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Natural Family Feature August 2003


Natural Remedies for Thrush
By Anna-Marie Hawthorne

Does nursing hurt so badly that it makes a root canal look good?

Are your nipples so bright that they can double as night-lights?

Do you find yourself guessing shapes among the white patchy clouds in your baby's mouth?

Whether you are a new breastfeeding mom or a seasoned veteran, thrush can invade your nursing times, making them dreaded, excruciating and disappointing feedings. Knowing your condition is half the battle. Thankfully, treatment is as close as your health food store.

Candida is a yeast organism that is found on the skin as "normal flora" -- part of the mix of organisms always found on our skin. When it is in balance, we don't notice its presence, but when it grows out of control, it can cause redness and pain, worry and frustration.

Thrush (also called candidiasis) is an overgrowth of Candida fungi on the skin or mucous membranes. It is most commonly found in women and infants who are taking antibiotics or breastfeeding. The normal bacteria are killed off and the yeast mutates from a round shape into an elongated one with "fingers" that reach down and anchor it.

In healthy children, treatment is not necessary; the condition will clear up on its own in a month or so. However, you may want to try some natural treatments to clear it up sooner, especially if it is causing you or your baby discomfort. There are natural ways to treat or even prevent thrush and enjoy breastfeeding moments with your baby again.


  • Eat yogurt every day. The acidophilus in yogurt is a healthy bacterium that helps restore natural balance in your digestive system and can keep yeast in check. You can also give your infant one teaspoon of liquid acidophilus twice daily.
  • Keep your nipples clean and dry. Prevent dry, cracked skin, which can harbor yeast and bacteria and lead to thrush or even mastitis.
  • Keep yourself yeast-free during pregnancy. Your newborn can become infected while passing through the birth canal.

  • Keep yourself and your baby healthy. Avoid antibiotics, which can kill off healthy bacteria, too, causing Candida to grow unchecked.
  • Ensure proper positioning while nursing to avoid trauma to the nipple.


  • If you are suffering from thrush, here are ten ways to clear it up right now.
  • Yeast hates sun; sunbathe a couple of times every day.
  • Take LOTS of acidophilus (both mother and baby). It is very safe. Check with your health food store's experts on recommended doses.
  • Use Lansinoh or other breast ointment to heal cracks, thereby decreasing your risk of infection.
  • Give baby liquid acidophilus twice daily.
  • Rinse your nipples after each feeding with a mixture of one cup of water and one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. Warm soaks with paper towels can soothe irritated nipples. Dispose of paper towels after each use.
  • Boil nipple shields, pacifiers and chew toys separately for 20 minutes after each use.
  • Do not save expressed milk during this time. You can re-infect by using tainted milk.
  • Wash bath towels in bleach after each use and never share your towel. Do not rub your nipples with towels.
  • Treat mother and child together. If you can clear up everyone at the same time, your chances of recurrence are significantly lower.

Thrush can be eliminated quickly and safely, especially if caught early. Knowing the danger signs can start you on the road to recovery right away. If you are pregnant, you can take precautions to avoid this malady altogether. Speak with your healthcare provider if you are experiencing pain with breastfeeding and consult your lactation specialist. Have her observe an entire feeding to ensure proper positioning. Clearing thrush in Mommy and Baby together will erase the pain so that breastfeeding can become the tender, fulfilling moment it is meant to be.

Anna-Marie Hawthorne is a registered nurse and freelance writer. She lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma with her husband and two daughters. It is her passion to help people with the spoken and written word. You can visit her website at www.qualitycopywriting.com.


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