Friday, August 5, 2011

Thrush - Pretty Common After All

Everything about pregnancy, birthing, and breastfeeding my first child was pretty much a breeze. So I was totally unprepared when, a few weeks in, my second child's latch and nursing caused me excruciating pain! One afternoon at my mother's she latched on and I nearly vomited instantaneously from the pain! And as I mentioned earlier this week, I do not vomit.

Probably after a little urging from my mother, I called the lactation consultant. She seemed to have a pretty good idea right away as to the problem: Thrush. I'd never heard of it. Admittedly, I've never done much research on breastfeeding. I checked Tyler's mouth and sure enough, she had little white bumps in there. We both had Thrush. Now what?

The lactation consultant actually seemed pretty personally invested in our nursing relationship. She urged me, desperately, to not give up on nursing! I thought the idea of giving up was honestly ridiculous. If latching on nearly made me vomit and I hadn't quit yet, nothing was going to make me quit!

Gran gives Tyler BreastmilkGran gives Tyler Breastmilk
Circa 1998

I took Tyler to see the pediatrician. He confirmed the Thrush and prescribed Nystatin. Once home, we began treatment. About 15 minutes after putting liquid Nystatin into Tyler's mouth she cried. She was inconsolable for about 20-30 minutes! It was heartbreaking! I believe it was the lactation consultant that suggested I wait 10 minutes after treatment and then nurse her. This would rinse her mouth before it got to the point of being unbearable for her. So that is what we did. But you know what? That medicine can't work if it isn't there. So we still had Thrush.

We followed up with the pediatrician and were told to get some Gentian Violet. Most people have never heard of GV and I suspect most haven't heard of Thrush. Gentian Violet is also what Le Leche League recommends for treatment of Thrush and I think it is the more "natural" treatment option.

Gentian Violet on Sasha's Sasha's Purple Lips (care of Gentian Violet)
October 2009

Some important things to know about Gentian Violet:
  • It stains!
  • You have to ask the pharmacist for it.
  • It does not require a prescription.
  • You can use it on yeast elsewhere. (See photo below.)

Gentian Violet cleared up the Thrush for us. And I became a spokesperson for it. I recommended it to anyone and everyone if it came up in conversation. In fact, when I started dating Elmo, his ex-girlfriend (and mother of his child) found out she had Thrush. We were out and about when she called to ask him advice about it. We stopped at a drug store and I bought some for her (no, we are not close!). He took it to her, but she never did use it.

Then I had Sasha. Within a couple of weeks, she had Thrush, too. Our doctor was very supportive of my natural treatment preferences across the board. He was going to prescribe Nystatin for her, but I told him about our experiences with it. I had also found another (prescription) product known for kicking Thrush's butt even harder than Nystatin. He explained that it was a much stronger drug, though, and preferred not to go that route as a first line of defense. He thought we should definitely err on the side of caution since her sister was allergic and supported the use of Gentian Violet.

Gentian Violet cleared up the Thrush for us. In fact, while we were fighting the good fight, I noticed a rash in Sasha's neck. Our doctor told us it was also yeast, but from milk running down into her neck unnoticed and left there. GV cleared that right up, too!

Gentian Violet on Sasha's neckGentian Violet on Sasha's neck (and cloth diaper under her)
October 2009

Something I've learned through some of the World Breastfeeding Week posts I've read is that Thrush is pretty common! And yet, it is not common knowledge.

Note: Every single time you see the word Thrush on this page, you will find a different link to a web page about it.

This story is just one example of why it is so important that we communicate with the women around us about our breastfeeding experiences! If you've hit a roadblock, talking about it with others may help you find your solution faster. If you've plowed through a roadblock, you can help other mothers so much!

What have you done to communicate about breastfeeding with our peers?



I’m celebrating World Breastfeeding Week with Natural Parents Network!

You can, too — link up your breastfeeding posts from August 1-7 in the linky below, and enjoy reading, commenting on, and sharing the posts collected here and on Natural Parents Network.

(Visit NPN for the code to place on your blog.)

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