Yeast & Thrush

Steps to Treatment

What is yeast?

We all have both yeast (aka Candida) and bacteria in our gastrointestinal and vaginal tracks. In a healthy state they are in balance, and are essential for optimal health.

However, with a yeast overgrowth, the yeast overpopulates our system and we have what we call a “yeast infection”. This overgrowth can be on your nipples and in your milk ducts, as well as in your baby’s mouth and gastrointestinal track. It causes sore nipples and can cause intraductal pain in your breasts (burning, shooting pain during and after feedings). In your baby, it may have no symptoms or it may cause a sore mouth and tongue, and sometimes red, sore skin in the diaper area, or even irritability and excessive gas. Occasionally, it will be visible in the baby’s mouth as a thick, grey or white coating that usually will bleed when wiped away; however, a thick coating of healthy breastmilk in the mouth often is misdiagnosed as thrush, so do not rely on just this symptom!

It is important to remember that the yeast overgrowth is throughout your whole system, and you want to restore a healthy balance between the yeast and the bacteria. Just killing off yeast doesn’t resolve the problem. It will always return unless the proper balance is restored, and this takes diligence.


  • It is important to get the best latch possible when you have sore nipples. Even if the cause of sore nipples is yeast, improving the latch can decrease the pain.
  • For deep breast pain, ibuprofen 400 mg every four hours may be used until definitive treatment is working
  • Jack Newman’s All Purpose Nipple Ointment (APNO)
  • Make sure that there is no other source for ongoing nipple pain, e.g. tongue tie.

Diaper changes

  • Rinse with each diaper change with vinegar/water solution (1T. white distilled vinegar/1C. water)
  • Do not use baby wipes, as they may nurture the yeast. Use clear water for clean-up of stool, then rinse with the vinegar solution.
  • Use a thick amount of barrier cream, such as zinc oxide, for diaper area
  • Sunlight is a good treatment for yeast overgrowth that causes skin irritation. Let baby sunbath naked on a diaper in the window on a sunny day.

Internal balance


  • Eliminate all sugar including fruits for at least 3-4 days. Reduce starches and refined carbohydrate foods. In chronic or severe cases, more dietary changes can be helpful, such as eliminating all dairy until two weeks after symptoms are gone.
  • Acidophilus 3x/day for 1-2 week: 250 mg (usually 2 tablets) OR 5 drops in water, 3x/day
  • In resistant cases, oral fluconazole can be prescribed by your midwife.


  • Treat baby with acidophilus by rolling a wet finger in acidophilus powder – break open a capsule and let baby suck on the finger right before a feeding. Use 2x /day.

External yeasts

  • Wash your hands frequently, especially before and after touching any affected area.
  • Remember: use clean hands or a new swab every time medication is touched.
  • Boil for 20 minutes, any bottle nipples, pacifiers, and toys as well as any breast pumps the may have been used
  • Wash all baby clothes, bras, breast pads, breastfeeding tops, bed linens, baby blankets, etc, frequently in hot water. Dry well in hot dryer or sunlight.
  • Add 15-20 drops of GSE OR 1C vinegar to rinse water of all laundry loads

This treatment plan seems very complex, but after a few days it will seem simpler, especially when you are feeling better because of all of your efforts. REMEMBER: Continue the recommended treatments and dietary restrictions for 2 weeks after all symptoms are gone. There is a temptation to grow lax after you and your baby are feeling better, but the yeast overgrowth can come back if your system is not restored to its proper balance.