Yeast infections are miserable in every sense of the word. This pesty fungal infection can cause irritation almost everywhere in your body, and unfortunately once you get it, it is very difficult to get rid of. These fungal spores set up shop wherever there are areas of moisture. Although most commonly found in the vaginal canal, now that your breastfeeding; the breast, nipple and areola are perfect breeding grounds for this unfortunate condition. More often then not, the infection is well under way before a diagnosis is even made. The longer it spreads the more the fungus can wreak havoc on both you and your baby.
Yeast, formally known as Candida, is the most common fungal infection in humans. Mammary candida is a yeast infection of the breast. Thrush, is a yeast infection that is located in the mouth. Generally both mom and baby are infected and are continuously spreading the fungus back and forth to each other. It is recommended that both mother and baby will need to be treated simultaneously in order to fully kill the infection. To properly diagnose this condition both mother and infant should be seen by their primary care physician. Diagnoses is made from signs, symptoms and clinical suspicion of the doctor. If mother is experiencing symptoms and baby has yet to, it is still recommended for both to be treated and vise versus.
Some predisposing factors to mammary candida are:
- Baby who has been diagnosed with thrush, or fungal diaper rash
- Previous history of vaginal yeast infections
- Recent antibiotic therapy
- Nipple damage
- Heavy consumption of dairy products, heavily sweetened foods and/or artificial sweeteners
- Recent use of corticosteroid therapy
Symptoms of yeast in the baby include:
- White patches on the gums, cheek or tongue. (white coating on the tongue does not automatically mean thrush. A pediatrician should be called to officially diagnose)
- Persistent frequent gas
- Red diaper rash, with raised “Pimple” like bumps that do not clear up with standard diaper rash ointment
- Frequently irritable infant, that is continuously coming on and off the breast during a feed
Symptoms of yeast in the mother include:
- Burning sensation on the nipple during or after a feeding
- Sharp, shooting pains in the breast itself during or after a feeding
- Bright pink or red nipples
- Shiny red areola
- Shiny small “paper cut looking’ abrasions at the base of the nipple
Steps for treatment of a yeast infection on the breast:
- Continue to Breastfeed your baby, no interruption is necessary
- Referral to Obstetrician, family practitioner, or pediatrician for official diagnosis
- Oral Diflucan should be prescribed to treat the systematic yeast within the ductile system. (200-400mg STAT, then decreased 100-200mg daily for 14-21 days)
- Topical anti-fungal ointment such as Myconazole or Gyne-Lotrimin or AF Fungal cream should be liberally placed on the nipple and areola after each feed. Be sure to wipe the ointment off the breast with a warm wet wash cloth before feeding the baby. Once the baby has been fed, re-apply the fungal cream. However, if you are using Nystatin Cream in place of the above listed ointments, it is not necessary to wipe the ointment off prior to feeding. The baby will most likely be treated with the same ointment, so therefore it is perfectly safe.
- If baby is being treated with oral Nystatin, be sure to shake the bottle first, thoroughly mixing before using
- Use a gauze pad or Q-tip with warm water to gently wipe the baby’s mouth after each feeding followed by the prescribed medication.
- Gently wipe nipple and areola with warm water after each feeding prior to re-applying the prescribed medicated ointment.
- Once treatment has begun, you should begin to feel relief in 24-48 hours. In some cases, the symptoms may take up to 3-5 days or longer before relief is felt. Be sure to take the medication for the full course, since the thrush may recur if you stop the medication simply because symptoms begin to disappear.
- Pain medication may be helpful, such as Ibuprofen (400mg-600mg depending on weight) every 4-6 hours as needed for breast pain. Ant-inflammatory medication should be taken with food. Consult your health care provider for proper dosing.
- Begin taking probiotics. 1-2 capsules within 1 hour after a meal of Mega Acidophilus. (1.5 billion live cells per capsule, milk free, hypoallergenic, no sugar, starch, artificial colors or flavors, no corn, wheat , soy or dairy)
- Baby may be more fussy, gassy, and demand more frequent shorter feedings. Look for babies cues throughout treatment
- While mother and baby are being treated for a yeast/candida infection, fresh expressed breast milk or refrigerated milk can be fed to the baby in the absence of the mother, with no problem. However milk that has been expressed and stored during the outbreak of yeast should NOT be given to the baby on a later date as the fungal spores could reinfect the baby. Only when treatment is ongoing can infected milk be provided without any problems.
- Please keep in mind that it is very important to continue treatment for 1-2 weeks after thrush/candida symptoms have subsided in order to fully kill all infection.
Steps for preventing yeast from returning:
- Consider limiting your sugar intake and restrict alcohol, cheese, wheat and flour products
- Begin eating plain, unsweetened yogurt (Yoplait doesn’t help. There is too much sugar added to flavored yogurts, that it often counter acts the acidophilus properties)
- Continue taking pre-natal vitamins daily. Check to make sure your diet is not deficient in zinc, copper, vitamin A or B
- Add garlic into your diet which may boost the immune system and keep the yeast in check
- Avoid constant moisture on your nipples and areola. If you constantly leak breast milk, consider wearing cotton pads rather then plastic lined breast pads. DO NOT WEAR PLASTIC SHELLS
- Sunlight and yeast are mortal enemies! Sunbathe your nipples for 10 minutes, twice a day. Expose all undergarments, and breastfeeding equipment with direct contact to the breasts to sunlight.
- Take 1 tablespoon of vinegar to 1 cup of tepid water, and apply to nipples and areola with a clean cotton ball after each feeding to prevent fungal growth.
- Avoid restrictive clothing or under wire bras.
- Boil all pump parts, pacifiers, bottle nipples, nipple shields, and toys with direct contact to the mouth daily for 20 minutes until yeast is gone
- Discard and replace pacifiers, bottle nipples each week if needed
- Good hand washing is VERY important for both you and your baby to prevent further spread of the infection
- Increase rest decrease stress….(I know this is sometimes easier said then done!)
- Wash all clothing, towels, and undergarments that come in contact with yeast in HOT water.
If symptoms persist contact your health care provider and Lactation Consultant for further evaluation. There may be an underlying condition causing yeast like symptoms. Best of luck! For further information please see the following link from Dr. Jack Newman’s Candida protocol
Copyright© 2011 Danielle Gauss/ JustBreastFeeding.com. All Rights Reserved
What is your recommendation on this:(you didn’t finish your statement)
•Fresh expressed breast milk can be fed to the baby in the absence of the mother, but milk expressed during a yeast/thrush outbreak
Here is what I recommend about expressed breast milk during an infection:
While mother and baby are being treated for a yeast/candida infection, fresh expressed breast milk or refrigerated milk can be fed to the baby in the absence of the mother, with no problem. However milk that has been expressed and stored during the outbreak of yeast should NOT be given to the baby on a later date as the fungal spores could reinfect the baby. Only when treatment is ongoing can infected milk be provided without any problems. Hope this helps!
Doctors should be giving this thorough information out! Thanks!
Hi there! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow you if that would be ok. I’m
definitely enjoying your blog and look forward to new updates.
Yes! I am @lactationtips on twitter
I just got diagnosed with a yeast infection in both my breasts. I have been in so much pain I cried all night last night. Id rather go through labor over and over again then this pain. I have been prescribed all the above treatments but what can I do for instant relief of the burning nipples while Im waiting for all the meds to start working? I feel like someones holding a lighter under my breasts
Hi there, Yeast infections on the breast are most definitely not fun!! For immediate relief, I would go get gel pads called soothies from Lansinoh. You can find them at Target or Walgreens, Walmart. etc….. This will give immediate cooling relief. Also you can try over the counter Lotriman AF or Monistat cream. Or call your doctor for a prescription for Nystatin cream with a steroid which should simmer down the “Fire” feeling. Please let me know if you have further questions. Best of luck.
Thanks for the info! I’d appreciate some advice on my situation. I’m discouraged from nipple pain and wondering if it’s candida. I had severe shooting pain and was diagnosed with candida on my R breast 2 1/2 weeks ago. I did the clotrimazole cream and oral nystatin for lo as prevention for him. He started vomiting several days into it and I stopped giving 2 ml by mouth and instead swabbed his mouth with it. I then had a break out of mastitis and had to take antibiotics. There were a couple days overlap of the meds. A couple days ago (a week after finishing the candida meds), i start feeling sharp pain at night in my right breast. Its always been uncomfortable nursing on my right but i thought that was just from previous nipple damage. a LC yesterday said my latch looked great so Ive ruled that out.
I saw small white patches on my lo’s tongue but haven’t confirmed if it’s milk or thrush. I’m worried that it’s reoccurred. What should I do? Stick with the home remedies or go to my FP? If I don’t have any outward sign will my Dr. believe me? Suggestions to end this pain??? Thank you for any advice!!
I’m so sorry to hear that you are having such pain. One thing that could be happening, especially with the shooting pains is a condition known as Raynauds Phenomenon. Do you notice that your hands and feet get cold easily? It could be that your nipple is having a lack of circulation or cramp to it which would mimic the symptoms of candida. One thing that would probably help the most would be to start taking Prim rose oil capsules (500mg)1-3 times a day and an Omega 3 each day. Prim Rose oil has been shown in many studies to reduce the effects of breast pain. If the pain continues, I would absolutely consult with your doctor and the pediatrician about starting a dose of Nystatin to see if that helps. Please let me know if you have further questions.
Thanks for your quick response! Checked LO’s tongue and I think it was just milk. Yes, I’ve always had cold hands which get cold easily. Could it be Raynaud’s if the pain is primarily or exclusively on one side? I couldnt find any info on that. My nipple goes white on the right too. LO often compresses that side when feeding. LC said to work on getting a deeper latch. Latch looks great on outside, but he’s clearly mashing the nipple or has in the past (thus previous nipple damage and why I thought pain was associated with that). R Nipple has also become painful in the last couple days to any touch/pressure. If it is Raynauds, is there anything I can do to make the pain go away?? Or is the primrose oil and omega 3 my best bet? Should i start taking probiotics just in case it’s candida (or for prevention)? Thanks again! I am SO grateful for your help!!
There are many levels of treatment for Raynauds, and like I said it mimic’s the symptoms of thrush, except for the vasospasm of the nipple which causes it to blanch white. Right after you feed, and baby comes off, make sure you have a dry warm heat pad waiting. Place that on the nipple right away. That will help bring back the circulation. The prim rose oil capsules along with the omega 3 capsules should make a significant difference. You may need to take 1 500mg capsule 3 x a day of the primrose oil (1500mg total) to see a difference. If it is a latch problem make sure you are leaning back, bringing the baby to you, ridge your breast so the whole areola gets in. Make sure LO’s cheek is touching your breast and ear, shoulder, and hip are in a line tummy to tummy. If you see your areola at all baby is not on deep enough. Check out my article on 7 simple steps to latch for further instructions.
IF the primrose oil is not working after a week or two, there is a medication that would work, however it is a cardiac medication and it is always recommended to be the very last resort. Hope this helps. If you live in Orange County, Ca I would be happy to meet with you and help you with your latch as needed. Good luck!
How long can one use Onystatin for inserting? Bought it over the counter.
It depends specifically on the brand and type of medication. I would call your physician as they may be able to guide you on a better treatment for the specific type of infection. If the medication you are using has not improved your condition within 48 hours, it is not the right medication.
I am getting scattered itchy rashes I thought may be dry skin using Vaseline two days confused whether it lbs dry skin fungus infection not clear please differ time the rashes.
It would be best to go see your doctor so they can determine specifically what the rash is. However, most the time breast milk does help treat rashes. Yeast usually looks red and shiny, almost a “Beefy” red and can have a white goop to it and foul odor. I would recommend visiting your health care provider so they can determine the best treatment for you. Best of luck.
It’s difficult to find educated people on this topic, however, you seem like you know what you’re talking about!
I didnt know what was going on with me and it was so painful and after stopping breast feeding i had found out that it was yeast infection. I am now dried up completely, but yet i am still experiencing itching and burning sensations all over the breast’s. I am currently on antibiotics which i will be off of next week. My question for you is, what should i do to get rid of the yeast infection after the antibiotics are out of my system?
I’m so sorry to hear about your infections….that is never fun! Of course the antibiotics are probably making the yeast infection worst. At this point you may need your doctor to call in some Diflucan which is a pill that will kill the yeast systematically. Ask for a 10 day treatment. Then they can give you some nystatin/cortisone cream to bring down the itching and inflammation. Is the itching only on one breast or is it elsewhere? Your doctor may need to rule out another form of allergic reaction too. I would schedule a follow up for sure. In the meantime, you can get some over the counter yeast cream like monistat or hydrocortizone cream to help with the itch, but always check with your physician first. I would also begin taking some probiotics every day. Cut back on your sugar and starch intake, as that is what feeds the yeast. Hope this helps. Let me know if you have any further questions.
Thanks for the advice i will diffidently check with my doctor about the situation. To answer your question it’s on, under, and around both breast.
If it is all over both breasts, it sounds more like an allergic reaction to something vs. a yeast infection. Without seeing it, I obviously can’t tell, but from the sound of it, it most definitely sounds like a rash of some sort, or contact dermatitis. I would call your doctor and set up an appointment. So sorry, rashes are never fun. Have you had any new lotions or detergents in your house? Hopefully you find a solution soon. Good luck.
This has helped me a lot. I was on the fence about discontinuing breastfeeding. This is my third child but the first time I had Candida. I believe it has spread to my face. My lip has broken out and my eyes hurt with small bumps in the corners. I was prescribed Nystatin cream but with no set amount of time to use it. I noticed my baby has white marks on her cheek and on her lip again so I passed it back. I requested the Diflucan for myself and she has an appointment so we will get some additional medication for her. The only thing is all the milk I expressed has to be thrown out, but I will use all I can before the treatment is completed.
Oh Tisa, I am so sorry to hear about your troubles with yeast, never fun. I’m glad you are getting Diflucan on board. You will need at least a 10 day treatment, so be sure your doctor talks to you about that. You would take 1 pill on Day 1, and a second pill on day 2. Also I would be taking a good probiotic that you can get at any whole foods store. I would buy the refrigerated ones. Also remember that UV rays are the mortal enemy to yeast…so get some sun. Be sure to avoid sugar and starches such as white breads as this will feed the yeast and continue the growth. Hang in there, and I’ll be keeping you in my prayers that this heals quickly.
I was recently given the go ahead by my lactation specialist to store milk even though I am being treated for thrush. Be stated that a great deal of research was done and it is not possible to grow the yeast from milk. How updated is your information?
Hi there. If you have both been treated for the yeast infection, for at least 3 days, and you have sterilized your pump pieces following the instructions in the article, then it would be safe to start pumping and storing. You want to allow the medication to have kicked in so that the majority of the fungus has been killed. Be sure to be taking oral probiotics too as this will help keep the yeast at bay. But yes, you should be able to start pumping and storing at this point.
My lo is 9 weeks and we started the thrush/yeast treatments when he was only 2 weeks. We seemed to be on our way to getting rid of it when I got mastitis and was put on antibiotic s that seem to have brought ot back so we went back to the pedi and she prescribed more nystatin I’ve been treating him with ot I’ve tried the full 2ml each time I’ve tried the swabbing the areas and having him swallow the rest and ove tired using it on my nipples as well, I finally was prescribed an ointment for my nipples with nystatin the same active ingredients as monistat and a steroid tonhelp with swelling and pain and have been using that after each feeding… and it still will not go away! Any ideas I’m so done with all of this its not fun and I feel like its never going to go away my hubs is starting to be worried that its because of breastfeeding and is hinting at bottle feeding if it doesn’t go away. I don’t want to have to bottle feed! I’ve been told to use genetian violet but idk how safe that os. Thank you!
I am so sorry to hear about all of your troubles with yeast. I would follow all the suggestions in my post, about making sure that you have fully cleaned all the equipment, pump pieces, your bras, etc… otherwise you will just keep giving it back to each other. The other thing that may be helpful is to have your doctor prescribe diflucan with a 10 day treatment. You would take one pill on day 1, and another pill on day 3. Also remember that UV rays are the mortal enemy of yeast, so make sure you dry your pump pieces, bras, and if possible your breasts in the sun. I would also consider taking a pro-biotic every day, and limiting your sugar and flour intake as that feeds yeast. If the condition does not get better, I would consult your doctor to make sure that it isn’t a different condition such as Raynauds’s phenomenon that mimics thrush. Let me know if you have any questions. Best of luck to you!
Thank you for your tips! I’m going to look into that Raynaud’s thing because I”m thinking that might be part of my problem. I have shooting pains at random times all day and it’s like razors coming through my breasts when my little girl (4 weeks old) starts drinking and can last the whole time but does get a bit better towards the end. I’ve been on fluconazole for almost 2 weeks now and not helping. She doesn’t have thrush so that’s good. I’m on a probiotic as well and using coconut oil on my nipples. We tried the canestan on my nipples for a few days but then stopped, as well had baby on meds too but stopped that as well as she didn’t need it.Just getting frustrated this isn’t getting easier. I will cut out sugar (hardest thing ever! Especially with all the halloween candy in my house!) but getting sun isn’t really an option in november in Canada. So will get myself some primrose oil, omega 3 and make my self super cranky but getting rid of sugar and see if that helps. Another appt with the LC on Wednesday, hoping for improvement before then.
Sounds like it most likely is not thrush/yeast as it hasn’t resolved with any of the remedies you have already tried. I would most definitely try prim rose oil 500 mg up to 3 x a day which may help you. Also try to cut back on caffeine as that will increase your shooting pains. You can try a dry warm heat on your nipples after feeding and see if that will help cut down on the initial nipple pain you may be feeling. Please let me know if you have any further questions. Best of luck!
Is it possible to have a yeast infection spread from the breast to the vaginal area? I’m currently being treated for thrush and now frequently feel like I need to use the bathroom. I’m just wondering if there could be a correlation and if so should the medication I’m on clear that up as well. I’m taking a probiotic, using Mobistar on my breasts and on an oral prescription for 7 days.
Yes. Not so much due to contact, but more so because you already have yeast in your system. However if you are having frequent urges to use the bathroom that sounds more along the lines of a urinary tract infection which would need an antibiotic. I would encourage you to make an appointment with your OB/GYN or doctor for further exam to rule out an infection. Best of luck.
Hello.I was treated with antibiotics during labor due to being GB post..About a week ago I have had a burning sensation on my right nipple when my 2 week old latches on. I believe when he latched on a few times he latched on wrong pinching my right nerve area around nipple. He seems to not be able to put his whole mouth around my nipple. Soon after feedings now, I have sharp shooting pains and feels like my right lung area and back are getting stabbed from the right breast. 2 days ago was the worst when he fed it burned the whole time and after the sharp shooting pains begun again towards the back area as well. Yesterday all day I pumped and did not let him nurse on my breasts. I went to the store and got yeast infection monistat,white vinegar, and RepHresh Pro-B..If my breast leak I immediately change my shirts. I washed the baby’s clothes and mine with vinegar. I boiled the pump parts bottles ect with vinegar. I treated my nipples with vinegar. I am still doing all theses things. I have done everything to help myself and baby. I called my baby’s dr who prescribed some oral medication for his mouth (nystatin). I had just taken him to see the Dr the day before on Thurs. He does not have any symptoms in his mouth and when I called the Dr. said he does not have thrush, but said he would prescribed the medicine for me anyway. My own Dr did not prescribe me any medication as I told her my symptoms just motrin and heat pads. I thought for sure she would give me diflucan. I figured the yeast went in to my ducts due to the radiating sharp pain in my back area. Today my nipples itch. I let him feed today finally from me and my pain is not as severe. Could it be that the treatment I have been treating myself with is helping or is it maybe something else? I have felt some sharp mild aching pains in my back a few times today. Nothing like the other night. I do not have a fever either. If I do have a yeast infection I am not sure if my baby will pass it on to me if he is not treated even if he has no symptoms.(BTW, this is my 4th baby and have breastfed all of them. I have always had aching, loss of appetite, shooting pains with all of them the first few weeks. I have always had an oversupply and finally this past week my supply has pretty much evened out.I think maybe because my fluid intake and loss of appetite made me not produce as much.) It is cringing to feed him as I kept pulling my nipple away because I was not ready for that burning hurtful pinching feeling! I have never had severe shooting pains that I feel in my back area and never had such a pain in my nipple area when I have breastfed in the past.
It sounds like what your doing is helping, but that you most definitely need diflucan. You need a systematic yeast medication. Try to see if you can get your doctor to prescribe a 10 day treatment of diflucan. It could also be that you have Raynauds phenomenon which is a circulation condition that often mimics symptoms of thrush. I would add in 500mg of prim rose oil capsules 2x a day as well. Also remember that UV rays are the mortal enemy of yeast. So a little sunbathing might help too. Best of luck!
“Symptoms of yeast in the baby include:
White patches on the gums, cheek or tongue. (white coating on the tongue does not automatically mean thrush. A pediatrician should be called to officially diagnose)”
A white coating is all my 7 week old baby has, but the midwife said it was Thrush. We’ve treated it with probiotics, Grapefruit seed extract and currently we are using Gentian Violet. I have no symptoms at all. Any ideas?
It most likely is not thrush then, especially if you do not have symptoms yourself. Milk tongue is very common. If your baby becomes gassy or has a diaper rash that wont go away, then you could re-evaluate if it is thrush. You can always try wiping it off…thrush is very fuzzy and wont wipe off the tongue. If you are still concerned then I would consult with your baby’s pediatrician as it may be necessary to start using Nystatin which is an antifungal drops that you would put on the baby’s tongue. Many strands of the yeast have become resistant to normal treatments. Hope this helps.
You have a very informative web page!
Here’s my case: my LO is almost 5 months old and for the past month I have been sore and bleeding some… Now in the last 2weeks, it has been very painful and unenjoyable to nurse. My LO seems to be a more aggressive sucker than my other two were, so hence i thought the earlier soreness and bleeding. Then I read about expeller-pressed coconut oil helping with soreness and cracked bleeding nipples so ordered some and have solely used it. It’s my understanding it has anti-properties… Fungal, ect… But my pain recently is a very sharp burning pinching sensation at latch on and for quite some time afterwards. I see no yeast on baby mouth… (Not sure what diaper area should look like if yeast) but my nipples are white when she breaks off instead of the red yeast infection mentions. She also is very hard to get unlatched and once the milk has let down mostly it starts getting more painful (not always this way but more often than not), so I try the proper way to unlatch and she sucks harder to keep it… It’s quite a Painful workout by the time we’re done. Mostly tho she is happy after feedings except for those teething times.. Which may be some of the reason for the soreness earlier. Now today, I read how you can use thieves oil in some olive oil and apply to nipples for yeast. I mixed some thieves in the coconut oil and am applying this after each feeding. Am I dealing with candida or the other inflammation you mention in some of your post? I might add that I am blessed with what my LC calls knobby nipples… It’s the knobby that hurts some of the time… But has never been burny before… Thanks so much for your sharing on my behalf!
So glad you find the website helpful! It is possible that you are dealing with a yeast infection on your breast, and you can have yeast without your baby having any symptoms. However it sound like you are describing Raynauds Phenominon which has similar symptoms. Raynauds is a circulatory condition that can cause shooting pains in the breast and a vasospasm of the nipple (a nipple cramp) causing the nipple to blanch or turn white after. If this is the case ( I would also assume your hands and feet get cold easily) then you would want to apply dry warm heat to your nipples right after feeding to help bring circulation back to your nipples as fast as you can. You can also add in prim rose oil capsules to your diet which will help with some of the discomfort. The usual dosage is 500mg capsule 3 x a day. However, the bleeding nipples would leave me to believe that it could possibly be a yeast/fungal infection. This I would recommend seeing your doctor or midwife to diagnose. There are many treatments you can use to help treat yeast. Once it has been determined what you are dealing with, then you can find the best course of action to take. A good sore nipple ointment is Newmans Nipple Cream that is available by prescription. It is fabulous stuff that I highly recommend!!
The lactation consultant I resently saw said she believes I have yeast on my breast. Can I treat it with just over the counter miconazole along with my baby being treated? I originally took diflucan. It helped but it didn’t completely go away. I’m also boiling everything once a day for 20 minutes. I just didn’t know if I should also call my doctor again to get more medicine.
Yes you can absolutely treat topical yeast with over the counter miconazole. I always recommend both mother and baby being treated. Diflucan is important to take as well, usually a 10 day treatment is recommended 1 capsule on day one, and then another capsule 3 days later. If your yeast is not clearing up it is possible that it is resistant strand that may require another type of medication such as Nystatin cream. I recommend using the cream 3 x a day for 10 days. If it doesn’t clear up then I would call your doctor. Best of luck and I hope you are feeling better soon.
I have a vaginal yeast infection which I am being treated for with a 7 day prescription vaginal cream. I’m nott currently breastfeeding but suspect that I may have nipple thrush. Can I put the prescription cream on my nipples as well? I am 17 weeks pregnant.
Yes absolutely you can. If that doesn’t work you can use Lotriman AF as well on your nipples and areola 3 x a day for 10 days. It may be best to consult with your OB/GYN to confirm if it is in fact thrush on your nipples prior to application, but it will definitely work in treating an infection.
Hi! I have a 71/2 month old that I’ve exclusively breastfed. For the most part breastfeeding has been smooth sailing since 6 weeks old. In early January, I developed a small area of redness on my left areola about the size of a thumb nail. It remained unchanged for I think a week or so. Then it got worse, and I also developed mild redness on my right areola. The location of redness was where my son’s lips are when he feeds. I saw my midwife group first and was treated for yeast/tinea with Antifungal cream. My son saw his pediatrician; no signs of yeast and was not started on treatment. After a week, it had gotten mildly worse. (I learned after the fact that I should have been applying the cream after every feed. The prescription said twice daily.) I then saw my son’s pediatrician. The MD thought it was areola contact dermatitis and gave me a script for steroid cream (which I washed off prior to nursing). That gave immediate improvement, but it didn’t clear up all the way. Now it is worse than before any treatment. It DOESNT affect the nipple. I have no pain, except for some tenderness on one area of the areola when nursing. It does mildly itch and sting. It just looks quite ugly, and I’m worried about how to get it better. Or whether it is yeast. Again, it has been going on for over 4 weeks, seeming to improve at times, but ultimately getting worse again. Have you dealt with any moms who had this issue? I spoke with a local lactation consultant a week ago, and she suggested trying the lotrimen cream again, this time after every feed. After four applications the redness/irritation was worse, so I stopped that. She also recommended chamomile tea rinses which I continue intermittently. My main treatment since Saturday has been applying vitamin e oil after feeds (and wiping off before feeds, so my little one doesn’t get too much vit e). I give my LO sips of water after he eats to rinse food out. For several days, every time I nursed I rinsed off my areola/nipples and gently dried with a new gauze or cotton ball. I also tried eliminating certain foods from my son’s diet. When it started, my son was getting his upper teeth in and we were increasing solids. I have ordered a breast pump to pump the left side (the right side still looks decent), wondering if his teeth are the irritant?? Thanks for wading through this bulk of info!
Wow you certainly have been through a lot in the last few weeks. It is possible that the inflammation was due to his teeth, and it is possible that it was just a difficult case of yeast. I would agree with a topical steroid cream and antifungal cream, but you may also need some diflucan which will help kill a yeast infection from the inside out. You could be having more of a dermatitis reaction, which simply putting your breast milk on the area would take care of the rash/inflammation. Without seeing the rash it would be hard for me to determine what the best course of action would be. You can certainly go see a dermatologist to rule out eczema or any other contact allergic dermatitis. I have seen persistant rashes and persistant yeast on mothers that would not go away with any treatment. I then sent the mother to her primary care physician for a full immune system work-up. It could be an auto-immune disorder that is causing the constant inflammation. Some simple blood tests can rule out anything out of the ordinary with your immune system. I would start there and see how it goes. Let me know if you have any further questions. Best of luck to you.
I been having some itching on both my breast specially after I’m done feeding my 6month old baby, I also have a burning sensation.. Frequently irritable infant, that is continuously coming on and off the breast during a feed, does this means I have a Yeast Infection on my breast ??
It definitely sounds like that is the case. However, I would visit your doctor or a lactation consultant who can diagnose it officially and get you and your baby started on a good treatment plan.
my 6 1/2 month old is being treated for trush with oral nystatin and also nystatin for diaper rash. I am breastfeeding my baby and I was told by doctor to use monistat 7 on my breast. I was wondering which one you believe works better for breastfeeding mothers monistat 7 or nystatin creme?
It depends on the severity of the thrush on your nipples. If you are just treating yourself as a preventative then I would just use the Nystatin. That way if any residual cream happens to get into the baby’s mouth it doesn’t matter. However if you have an active case of thrush on your breasts then I would use the monistat or even Lotriman AF. Just make sure to wipe it off of the breast before the baby latches. We have seen some strands resistant to Nystatin however, so just monitor it. Most important is that you clean everything that you have come into contact with vinegar water solution and put in the sun, if possible, to dry. The sun’s rays are the mortal enemy to yeast.
I have a 5 week old and had mastitis and nipple damage when she was a week and a half due to her being tongue tied. The mastitis cleared, but the nipple pain never did,even after her frenulum was clipped. I thought for sure it was pain from damage she was causing, we are now 2 weeks post her frenulum procedure and I am still experiencing very red, painful nipples. I have bend using All Purpose Nipple Ontiment since the mastitis (about 3.5 weeks). My LO is not showing signs of thrush or diaper rash. She has had more gas over the past 2-3 days which is waking her up, is it possible for her only sign to be gas? I was prescribed Diflucan yesterday and began it last night, but nothing for the baby because my doctor and I were not positive it is a yeast infection. All I know is I cannot keep this up if the pain doesn’t get better. It sounds like if it is a yeast infection and I don’t get the baby on something it will not go away or it will come back very quickly. Is it possible gas is the symptom my LO would have? Thanks for your help!
It is possible, however gas can be caused by so many other things as well. My guess would be that she isn’t getting on the breast deep enough and therefore is getting more air in while she eats. When she is latched deep enough, you should not be able to see your areola. Try leaning back, sandwiching your breast in the shape of her mouth, and bringing her to you. Pull her chin down, and make sure her cheek is touching your breast, ear, shoulder, hip, are in a line, and that she is tummy to tummy. You may want to also consider temporarily using a 24mm medela brand nipple shield to help her learn to extend the tongue a bit better as well as allow your nipples to heal up. It could also be that your nipple pain is a vasospasm or “Nipple Cramp” due to lack of circulation. Does the pain happen after a feed? Does your nipple turn white, then red or purple? Do you often get cold hands and feet? If so you may be needing to take prim rose oil capsules, omega 3, and maybe even a magnesium supplement. I recommend Trader Joes calcium/magnesium food based. Try applying dry heat directly to your nipples after feeding to see if it helps the pain. See my articles on suck training and nipple shield guidlines.
Is there anything I can do to lessen pain while nursing until treatment works?? Would nipple shields help? Talked to OB and lactation and I’m an RN so they are treating me without seeing… But the pain when he feeds is so terrible I didn’t know if I could try something until I have some relief.
If you are not having relief within a couple of days it may not be a yeast infection. It could be a vasospasm of the nipple, or nipple cramp. Does it turn colors? (blanching, then purple, then pink?) If so that could be raynauds phenomenon which you would treat with dry heat directly after feeding, prim rose oil capsules, Omega 3 capsules, and often magnesium supplements. If you are seeing redness and itching on your nipple and shooting pains, then it could of course be thrush and topical and oral treatments should work. A nipple shield may provide temporary relief. Make sure you are using a 24mm Medela Nipple shield. Read my post on nipple shield guidelines to give you an idea of how to use the nipple shield correctly. Let me know if you have any further questions. Hang in there it gets better.
Thank you so much for the info you gave
My problem started two months ago. I got like little yellow/ white spots on left nipple and I experience sharp shooting pain a long with a burning itching sensation after feeding my baby. First doc i saw said its milk blockage although i feel she was mistaken now after i read ur thread.she gave me two different antibiotics one after the other the latest was amoxicillin. But symptoms continued. Another doc took a blood test and said I had no infection and she couldn’t explain the pain. A third doc gave me a cream to apply on nipple. I didn’t feel relief after 5 days of using so I stopped using it.
Now I still have the pain and I just use pain killers . My baby has never been checked. I still got the little spots and one of them gets very pink and my has liitle blood after feeding. Please help.
It is possible that this is more of a milk bleb or clogged nipple pore. You can try soaking your breast in a bowl of water with epsom salt. Then take some olive oil rub on the tip of your nipple for 10 min prior to feeding, then a warm moist compress this should help unclog it. If you are still having trouble, then you may need to take some lecithin capsules. For further instructions on how to treat a clogged duct you can read my article : . Please let me know if you have any further questions.
Hi…I hav a one month old son.earlier both my breasts used to be sore.nd jus when it ws getting better,
My left breast startd becoming sore again.
For th past one week I hav burning pain in my left breast.
My right breast hurts when he latches on bt gets better eventually.
Is it possible to hav an infection in one breast, my son seems to be fine thoug
He has a white patch in his tongue bt I’m nt sure if it’s coz of milk.pls help coz th sudden burning pain is unbearable.
It is absolutely possible to have an infection in just one breast. I would maybe see your doctor or a local lactation comsultant to determine if it is in fact yeast. If so then you can begin treatment ASAP. Hang in there.
My newborn inflicted severe damage to my nipples in the first week of her life, resulting in cracks, fissures, and both nipples completely scabbing over repeatedly for weeks. We pretty much stopped breastfeeding after 10 days and I exclusively pumped and bottle fed. At about 6 weeks, we found a lip tie, so we got that clipped (which explained the initial damage). I was diagnosed at that time with thrush by a LC, who recommended all the things you mention here… my baby girl is now 12 weeks, and I’m still experiencing deep shooting pains. I’ve been taking 200mg of Diflucan for 4+ weeks now, along with 250mg of GSM tabs 3 per day, and probiotic pills. Also using triple nipple cream (no topical symptons like burning anymore, though). I’ve cut down on sugar (even did the anti-candida diet for 5 days), but it is still persisting. Baby girl has never had any symptoms. I stopped pumping a few days ago (low supply issues), and boiled all bottles for 20 minutes day to make sure she doesn’t come into contact with residual yeast… but what else can I do? Will my milk drying up help? It’s been months and I am so frustrated!
I am so sorry for the difficulty you have had, and I do apologize for the delay in getting back to you. I know you had mentioned that you stopped pumping, did you stop breastfeeding as well? If the baby has had no symptoms and you are still experiencing symptoms it may not be thrush it could be Raynauds phenomenon which mimics the symptoms of thrush, but is in fact a circulatory problem. Do your hands and feet get cold easily? Does your nipple have pain directly after pumping or breastfeeding? Does it turn white right after feeding then a purple or dark red color? If you answered yes to any of those, the pain you may be feeling is a nipple cramp otherwise known as a vasospasm. For that you can take prim rose oil capsules 500mg 3 x a day, as well as a magnesium supplement as most vasospasm is due to a magnesium deficiency. Straight magnesium will give you diarreah so I recommend a food based supplement. Trader Joes has a great food based calcium/magnesium supplement plus vitamin D. This may help with the pain. If your OB/GYN or primary care doctor has diagnosed and confirmed that you still have thrush, then they need to maybe check and see if you have any auto-immune conditions that have not been diagnosed. THis could explain why you have not been able to kick the infection. I hope this helps. Best of luck to you.
Maybe this issue has been brought up already, most likely, but I have not read all the posts.
My doctor prescribed me Fluconazole 100mg to take once a day for 13 days. I extended that for another 13 days. With that I had also to put Hydrocortisone 2,5%. Now in the middle of my nipples there is some white stuff, and around it is all light pink. My nipples keep being sensitive. I am still using once a day the Fluconazole 100mg, but stopped the cream. Are the ointments that are listed above better to use ( Myconazole, AF fungal cream)? Why has it not gone away? My doctor has not much to say about it….?? Maybe you can help me. I have been taking this medicine for a month almost now, should I increase the dose? Thank you very much for your help.
I would not increase the dose. It is possible that what you are seeing in the middle of your nipple is a milk bleb, or clogged nipple pore. Place some olive oil on the tip of the nipple where the bleb is and then moist heat for 10 min prior to feeding and that should unclog the bleb you are noticing. As for the recurring thrush, you need to make sure you baby is being treated also, even if he isn’t showing any signs. Also make sure that anything that has come into contact with your breasts (pump pieces, bras, nipple shield, etc..) needs to be sterilized. If the baby has thrush you will be giving it back and forth to each other. You may need to at this point try some Grape Seed extract which will help treat the thrush more naturally. If it continued, it may not be thrush but a different infection. I would start with getting the baby treated and go from there. Also remember that UV rays are the mortal enemy of yeast, so if you allow the sun to beat down on it, that will help kill the yeast too. If you are still not getting any better, it could be a sign of an underlying auto-immune disorder on your end that they should do some blood work to rule out all immune suppressing illness. Best of luck to you.
Thank you so much for your response. I actually do not breastfeed, I only pump, and give him my pumped milk in a bottle therefore his mouth never touches my nipple.
I will do as you say, and see what happens. Thank you again!
In that case I would most definitely clean your pump parts in a vinegar water solution to decrease and neutralize the fungus. However, if it has lasted this long, then I would highly recommend seeing your doctor to rule out any auto-immune conditions that could have been aggrivated by your pregnancy/postpartum period. Best of luck to you!
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Hello! Thank you so much for your article! I have been scouring websites all night trying to find information to compare to my current situation. I am breast feeding my first baby; she is 6 weeks old. I had an emergency c section, followed by a bladder infection and breast pain that my doctor treated with an antibiotic because she felt it may have been mastitis (I don’t think it was, but she had me continue the protocol because of extreme engorgement and plugged ducts). It has been about two weeks since I stopped all antibiotics and I have been struggling for some time with the following symptoms: burning/itching in the nipples, stabbing pain in my breasts that radiates up from the nipple area. My baby is gassy and unlatches often but has NO diaper rash or mouth thrush symptoms. Her pediatrician argued with me and said that she does not need treated for yeast if she does not exhibit any symptoms. My own OBGYN prescribed me the All Purpose Nipple Cream and originally suggested using the Violet treatment, but then said not to if baby has no symptoms. From EVERYTHING I’ve read, it seems that if I only treat myself, then it will just reoccur. But the pediatrician is unwilling to prescribe treatment for the baby. Can you even treat yeast without treating us both?? I don’t think it makes much sense and I’m wondering if I should just use the Violet protocol anyway, despite the pediatrician. I do have high grade probiotics for myself and am purchasing the Natren infant probiotics for my baby, as well. What do you think? THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!!
You have been through quite the journey!! You can absolutely treat yourself first, and keep giving the baby probiotics. Gas is a symptom of yeast, but I do understand the pediatrician not wanting to treat the baby with yeast medications unless absolutely necessary simply because there are so many stands of yeast that are resistant to medications, and we don’t want the baby’s body getting immune to a treatment if that makes sense at all. That being said however, you can do a natural approach with the gentilian violet. It is messy just to prepare you, but it works. Bottom line is, you are the parent, and you have to trust your instinct. Do what you feel is going to be the best thing for your baby. Start with treating yourself, and go from there. If you still feel like your baby is exhibiting signs, be an advocate for your baby. Trust your gut! You know your baby better then anyone else in this world. Hang in there it gets better.
Hi, I have 9 month old that was diagnosed with thrush about 2 weeks ago. They gave him some Nystatin I have just started to experience the sore reddish cut nipples. I dont have an itch. My doctor didn’t prescribe me nothing for the infection. I was told every time after a feeding just air dry. But I think its getting worse on my right nipple were I have a tear I can see some ooze (very lightly). I have stop breastfeeding for a couple days I’m afraid that he might get a worse infection or something. What should I do?? Please help! Thanks!
Hi there. I am so sorry that you are still having trouble. It definitely sounds like you have an infection. If there is a discharge or ooze from your breast you need to go to your doctor to have them culture it. However, you can treat yourself to some degree. You can put some of the baby’s medication (nystatin) on your nipples to help treat the infection. Also you can go to the store and get monistat or Lotriman AF which you would use for any fungal infection, place it on your nipples and areola 3 times a day. Be sure to wipe it off before feeding. Also you want to make sure you are taking probiotics as well. You can always go to an urgent care if you had to or speak to a different doctor to get a diflucan perscription. I do recommend that both mom and baby are treated when yeast is involved. I do hope that although you have stopped having the baby at the breast, that you have at least been pumping to maintain your supply. Hang in there and let me know if you have any further questions.
Hi there. My baby girl is a little over 4 months old. I have had a “yeast infection” probably since she was born but as diagnosed right after my 6 week checkup. I have a quarter sized area of my nipple/areola that is bright pink and I have pain at random times throughout the day. I have been on diflucan for about 2 and a half months now on and off because my lactation consultant believes it is a yeast infection that got into my ducts. The diflucan did help a lot at first but I feel as though the healing process has plateaued. I still have a little pain but it’s tolerable but I’ve never had any itching or patches on my nipples. My baby had thrush at 2 weeks old but cleared with one round of nystatin and hasn’t had it since. I’ve done two rounds of gentian violet treatment. Im currently taking diflucan (100mg twice a day), grapefruit seed extract, all purpose nipple ointment, vinegar/water solution after each feed. Direct sunlight isn’t really an option for me the way my yard is set up :-[ I don’t know what else to do but I’m not completely convinced that this is still a yeast infection. I have noticed though that after I get out of the shower and blew dry my nipples (to rid of any extra moisture) the bright pink color mostlygoes away and everything looks pretty normal but after my baby nurses the bright pink returns and is there the rest of the day? Please help! Sorry for the long explanation.
HI there. I am so sorry to hear that you are having so much trouble. I agree with you, I’m not convinced that is yeast either. Especially after all the action steps you have taken to get rid of the yeast. It sounds to me, without actually seeing your breast and being able to examine you, that it could be due to 3 things. 1. You have a bacterial infection of some kind. Best way to diagnose that would be to have both your milk cultured (literally express milk into a UA cup to be sent to the lap for a culture) and have the effected area swabbed and cultured. 2. There could be something auto-immune going on causing your body to have a difficult time fighting off the infections. You would need to go to your doctor and have them run a full blood panel on you. 3. You could be having a circulation problem to your nipple known as Raynauds. Do your hands and feet get cold easily? Do you have headaches often? If so I would recommend starting some prim rose oil capsules or Omega 3 supplements, direct heat onto the nipple after a feed, and a calcium+Magnesium supplement from Trader Joes. I would keep up with the All Purpose Nipple ointment as needed until you get an answer. Hang in there girl.
Thanks so much for your site!! Just a few questions, since my doctor wasn’t sure… A few days ago I noticed a few red tiny bumps on my chest and underneath my breasts and between them. It was pretty itchy down below, and the rash on my chest was also itchy. I immediately assumed I had a yeast infection down below, but assumed the rash on my chest was a psoriasis outbreak. I haven’t had a psoriasis outbreak for 3 years now! I called the doctor and went in today. She said she believed that the rash on my breasts, which is still just tiny little itchy red bumps were a yeast infection. So she has prescribed me a systemic anti fungal medicine and a topical medication. (I haven’t received it yet don’t know the names.) I do admit I have been extra hot and sweaty in our new apartment without A/C ew! I Had no idea I could have yeast on my breasts! It’s not on my nipples, I have zero pain whatsoever. My baby was born prematurely and had colic. She’s now teething, and comes off the breast a little every now and then. She’s always been very gassy her whole life. She also has the tinest diaper rash that popped up as soon as her tooth just barely broken the gym lines and the drool stage fully set in. I’ve looked in her mouth, and I don’t see anything white or patchy at all. She also is eating solid food now (we skipped purées) so her gassiness varied nightly. I guess my question is: do I have the type of yeast infection that’s in my milk and can infect her? Does she need to be treated right away too? I have no pain, she doesn’t have any typical thrush symptoms in my opinion, but I’m not an expert. Any advice would be great! Thanks!
You do not need to treat her if she isn’t showing any signs. The best thing you could do is giver her a probiotic to prevent, and also take a probiotic yourself. I would just keep an eye on it and if you notice any white patches in her mouth, lips, tongue, cheeks, let your pediatrician know. Hope you are feeling better soon.
My nursling is my 7th, he is 20 mo. I have had mastitis several times with the last four babies. This is the first one I have had the yeast infections in my breast though. I was treated with Diflucan a couple of months ago (4 doses every other day) and was using gentian violet on my nipples as a way to treat my son. He was showing no symptoms of thrush or yeast in diaper area. It cleared up until a couple of days ago. The first time (maybe a year ago-cleared up with gentian violet on me and breast milk on my son’s bottom-breast milk is an awesome cure for diaper rash!) it was in both breasts, last time primarily my right, this time the left. Do you suppose this is the same infection that just had not gone away? What do you recommend?
Any chance it will go away on its own?
Yeast is very difficult to treat and unlikely to go away on its own. You could try Grape Seed Extract as that is almost more effective then the GV. Also follow the steps of vinegar wash with sun drying. Also take probiotics to help. You may need to use a topical ointment like monistat or lotriman. But I would also recommend going to your doctor to have them culture the milk to make sure it is in fact yeast that you are fighting. It is possible that it is something else entirely.
Hi, I received antibiotics during delivery due to being GBS+. 2weeks after the delivery, i took another sets of antibiotics because of mastitis (this was 7 weeks ago). I started to have burning pain on my right breast 4 weeks ago and when I touched my breast it was hurting. Left breast was sign. I saw my OBGYN and she said this is thrush and gave me diflucan for 10 days. We also gave nystatin to my baby boy for 10days even though he did not have any signs. After diflucan, I did not have any relief. Then, my dr told me to apply miconazole. I am not seeing any improvement with miconazole either. I also changed my diet for the last two weeks, not having any sugar including fruit, no dairy products other than yoghurt and kefir, and nothing with yeast, no rice, no potatoes. I do not have pain while feeding. The pain comes after feeding and I noticed that sometimes my nipples turn into white. Now, my nipples are red and sometimes, they become white when i touch them too. Do you think I have yeast infection or circulation problem? My 9weeks old baby still doesn’t have any signs of thrush. I would appreciate your input. Thanks a lot!