Yeast / Thrush

Yeast Infection or Thrush


Definition:  Thrush, also referred to as candidiasis, is an overgrowth of yeast.  It is not considered a serious medical condition, but it can be the source of significant discomfort for both mom and baby.


Signs and symptoms:  Yeast infection requires diagnosis by your healthcare provider.  The following are possible symptoms for mom:

  • Nipple pain described many times as itching and/or burning
  • Shiny pink skin around the nipple and/or flaking skin
  • Shooting/stabbing pains in the breast at any time
  • Symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection

Symptoms that baby may have:

  • White patches inside mouth, not necessarily just on tongue
  • Sudden feeding problems such as crying at breast or pulling off
  • Diaper rash
  • Gassiness or colic symptoms


Causes:  You are more likely to develop a yeast infection if you’ve had

  • Recent antibiotics (IV antibiotics are routinely given during labor if you are GBS positive or have a fever during labor; they are also given following a Caesarian delivery)
  • A history of vaginal yeast infections
  • Have had diabetes
  • Have broken nipple skin


Treatments:  It is important that your healthcare provider treat both you and your baby simultaneously with antifungal medications, such as:

  • Over the counter and/or prescription topical medications for your nipples, the baby’s mouth and/or diaper area
  • Possibly a prescription medication that mom takes orally
  • Healthcare providers widely utilize Dr. Jack Newman’s protocols for yeast infection.  He includes specific details regarding treatment and prevention of candidiasis.  You will find this protocol at  Click on Breastfeeding Help then choose Candida Protocol.


Prevention:  Steps to keeping yeast from coming back are:

  • Complete the treatment protocol entirely
  • Boil for 20 minutes daily anything that goes in the baby’s mouth
  • Everyone in household should wash hands often – including baby
  • Ask your healthcare provider about taking probiotics as a tool for yeast prevention



Lawrence, Ruth, MD; Lawrence, Robert, MD, “Breastfeeding: A Guide for the Medical Profession”, pp. 610-611.

Mohrbacher, Nancy, “Breastfeeding Made Simple”, pp. 217-218.

Newman, Jack, MD;, “Candida Protocol”.

Hale, Thomas, “Medications and Mothers’ Milk 13th Edition”, pp.  383-397.


Copyright: Chasta Hite, RN, IBCLC, RLC, Gloria Dudney, RN, IBCLC, RLC, Ann Perry, RN, IBCLC, RLC

Updated June 11, 2010