Supporting Breastfeeding

La Leche League Canada


on February 17, 2014

What is thrush?

Thrush is an infection of the breast by yeast (Candida albicans). This same yeast can cause vaginal yeast infections, infect a baby’s mouth and cause a diaper rash. C. albicans is found on and in everyone’s body. Sometimes the balance between the different normal flora of the body gets out of whack and yeast can take over, resulting in symptoms of a yeast infection.


What symptoms might my baby have (Thrush or yeast infection)?

Your baby may have white patches on the inside of his cheeks, roof of his mouth, inside of his gums or on his tongue that cannot be wiped off. He may also have a persistent, painful diaper rash. Occasionally, babies are fussy at breast when they have a yeast infection.

What are the symptoms of thrush/yeast infection in mother?

Persistent nipple pain in the early weeks of breastfeeding that hasn’t improved with a deep latch, or nipple pain that appears after several weeks or months of pain-free nursing, may be caused by thrush. Additional symptoms can include:

  • Itchy or burning nipples that appear bright pink or red, shiny, flaky, and/or have a rash with tiny blisters
  • Cracked nipples becoming deep without bleeding, often in a fold at the base of the nipple. Occasionally cracks are seen on the front surface of the nipple in a crevice
  • Shooting pains in the breast during or after feedings
  • Deep breast pain
  • Nipples sting more after the feeding rather than during the feeding
  • Reading_Womanly_Art_of_Breastfeeding_sm

How is thrush treated?

The first step in treating thrush is to get an accurate diagnosis from your healthcare provider. There is no reliable lab test for thrush. If your doctor diagnoses thrush, it is essential for both you and your baby to be treated for thrush at the same time, even if only one of you has symptoms. Yeast is easily spread and thrives in warm moist environments such as your baby’s mouth and your nipples.

Thrush on the nipples can be very difficult to treat and should be done with the guidance of a healthcare provider. There are many treatment options from topical anti-fungal creams to anti-fungal oral medication; your doctor can help you decide the correct treatment to choose. An alternative health care practitioner, such as a naturopathic doctor, can provide guidance with the use of nutraceuticals and homeopathy. The most important part of treatment for thrush is to complete the treatment, even after your nipples begin to feel better. Tell your doctor if you are not feeling better within the first week of treatment. You can find a list of treatment options to discuss with your doctor in the information sheet on Thrush, available from your La Leche League Leader.

by Nicola Aquino, LLLC Leader, Professional Liaison Administrator


If you need more information or have a breastfeeding problem or concern, you are strongly encouraged to talk directly to a La Leche League Leader.  In Canada, Leaders can be located by clicking  or  Internationally






One response to “Thrush

  1. […] could be a few reasons but a common cause of sudden nipple pain is thrush, or a yeast infection. This pain often feels intense or “burning” with shooting pains deep into […]

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