Mother’s milk is the best food that you can give to newborn babies. There are so many health benefits of breastfeeding both to the nursing mother and to the baby. Breast milk contains the necessary nutrients that are needed for a healthy and normal growth. Mothers on the other hand can get back to their pre-pregnant shape instantly if they breastfeed their babies regularly. And of course, breastfeeding is a good bonding time for both mother and baby. In spite of these breastfeeding advantages, there is one thing that nursing mom dreaded the most and that is thrush in lactation.
What is thrush in lactation? What are the symptoms to watch out for? What are the possible solutions for thrush and how can moms prevent the occurrence of infection? Thrush is caused by a fungus known as Candida Albicans that thrives in the baby’s mouth, the milk ducts and milk on the mother’s nipples. Biologically, fungus lives in the human body in balance with other bacteria. However, certain factors can trigger the growth of the fungus and that is when they start to show undesirable symptoms. When talking about thrush in lactation it is important to know that thrush indicates the fungus in the baby’s mouth and yeast pertains to the fungus on the mother’s nipples. Equally, they are evident in non-lactating women and men as well. Candidiasis is the medical term for the infection.
There are so many risk factors for the development of Candidiasis in both mothers and babies. For mothers, those who develop vaginal yeast infection during pregnancy are at risk to developing Candidiasis. Other predisposing factors are prolonged use of antibiotics, nipple trauma or cracks, use of oral contraceptives, unsanitary use of nursing pads or bras and using plastic lined nursing pads. For the babies, use of antibiotics and steroids can also increase the likelihood of developing thrush. Also if babies are given pacifiers, there is a propensity for fungal growth in the mouth area because of the saliva and milk which fungus likes to feed on.
Thrush in lactation is very easy to identify. Nursing moms can experience intense nipple pain, breast pain, cracked nipples, itchy and burning feeling in the nipple area, flaky and inflamed breast and nipples. While babies, can exhibit creamy white patches inside the mouth and alongside the gums. Babies can also lose their appetite quickly because of mouth soreness.
To manage thrush in lactation, there are steps that you need to undertake. First is to eliminate the cause and minimize the chances of another infection. Clean and w ash baby toys, pacifiers, and the different parts of the breast pump in boiling water. Also make it a habit to wash your hands before and after breast-feeding. There are over the counter topical creams that you can use to treat thrush like Canesten cream. However, to prevent recurrence make sure that you use the product as directed. Aside from Canesten, your doctor may also prescribe Fluconazole. This is an antifungal medication that is generally used for systemic candida infections. Mothers can continue to nurse even while treating thrush.
True enough, prescription medications are proven effective in treating thrush. To manage the condition more efficiently, you can also try home remedies like adding yogurt in your diet, increasing your intake of fluids, limiting of sugar and gluten rich foods and taking vitamins regularly. These are simple home remedies for thrush.
Nursing your baby is one of the greatest gifts you can give to a newborn baby. Do not let thrush get in the way. There are many ways that you can do to manage thrush, like the things mentioned above. Good luck!