Thrush was one of the first health challenges I faced as a new mother, and it was definitely not an easy experience for me. I hope the information I have to offer can help your experience go more smoothly.
I am very happy to be able to share what I know about a thrush remedy. My own Google search did not turn up much good information, and if you’re here looking for a remedy, I have some sense of what you may be going through.
Thrush Symptoms and Causes
So, thrush is a yeast infection in your baby’s mouth. If your baby seems hungry but is fussy about nursing, take a look in her mouth.
A tongue that’s coated white and/or pockets of white yeast in baby’s cheeks or the corners of her mouth are good indicators of a thrush infection. The insides of your baby’s cheeks and throat may also look redder than normal.
Thrush is an overgrowth of Candida albicans, which is a type of yeast that is normally present in smaller amounts in our bodies.
One prime cause of overgrowth is stress. Another factor may be the use of antibiotics that kill all the bacteria in our bodies. Some bacteria is actually helpful in controlling the yeast population so that these kinds of overgrowth situations do not occur.
I had an antibiotic during labor with my first child to combat Group B Step, and I am convinced that this led to a case of thrush that was particularly difficult to get rid of. Rowan had it in his mouth and it was transferred to my nipples, so we were passing it back and forth with nursing. Rowan was not particularly fussy about nursing even with the thrush, but nursing became very painful for me. I experienced shooting pains through my breasts when he would latch on.
Early mothering was probably one of the most vulnerable times I have experienced in my life, and my naturopath at first indicated that the thrush should be fairly easy to get rid of. As I tried remedy after remedy without positive results and the thrush continued for more than a month, my confidence and patience (not to mention my pain threshold) were pretty shot by the time the condition finally did clear up.
So, what’s my advice about a thrush remedy? Well, first take a deep breath and remember to look for the gifts in this situation. Perhaps this challenge will help you learn more about your new little one, or yourself. Perhaps it is calling you to slow down and really pay attention. If you seek a gift, you will find one.
Know that the thrush may clear up in a matter of days, or it may take longer. Either way, it is not a reflection on you or your parenting ability. As my experience indicates, there are some persistent strains of thrush out there.
Treating thrush with any remedy requires patience and persistence, repeatedly administering remedies and paying close attention to hygiene. Please do remember that even if the case of thrush persists for more than a month, this is a very small period of time in your nursing relationship with your child.
PLEASE DO NOT GIVE UP ON BREASTFEEDING! It really is the best thing you can do for your growing child. I nursed Rowan until he was four, and that period when it was painful quickly became a distant memory. I’m so very thankful for all the moments we spent happily nursing together following the thrush.
So, settle in and let’s get to down to treating this.
Set up a table by your nursing chair, so you can have your supplies handy each time you nurse, and make yourself some kind of portable kit you can take with you when you go out that includes the thrush remedy that you have chosen.
If you find you’ve got a particularly persistent case, set up a support system for yourself, calling on those people who will help you remember that you are doing a great job parenting and that you and your baby will get through this time.
Know that yeast feeds on sugar, so reducing your sugar intake while the thrush persists is a very good idea. Eating live, cultured foods like plain yogurt or taking acidophilus tablets will also help by increasing the helpful bacteria in your system. Check with your naturopath for a recommended brand of acidophilus tablets, as they are definitely not all the same.
Besides eating yogurt, it is also one of the home remedies for thrush that I recommend trying. Offer a fingerful of yogurt to be sucked by your baby or smear it on the yeast patches in baby’s mouth and on your nipples using a cotton swab (do clean your nipples of yogurt before nursing again). Discard the swab or wash your hands after applying the yogurt, taking care not to contaminate your yogurt with thrush.
Baking Soda / Vinegar Remedy
Make a solution of 1 teaspoon baking soda in 8 ounces of water. Use a cotton swab to wipe the solution on the insides of baby’s cheeks, gums and tongue after each nursing. Prepare a fresh solution every day, and stir well before using.
Discourage thrush on your nipples with a vinegar solution of 1 tablespoon vinegar in 1 cup of water. (You need not make a fresh solution of this thrush remedy every day.)
Plantain Seed Remedy
Soak plantain (Plantago) seeds in enough water to cover them and soak them until they swell, which may take several hours or overnight. This will make a gel-like substance that you can put on the patches of thrush. Plantain seeds are easily gathered in the fall, but you can also buy them as psyllium seeds.
Susan Weed, suggests these three remedies in Childbearing Year and says that the thrush can clear up within three days, but recommends you continue with the treatments for several weeks to completely clear the thrush and prevent reoccurrence.
While the thrush persists make it a habit to wash your hands often. For best results, wash them every time you touch the baby’s mouth or your nipples. I found that to be pretty unrealistic and frustrating, so I just remind you to do your best and try not to let the thrush remedy be more of a cause for stress, as that just feeds the infection.
I share two other possible home remedies for thrush.
The first is breaking open acidophilus tablets and rubbing the powder on the pockets of thrush. One of my friends used this remedy with her son and reports good results.
After exhausting every thrush remedy and every doctor recommended remedy without positive results, my husband John suggested I try taking calendula tincture, and guess what, the thrush finally cleared up! I can’t say it was because of this tincture, perhaps the thrush had just run its course, but this was my personal experience.
I send my best wishes for a healthful and speedy recovery for you and your babe. May these home remedies for thrush, and your journey to a thrush-free nursing relationship serve you well.