One of the first nasty things I dealt with as a new mom was thrush. My baby had gotten it, and so had I. Thrush is a yeast infection that thrives off of sugar. Since formula and breast milk are sweet, it is not uncommon for young babies to develop this infection. Thrush appears in the baby’s mouth as small white dots or white patches, and can make nursing very painful. It can also infect mom’s nipples. Two ways to recognize thrush on the nipples are: very bright red coloring to the nipples, and sharp “electric” shock type feelings that seem to pulse through the breasts during or after a nursing session.
Baby and I used a series of home remedies to cure the infection, and it worked for us. I had heard that the medicine that doctors usually prescribe for thrush contains sugars, which is bad because thrush thrives off of sugar. So I did a little research and tried out a home remedy regimen instead. Here is what we did.
First, we needed to kill the infection. To kill the yeast, we used gentian violet: a purple dye used as an antiseptic to help kill the yeast. We found a little bottle of it at our local pharmacy. When searching for it, make sure you get a 1% solution bottle. Dip a q-tip into the bottle and paint the dye on your nipples. (You will probably look like an alien; that’s how I felt anyway). Keep clothing away from your nipples for a little while in order to let the dye dry. Then dab another q-tip in the dye and gently swab it in your baby’s mouth. Try to focus on the areas where you notice the white dots or patches. Your baby’s mouth and lips will turn very purple, but the dye washes away in a day or two. Baby will not feel any pain or notice any kind of strange taste. Do this treatment once a day for up to three days. We didn’t see results right away but my baby definitely had less trouble nursing after the second day. That’s the main thing. The infection needs to be killed.
Additionally, my husband and I also boiled all of the nursing pump parts and bottle parts after each feeding (I was pumping and bottle feeding my baby for a few days because nursing was getting painful for both of us). I cut out almost all sugar and alcohol from my diet and also took a probiotic for two weeks. Another very helpful idea is to make a “mouth wash” for the baby by adding a teaspoon of baking soda to a half cup of water. Dip a q-tip in that and swab baby’s mouth. You can also do this on your nipples. Yeast cannot thrive in salt (baking soda). This is a great thing to do in addition to the gentian violet treatment.
These are the home remedies that worked for us. If yeast infects baby or me again, I will definitely reuse these remedies.