Thrush is a fungal infection on the maternal nipple and breast and can sometimes develop on cracked or injured nipples and in the baby's mouth. Often there is a history of antibiotic treatment during or around labour or if the newborn was treated at some point. Antibiotics reduce the number of helpful bacteria and allow the candida yeasts to grow.
Symptoms of thrush are a sudden start of breast and/or nipple pain in both breasts after a time of pain free breastfeeding, shiny and/or red nipples, burning sensation in your nipples. The pain can be severe and can last for up to 1 hour after every breastfeed.
Symptoms of thrush in the baby are creamy white patches in the baby’s mouth, on the tongue and may be far back or in the cheeks which don't rub off. Baby’s tongue/lips may have a white gloss.
The diagnosis should be confirmed by a swab of the nipple and the baby's mouth.
Thrush can be passed between mother and baby, therefore it is important to treat both. Extra hygiene measures should be put in place to eradicate thrush completely (such as daily, towel changes, changing breast pads after each feed, changing the bra every day and washing it on a high temperature and washing your hands frequently with soap and warm water). It is a good idea to reduce the sugar levels in the mother's diet. It is a good idea to take a course of probiotics to support the growth of the healthy gut flora.