is a yeast infection of the nipples and can be difficult to treat. It can be easily spread and thrives in warm, moist environments, such as your nipples and your baby’s mouth.
Symptoms of Thrush
If you or your baby has had a recent course of antibiotics, you may be at higher risk for developing thrush. The risk for infection can also increase if your nipples are cracked or damaged, or if you are taking oral contraceptives or steroids.
Symptoms may include:
- Itchy or burning nipples that appear pink or red, shiny, flaky and/or have a rash with tiny blisters
- Cracked nipples
- Shooting pains in the breast during or after feedings
- Intense nipple or breast pain that does not improve with better latch-on and positioning
- Deep breast pain
White spots on the tongue or the inside of the cheek may indicate your baby has thrush.
Never self-medicate for thrush with over-the-counter drugs. A doctor or lactation consultant should prescribe a treatment plan that is safe for you and your baby. Even with treatment, however, symptoms sometimes worsen before they subside, and nursing may continue to be uncomfortable or painful. Try offering your baby short, frequent feedings, and be sure to start with the least painful side.