Yeast might help make delicious sticky buns and bread, but it can be painful when it creeps into your breasts.
It's a different kind of yeast, of course—a fungus that can overgrow in your body and cause pain, burning and itching. If you've ever had a vaginal yeast infection, you know how uncomfortable that can be. And when you're trying to learn how to breastfeed your newborn properly, excess yeast can be especially frustrating.
Nipple yeast can be difficult to diagnose. It can arise suddenly after a period of pain-free nursing or it can show up gradually. Although it generally doesn't appear during the first couple of weeks post-birth, it is possible to develop it then.
Nipple yeast can present itself as any of the following symptoms but not necessarily all of them:
The list of symptoms is so varied that it can be tough to pinpoint a yeast problem. That's why many moms don't know yeast is causing their nipple pain. They often think it's a problem with their baby's latch, even though they're usually well past the point of early latch problems.
Here are some known factors that cause yeast, which can help you diagnose it:
If you have a nipple yeast infection, your baby might or might not have thrush. Oral yeast (thrush) in your baby will appear as white cottage cheese-like patches on the roof and walls of his mouth and sometimes a thick white coating on his tongue. Many times babies are free of thrush or yeast diaper rashes, while their mothers have yeast in their nipples. In other words, don't dismiss yeast because your baby shows no signs of thrush.
If you think you have a nipple yeast infection, there are cures. The best approach is to treat both yourself and your baby, even if he has no symptoms. Then there's no chance of passing it back and forth to each other and re-infecting yourself.
This information is courtesy of Bravado Designs, the brand synonymous with women's breastfeeding success for 18 years.
Source: Heather Kelly is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC)