Breastfeeding: Common Breastfeeding Challenges (cont.)
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A fungal infection, also called a yeast infection or thrush, can form on your nipples or in your breast because it thrives on milk. The infection forms from an overgrowth of the Candida organism. Candida exists in our bodies and is kept at healthy levels by the natural bacteria in our bodies. When the natural balance of bacteria is upset, Candida can overgrow, causing an infection.
A key sign of a fungal infection is if you develop sore nipples that last more than a few days, even after you make sure your baby has a good latch. Or, you may suddenly get sore nipples after several weeks of pain-free breastfeeding. Some other signs of a fungal infection include pink, flaky, shiny, itchy or cracked nipples, or deep pink and blistered nipples. You also could have achy breasts or shooting pains deep in the breast during or after feedings.
Causes of thrush include:
Thrush in a baby's mouth appears as little white spots on the inside of the cheeks, gums, or tongue. Many babies with thrush refuse to nurse, or are gassy or cranky. A baby's fungal infection can also appear as a diaper rash that looks like small red dots around a main rash. This rash will not go away by using regular diaper rash creams.
What you can do
Fungal infections may take several weeks to cure, so it is important to follow these tips to avoid spreading the infection:
Ask for help!
If you or your baby has symptoms of a fungal infection, call both your doctor and your baby's doctor so you can be correctly diagnosed and treated at the same time. This will help prevent passing the infection to each other.