Why is my older baby still fussy and my breasts don’t feel quite right after feeding? Could it be yeast?

That is possible. Sometimes moms have a challenging start to breastfeeding and do not have a completely good latch, and get cracked nipples. This could pave the way to infections. Including yeast. Or yeast might be a result of antibiotic use or too much sugar in the diet.

We all have healthy and unhealthy bacteria in our gut. If it gets out of balance, that is, an overgrowth of the unhealthy bacteria, a person can develop candida albicans — or yeast. It is often called “thrush”.

Yeast can occur easily, especially if someone is tired, run down, eating too much sugary food. And it is easy to transmit among family members using the same towel or washcloth, or when baby puts a toy in his mouth and later does it again without the toy being properly washed in hot soapy water.

Yeast can also live and be transferred from breast pumps, nipple shields, and things that might have been in baby’s mouth, such as cups or teethers.

Sometimes people can have yeast without symptoms, but the baby might feel irritation in his mouth and fuss at the breast and pull off, even if latching issues are corrected. Sometimes you can see white thick patches in baby’s mouth, inside the cheeks or on the tongue and it tends to stay there.

Mom can get repeated plugged ducts and sometimes report burning or shooting pains AFTER a feeding. Or itching. Or maybe just a funny tingling sensation. Yeast on the nipples often looks reddish and shiny, and the skin might feel raw or look flaky. These can all occur even if the breast positioning is good.

Yeast loves to live in warm, moist environments and linger around. It is also possible to share yeast with other family members who might come into close contact with mom or baby, such as dad.

There are many good natural remedies, such as mom taking acidophilus supplements, eating more yogurt, exposing her nipples to more sunshine, using a mild baking soda solution, and adding baking soda to the wash. Wash clothes, towels, bedding, and so on thoroughly in hot soapy water. Hanging them out to dry in the sun is great if you can.

If these don’t fix the yeast there are other remedies. Your midwife or doctor can prescribe topical ointment for you. Use it as prescribed — NOT just until symptoms subside. Yeast can be stubborn and you might need to modify your diet.

Most parent handouts recommend gentian violet, but it is not available at this time in Canada. So look at the other ideas on treating and beating candida.

Here’s a great article from Dr. Newman to start with. Click here.