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Natural Family Feature August 2003
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.
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
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
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
- 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
- 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
- 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.
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.