Breastfeeding is so amazing.
I, alone, nourish and hydrate my son’s body with my own, while bonding with him in a way that only I can. It really is one of my favorite times of day, and I cherish the special moments I spend with my baby.
But, breastfeeding is hard. It’s a lot of work. It’s exhausting. It’s confusing. And on top of all that, it comes with its own list of potential medical struggles.
For me, it started as an itch.
You know that feeling when something is itchy and you scratch and scratch until it’s raw? About a week after that little itch on my nipples started, they turned into one raw mess. (Sorry for the TMI). Breastfeeding with thrush is a nightmare. It’s toe curling, and teeth gritting. And, no matter what position you put the baby in, it. just. hurts.
I didn’t even know it was thrush. Not at first.
But then little A started getting a pretty bad, but REALLY resistant diaper rash. Which was strange. His diaper rashes are rare and very mild, but this one looked painful, shiny, and seemingly impossible to get rid of. I identified it as a yeast rash, and had the epiphany that I was dealing with thrush.
Not too keen on doctors, I decided to see if I could treat it at home.
Here are my tips:
1. Get Rid of the Sugar
Yeast thrives on sugar.
And, I’m guilty of eating more than I should be. Since going paleo, my body has become accustomed to very minimal amounts of refined sugar. I would be lying if I said these past few months I’ve stuck to that regimen. I immediately cut refined sugar back out of my diet. Side note: I feel tons better!
To consider surviving thrush without lanolin is ludicrous! No, but seriously, I smeared this stuff on my nipples every chance I got! It’s so incredibly soothing – but it is a tad on the thick and goopy side which is kind of frustrating.
You desperately need to get some good bacteria into your gut. I grabbed some plain yogurt (it MUST contain live cultures, this is very important), and some probiotics to double up on the bacteria in my gut.
To emphasize how incredible yogurt is, I had a yeast infection a few years ago. I went the Monistat route, and it just made things so much worse. I was miserable. Then, I read online that you can use live cultured yogurt topically and internally (I’m trying to be discreet here). Instant relief! I mean, instant. Within 2 days, my yeast infection was GONE!
Thankfully, little A never developed thrush in his mouth, and I think we definitely caught it before it made its way into my ducts- which I heard can be VERY painful. I have been on this regimen for about 2 days now, and the pain is completely gone. The itching does spark back up every once in awhile, but resisting the urge to scratch and applying lanolin is putting more and more time between each “attack.”
Hang in there, breastfeeding mama, this is only a bump in your incredible journey.
Until next time,
Author: Savannah Baker
Savannah is a full-time mom of one, and can often be found outside on one of her various adventures. She enjoys carving her own path through natural and holistic living, as well as discovering ways to use food as medicine.