Nipple thrush in breastfeeding mums – 14 tips to prevent it!

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If you've ever had a sharp, shooting pain in your breast or your baby has oral thrush, then this article is a must-read...

Breastfeeding has a host of benefits for both baby and mummy. But like anything baby-related, it comes with its "highs" and "lows". There's plenty that has been written on the high points of breastfeeding so let's focus on a rather common and painful issue breastfeeding mums may face -- nipple thrush.

What is nipple thrush?

If you feel shooting pains in your breast while breastfeeding or your nipples are itchy, shiny and red, you might very well have nipple thrush.

Nipple thrush is caused by a fungus called candida albicus. According to Dr Sears, this fungus thrives in warm, dark, moist areas of the body such as the mucus membranes of the mouth and vagina, baby's diaper area, bra pads, and on continuously wet nipples.

When this fungus propagates and starts thriving on your nipples, the result is, you guessed it, nipple thrush (also called nipple candida)

nipple thrush

If you are pregnant and have a vaginal yeast infection, it's best to get it treated before you give birth to your little one.

Signs and symptoms of breast and nipple thrush

Check your breasts for the following symptoms of nipple thrush:

  • Itchy or burning nipples that appear changed in colour; shiny, puffy, flaky, and/or have a rash with tiny blisters
  • Shooting pain in the breast during or after nursing that radiates from the nipple into the breast or into the back or arm.
  • Intense nipple or breast pain that doesn't improve even with better latch-on and positioning
  • Deep breast pain  that can be described  as ‘liquid fire’, ‘hot needles’, ‘razor blades’, ‘a piece of glass stuck in my nipple’, etc.
  • Cracked or sensitive nipples/areolas to light touch (clothes or hot water spray in a shower)

You can also suspect candida as the cause of your sore nipples if:

  • Your nipples suddenly become sore after a period of pain-free breastfeeding
  • You are currently on antibiotics or have just finished a course

How do you get nipple thrush and how do you treat it? Read on the next page...

Breastfeeding Breastfeeding Concerns Child Health