Why Do My Nipples Itch While Breastfeeding? It's More Common Than You'd Think

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As beneficial as breastfeeding is for both you and your baby, it isn't always easy. From engorgement, to low supply, to nipple pain, to sheer exhaustion, there are a host of issues that can arise during your nursing journey. Itchiness is another less common issue that some moms struggle with and if you're asking "why do my nipples itch while breastfeeding?" there's an explanation for your discomfort.

More often than not, itchiness while breastfeeding is a symptom of a thrush infection. According to Healthline, itchy nipples are usually indicative of a yeast infection in your breasts or a thrush infection in your baby's mouth or diaper area. The article noted a few of the other most common symptoms for an infection in mothers are dry, cracked, flaky nipples, and pain while breastfeeding. It can sound pretty scary, but luckily, it is 100 percent treatable.

Baby Center noted that although yeast (caused by the candida bacteria) is a naturally occurring substance in everyone's body, if left unchecked, it can grow into an infection which can be very uncomfortable for both you and your baby. You can pass a yeast infection on to your baby through birth, breastfeeding, or other physical contact, and your baby can pass it to you as well, so it's not surprising that it's a condition that many moms deal with.

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Thrush thrives in warm, moist environments, making it especially tricky to treat. La Leche League International (LLLI) pointed out that moms should be sure to change their nursing pads and nursing bras often to diminish the likelihood of spreading the bacteria.

If you think you may have a yeast infection on your nipples, the Dr. Sears website suggested that mothers air dry their nipples after each feeding, wear cotton bras and wash them often, sanitize all breast pump parts that come in contact with your breasts, and apply an anti-fungal cream prescribed by your doctor to your nipples.

Although yeast infections are hard to treat and easy to catch, they're not impossible to deal with. If you're sure to follow the directions given by your healthcare provider and keep both you and your baby as "dry" as possible, itchiness and other symptoms you're likely facing will be gone before you know it.