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Breast Feeding

Discouraged

05/07/2002

Question:

My newborn developed thrush and transferred it to my nipples. I really want to continue breastfeeding, but my nipples are SO sore and cracked, it`s too painful. I am trying to pump, as an alternative until the thrush clears up, so that my milk doesn`t dry up, but the milk I am pumping is bloody. Can I feed that to my baby, or is it all a waste? What should I do?

Answer:

Thrush is a yeast infection occurring in the mouth caused by candida albicans that is commonly found in the mouth of healthy people. Thrush appears as white patches, looking similar to mild curds. However, they are unable to be wiped from the mouth of the baby.

Treatment of this infection involves treating both you and the baby at the same time. Your baby`s health care provider can prescribe an antifungal medication. You will begin to feel better in a couple of days with a mild case, and five or so days for more severe cases. Even after you have begun to feel better it is extremely important to finish all of your medication. It is also important to remember that good hand washing is imperative to help prevent the spread of the infection. Hands should be thoroughly washed before and after each feeding, anytime the breast is touched, and anytime the mouth is touched. In addition to each time diapering and toileting. Also, any items that have been in touch with the baby`s mouth or your breast need to be boiled or discarded so that reinfections do not occur. (this may include, breast shells, breast pump parts, bras, nursing pads, pacifier, bottle nipples, teething rings and toys). After you have received one week of treatment you should replace the items you have been boiling.

If you are pumping do NOT freeze your breast milk. Freezing does NOT kill the yeast and may cause reinfection of the baby when used later. Pumping is often more uncomfortable than actually placing the baby to the breast, since the pump is less efficient than the baby. According to the La Leche League blood in your breast milk will not hurt the baby. I know that this is a difficult time, but if you are able to get through this week hopefully you will find that breastfeeding is an extremely rewarding experience.

For more information:

Go to the Breast Feeding health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Tina   Weitkamp, RNC, MSN Tina Weitkamp, RNC, MSN
Associate Professor of Clinical Nursing
College of Nursing
University of Cincinnati