Thrush (Yeast) Breastfeeding Self-Care Tips

Yeast Self Care Tips:

  • Do not use Lansinoh™ lanolin emollient during a yeast infection.
  • oral thrush (yeast) on baby's tongue breastfeedingWash your bra and washable pads daily.  Hang in sunshine to dry.  Change pads as soon as they get wet.  Do not reuse disposable pads.
  • Do not use antibacterial soaps.
  • Wash your hands well.  Use warm soapy water and lots of friction for at least 15 seconds.
  • Use paper towels for hand drying then discard since yeast can live on a moist towel.
  • Use a bath towel only once and then wash it.
  • Do not freeze milk for later use that is collected during a yeast infection. Freezing expressed breastmilk during a yeast infection does not kill yeast and can lead to reinfection. Scalding breastmilk has not been proven to remove all traces of yeast and can cause reinfection.
  • Boil all plastic/rubber/silicone items that come in contact with the baby’s mouth, mom’s breast, or mom’s milk for 20 minutes per day.  Replace rubber parts weekly if possible.
  • Use a solution of 3/4 CUP bleach and one gallon water to disinfect surfaces of the diaper changing station.  You may opt to use white vinegar in a spray bottle to clean in lieu of bleach water.
  • Avoid sugar products. Sugar feeds yeast.
  • Boiling water kills yeast.
  • Bleach kills yeast.
  • Grapefruit seed extract (GSE) kills yeast.
  • Gentian violet kills yeast.
  • Vinegar does not kill yeast. Vinegar discourages yeast by changing the pH.

Holistic remedies include:

  • Grapefruit seed extract (GSE). Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE) is a natural broad spectrum bactericide, fungicide, antiviral, and antiparasitic compound. GSE also strongly inhibits many types of pathogenic fungi and yeast. When used in vitro, GSE has been shown to be highly effective against a broad spectrum of bacteria, including Staphyloccus aureus, Streptococcus pyogenes, Salmonella typhi, Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Shigella dysenteriae, Legionella pneumoniae, Clostridium tetani, Diploccus pneumoniae, and many others.
    • Make a mixture of 10 drops of liquid Grapefruit Seed Extract to one ounce of distilled water. The use of distilled water to make your solution is very important.  The chemicals placed in tap water to kill bacteria can reduce the effectiveness of the active ingredients in GSE.
    • It may also be helpful to put the same strength solution into a spray bottle, spray liberally to affected area in mom or baby.
    • 3 times daily. Continue to apply GSE for 3 days after the last symptom in mom or baby.
    • The inside of baby’s mouth may be swabbed using a q-tip dipped in the diluted GSE solution and rubbed on the inside of mouth and tongue.
    • GSE can be taken internally as well, according to the recommended dose on the label.
    • GSE can be found in most major health food stores, or ordered online.
  • Vinegar. White vinegar diluted in water may be used to change the pH of the nipples and make it more difficult for the yeast to grow. Vinegar does not kill yeast, but creates an inhospitable environment by changing the pH.
    • Rinse nipples with solution of 1/4 CUP white distilled vinegar and 1 CUP plain water.
  • Garlic. Boost the immune system by increasing your intake of garlic.
  • Calendula is reported to have antifungal and antibacterial properties. Calendula ointment may be placed directly on the nipples.
  • Probiotics help to populate the intestines with the “good” bacteria that compete with yeast.
    • Both mother and baby should take probiotics There are specially formulated probiotics for babies. Babies have a different gut flora and thus require a specially formulated baby probiotic.
    • For mom: “Primal Defense ULTRA” by Garden of Life brand probiotics OR “PB8” by Nutrition Now brand probiotics is suggested. Follow recommended label dosage.
    • For baby: “HMF Baby B” by Genestra Brands probiotics is suggested. Follow recommended label dosage.
    • PLAIN yogurt (no sugar added)
  • “Yeast Defense” by Nutrition Now brand is suggested (for mom). This herbal formulation contains several ingredients that fight yeast. Follow recommended label dosage.
  • Chamomile tea and tincture of myrrh seems to have antifungal properties.  The chamomile tea must be made from the flowers, not the stems and leaves.  Look in the Mexican Foods section of the grocery store where the bulk, dried chilies are stocked.  Pour boiling water over the chamomile flowers and let them steep for 10 minutes.

Medical treatment prescribed by your doctor may include:

  • Use Nystatin oral suspension as prescribed by your doctor.  Four times per day put 2 ml into a small cup.  Use a clean cotton swab to swab the baby’s mouth after each nursing.  Do not put the swab back into the medicine.  If any medicine is left in the cup when it is time for the next dose, allow the baby to drink what is left in the cup.
  • Use antifungal cream on your nipples as your doctor prescribes (example: Lotrimin, Tinactin).
  • Continue yeast treatments until 2 weeks after the last symptom in mom or baby.


  • Gentian violet half-percent solution applied to the baby’s mouth and on mom’s nipples twice per day for three days.  This will stain everything.
    • EG: If you have 1% solution 1oz, add 2oz of distilled water to equal half-percent (use only distilled water: not purified water, not tap water)
    • EG: If you have 2% solution 1oz, add 4oz of distilled water to equal half-percent (use only distilled water: not purified water, not tap water)


  • Diflucan tablets may be prescribed.  Usually mom gets a 200 – 400mg dose the first day and half of that much for the next 10 – 14 days.


  • Your doctor may recommend All Purpose Nipple Ointment that contains an antifungal, antibacterial and a steroid cream and can be compounded by your pharmacist.  APNO is made from 10 grams each: mupirocin 2% ointment, nystatin 100,000 unit/ml ointment, clotrimazole 10% (vaginal cream), betamethasone 0.1% ointment)

These are suggestions and should be discussed with your Primary Healthcare Provider.

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