What Does Thrush Feel Like? Your Nipples Won't Exactly Like It

Ad failed to load

Breastfeeding is natural, beautiful, amazing — and really flipping hard sometimes, especially when you are still getting the hang of it. You may have been warned about latching issues, clogged ducts, and producing enough milk, but you never expected that it would also just plain hurt. Between sore nipples and a baby who has an urge to clamp down with gusto, breastfeeding can be challenging. But how do you know the difference between normal pain and something like thrush, a yeast infection of the nipples? What does thrush feel like and how would you recognize it?

"Usually, the nipples burn, itch, and have redness on them," Dr. Yvonne Bohn, an OB-GYN at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California, tells Romper in an email interview. When it comes to thrush, she notes that "the skin may be cracked as well." According to La Leche League International, "persistent nipple pain in the early weeks of breastfeeding, or nipple pain that appears after several weeks or months of pain-free nursing, may be caused by thrush." Symptoms can include itchy, cracked, or burning nipples, and intense breast pain that is not improved with better latch-on and positioning. Oral thrush may also be accompanied by a vaginal yeast infection.

Giphy
Ad failed to load

Leigh Anne O'Connor, an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), tells Romper that while the occurrence of thrush is actually quite rare, you may also notice symptoms of thrush in your baby, including a white coating on their tongue that does not slough off and/or a diaper rash.

"A parent may notice thick white or cream patches on the roof of their baby's mouth, on the gums, inside the cheeks, or on the tongue," Texas-based Dr. Eboni Hollier, who is board-certified in both general and developmental and behavioral pediatrics, tells Romper in an email interview. "These patches are not easily scraped off like milk and may bleed when scraped off."

Hollier says it's unclear if thrush can be prevented in a baby, but there are several things moms can do to help lessen the risk. "It is important that parents always wash their hands after changing the baby's diaper to help prevent thrush, because it can be passed through his digestive system," she says. "It is often recommended that objects that frequently come into contact with baby's mouth, such as pacifiers and toys, be sterilized in boiling water or discarded to help prevent infections or reinfections. Also, it is recommended that bottles and other feeding equipment be frequently sterilized in order to prevent thrush."

Ad failed to load
Giphy

If thrush is affecting your nipples, then O'Connor says treatment can include prescription antifungal, over-the-counter antifungal, and probiotics. "Some families will use gentian violet, but it has to be applied carefully and in the right formula." Risk factors for thrush include nipples that are already cracked or if you are taking oral contraceptives or steroids, according to Healthline.

Be sure to also make sure you receive a proper diagnosis, O'Connor says. Often women think they have thrush when they may actually be experiencing vasospasms due to a poor latch or a bacterial infection.

Ad failed to load

Other reasons for sore nipples when breastfeeding include tongue or lip ties in the baby, and the roller coaster hormones you will experience in the postpartum period. Because there are a number of things that can cause nipple pain while you are breastfeeding, it's important to consult your healthcare provider and even enlist the help of a lactation consultant.

Be sure to also keep in mind that everyday breast pain can often be treated at home with warm compresses, ice, aloe vera, saline, homemade nipple cream, and even cabbage. You know, because why wouldn't it?

Check out Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:

Ad failed to load

Check out the entire Romper's Doula Diaries series and other videos on Facebook and the Bustle app across Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

Umm, Toys "R" Us Has A BOGO 50 Percent Off Deal So You Better Stock Up

After the holidays, you were probably hoping that your kid's massive toy collection would keep him entertained for a little while, at least. But that was wishful thinking, wasn't it? Because now that a couple of months have passed, all those must-hav…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

Turns Out, Kim Kardashian's Favorite Mom Products Look A Lot Like Your Own Faves

Being a mom is really hard work, especially for the first few months, and Kim Kardashian West is no different in that regard. Now the mother of three, Kardashian says that there are a few products she just can't live without when it comes to raising …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

These 9 Instant Pot Recipes Will Make Even The Pickiest Eater Happy At The Table

Like any parent, I've had my share of parenting hits and misses, but one of my favorite "wins" is my daughter's diverse palate. I don't even know if I can take credit for it, but I would like to think I had something to do with her love for lentils, …
By Caroline Shannon-Karasik

Soda Might Hurt Your Fertility, Study Says, & Here's What You Can Do

Who doesn't love sugary drinks? I stopped drinking soda years ago, but I still love gulping down those fancy Starbucks coffee beverages. I don't have a big sweet tooth, but I am a sucker for sugar-sweetened beverages every now-and-then. Turns out, th…
By Annamarya Scaccia

10 Things No One Tells You About Having A Baby In Your 30s

If you're like me, you evaluate the pros and cons of any major life decision. When my husband and I were considering starting a family, I thought about my career, education, and financial stability. I wanted to know how a pregnancy and childbirth wou…
By Steph Montgomery

This Woman Thought She Had An Eyelash Stuck In Her Eye. Then It Moved.

I'm not a person who is easily icked out. As a kid, I collected bugs and thought I was going to be an entomologist and asked Santa Claus for ant farms and nets to catch bees. I'm still super curious about anything that flies and crawls, which might s…
By Karen Fratti

A Hot Mess Mom's Guide To Surviving Winter

As I sit here at my home office in Connecticut, it's cold. Damn cold. Winter is a rough season in New England and it's even worse when you're a parent and have to manage cooped up, restless children. It's even worse when you're a hot mess as it is, u…
By Jamie Kenney

5 Red Flags Your Toddler Isn't Eating Enough

Toddlers are notoriously picky eaters, at least in my experience. You offer mashed potatoes, they want french fries. You give them crackers, they scream for chips. It's frustrating, to be sure, but it's usually their way of vying for independence. It…
By Candace Ganger

11 Ways Your Pregnancy Will Be Different If You Have A Boy Vs A Girl

If you've been pregnant before, you might start comparing your previous pregnancies to that of your current pregnancy. A lot of things can change from pregnancy to pregnancy, based on a whole host of different factors (including how well you remember…
By Lauren Schumacker

35 Moms Share The Most Disgusting Things Their Husbands Do

I'm a human being who revels in challenges. I like when people present me with one, especially if they don't think I can meet or succeed it, and I like taking a challenge on, especially if it's unexpected. So when I aimed to uncover the most disgusti…
By Jamie Kenney

How Having Kids In Your 20s Affects You Later In Life

For parents, like myself, who had kids in their 20s, there are a number of questions that come to mind. When you're deciding what your future will look like, you'll likely consider what this means for your health, career, and more down the line. Thin…
By Tessa Shull

8 Reasons I Let My Toddler Play Outside Unsupervised

I'm not a helicopter mom, but I'm not exactly a free-range parent either. I like to think of myself as safely ensconced somewhere in the middle. I insist on certain safety measures, like car seats and helmets. I prefer to keep my 2-year-old in my sig…
By Kimmie Fink

12 Moms Share How They Stay Healthy During Flu Season

Unfortunately, we're in the middle of the roughest flu seasons in recent memory. And we’re not totally out of the woods, either. People around the country are still getting the flu, and, sadly, some of them are having to be hospitalized due to flu-re…
By Priscilla Blossom

8 "Mistakes" I'm Glad I Made During My First Pregnancy

As an adult, I've learned you never really stop hating being told what to do. When I was pregnant I was getting instructions at every turn, from doctors, relatives, and complete strangers on the subway. I would nod and smile but then go about making …
By Liza Wyles

Study: Drinking Two Glasses Of Wine A Day Is Good For Your Mind — Here's Why

There’s more scientific proof that a daily drink or two isn't necessarily a bad thing and could have a place in an overall healthy lifestyle. A new study out of the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) in New York found that — in mice, at le…
By Tiffany Thomas

Research Says Eating Carbs Can Lead To A Healthy Pregnancy, So Bring On The Pasta

In the world of me, no food is better than bread. I know it's supposed to be pretty terrible for you, high in calories, low in protein, and full of that modern-day demon, gluten... but guys, it's really yummy. Especially warm out of the oven, when th…
By Jen McGuire

These Photos Of Prince George Then & Now Will Give You Serious Baby Fever

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their third child in Spring 2018. With all of the excitement surrounding the new baby, it's easy to forget all of the good times that have already passed. The couple's eldest is already well into the sc…
By Azure Hall

This Is, Hands Down, The *Grossest* Thing Babies Do Inside The Womb

Your baby's life in the womb may be safe and warm, but it's also kind of grody. Seriously, the whole process of growing into a human being includes more than a few icky moments along the way. But this is the grossest thing babies do inside the womb b…
By Lindsay E. Mack