Although I have 3 kids, I'm pretty new to breastfeeding. I could only feed James for 3 weeks due to medical issues and Emilie was such a sleepy baby that she had no interest in feeding and after loosing 11% of her birth weight in 4 days it was decided that it was best for her to go onto formula. Henry is doing fantastically and as of today we are 11 weeks in and going strong. After a rocky first few days it now mostly comes naturally, apart from two weeks ago. I nearly threw in the towel.
Henry got thrush. The doctor gave him antibiotic drops. I asked if I should be treated too but he said that as I wasn't showing any symptoms I didn't need anything. In hindsight I now know that was incorrect but not knowing any better I went with it. About a week later I realised that it was really sore when Henry was feeding but he was going through a growth spurt and feeding every hour so I put it down to that. Two nights later I was sat crying at 2am because the pain was unbearable. I literally had a lightbulb moment. Thrush! I quickly googled the symptoms and had my answer. I ticked every box. The next day was a Sunday and I was hoping I could hold out until the next morning to see a doctor but by lunch time I gave in and contacted the out of hours service. After a long wait the doctor gave me medication but after researching and realising that Thrush can be hard to combat and it's really common for Mum and Baby to pass it back and forth.
I then started looking for natural remedies that I could use in conjunction with the medication. There was a lot of information online but I settled on trying two things and within 3 days it seemed to work so I thought why not share it! Hopefully it can help another Mum who is stamping her feet as her baby latches on. Gritting your teeth through a feeding is not much fun.
The first thing I decided to try was White Vinegar. It has anti-fungal properties. You mix one tablespoon with a cup of water and after each feed, soak a cotton wall ball and wash your nipples with it. I left the cup on the kitchen side (replacing it each day) and religiously done this after every feed.
The second was coconut oil. I've raved about coconut oil and it's uses before but I never realised it could be used for Thrush. Again it has anti-fungal properties. Once the vinegar and water has dried you then rub coconut oil on. A bonus to this is it doesn't need to be washed off before baby feeds again as it is all natural :)
Another few tips that could help -
- Wash all bras, tops, towels etc in a hot wash.
- Limit sugar intake as this can sometimes make the symptoms worse.
- Steralise dummies, teething toys, bottles etc, that come into contact with babies mouth.
- Try to keep your nipples as dry as possible. Wear breast pads and replace them as soon as they start to become wet.
- Be sure to finish any course of medication that the doctor prescribes.
Thankfully the medication, vinegar/water & coconut oil all seem to have worked within one week. We are now back to painless breastfeeding and I am so glad that I preserved through it and didn't give in!