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Breastfeeding with thrush

A nasty, stabbing pain in nipples or breast in the mother. Or the baby who, after he was always satisfied and calm at the breast, suddenly becomes tearful and restless. These can be instructions for thrush. In this article, you can read more about this annoying and stubborn phenomenon.

What is thrush?
Thrush is a fungal infection caused by the candida albicans. This is a fungus that coexists with all kinds of other innocent organisms in the body. Among other things, after the use of antibiotics (for example with breast infection), this fungus has the chance to spread unhindered in the body. This can cause chest and nipple pain, but also a vaginal yeast infection. The candida can spread from one place in the body to another; from person to person (even from someone who has no symptoms, to someone who does suffer from it); and from people to things (and vice versa).

When are you extra susceptible to sprue?

  • In case of stress
  • In case of skin damage (nipple gaps!)
  • When the skin cannot breathe, such as when using a pacifier and under the diaper with the baby, and with a bra or nursing pads that do not ventilate sufficiently (such as nursing pads with a plastic layer)
  • Babies are susceptible because their immune system is not yet ripe
  • Use of antibiotics reduces the presence of the bacteria that normally inhibit the growth of candida and can, therefore, lead to the growth of the candida
  • The use of contraception (with estrogen) increases the growth of candida
  • Sometimes a disease (such as diabetes) is the cause
  • The use of a lot of sugar in the diet can support the growth of the candida
  • With reduced resistance due to illness or pregnancy, for example

Candida and the nipple
A nipple is pre-eminently a place where the candida feels comfortable: wet, warm and lots of sweet milk. In case of infection, there is a good chance that your nipple will be damaged during feeding, while the moist baby dog itself is also a risk factor. The skin can open due to incorrect application or wrong technique of the baby, which gives the fungus access.

Other possible causes of nipple pain
If over time the nipples become painful, it is important to look at the way the baby is lying on the chest: the head, the shoulders and the hips should be aligned. And the baby lies with his belly against the belly of the mother.
It is also important to pay attention to the way the baby is taken off the chest: first, the vacuum must be broken.
Third, a diet can cause pain. The breasts then become overcrowded, so the baby is less likely to keep the chest in the mouth.
Furthermore, an older baby who gets teething (the saliva then becomes a bit acidic), or starts with solid food, can cause an allergic reaction to the mother. Eczema is also a possible cause.
However, if all this does not apply and the mother suffers from a burning, stabbing pain in the breast or nipple during the entire diet or itchy or flaky nipples (sometimes the nipples are also shiny pink-red), then it is advisable for the general practitioner to ask Candida and treat themselves and the baby.

Symptoms in the baby
It is possible that the mother is not (yet) affected by the baby, but that the baby has white spots in the mouth that are not easily wiped away. If you see this, it is clear that you are dealing with thrush. But very often the symptoms are not so unambiguous.
For example, it can be noticed that his saliva is somewhat shiny, especially on the inside of the lips. Sometimes the baby is restless on the chest, pulls the nipple, makes cackling drinking sounds or leaves a lot of wind.
If your baby suffers from a stubborn diaper rash, this can also indicate a fungal infection. Here too, a visit to the GP and simultaneous treatment of baby and mother is in order.

Treatment of candida
Often a combination of the measures below and treatment with medication is the way to control the fungus.

  • Light and air – also in clothing – are an important way to slow down mold growth.
  • Proper hygiene: washing hands before and after feeding, after shedding, after using the toilet. And with hot water and soap and preferably every time use a clean towel.
  • Diet: sugars can be better avoided; to increase resistance, it is advisable to eat vitamin-rich; fresh yogurt contains lactobacillus bacteria that prevent the growth of candida; a reduction in the consumption of yeast-containing products such as bread, fruit (grapes and melon), wine, cheese, and vinegar is recommended. By eating a lot of dairy products, the lactose content rises so that the fungi can grow faster.
  • Keeping clean: it is also important to keep toys, pacifier, , and flask (and everything the baby puts in his mouth) clean.
  • Heating when freezing: freezing frothed milk contaminated with spruce does not kill the fungus! (Re) Contamination can take place by using contaminated expressed milk. The contaminated (frozen) milk can be safely used by heating the milk to just below the boiling point. This heating kills the mold.

When the above measures are combined with medication, the treatment is likely to produce a better result.

When candida does not pass or keeps coming back, it is very likely that other family members are also infected with the fungus. It is then important to involve them in the treatment and to subject them to the same hygiene discipline.