In Part 1, I talked about the first 8 weeks breastfeeding my twins and the initial help I received from Lactation Consultants and a Breastfeeding Clinic.
In Part 2, I talked about our unsuccessful Gentian Violet + Probiotics treatment and the start of my online research on thrush.
Week 9, con’t: Over the weekend, I continued my online research. I concentrated on more reputable websites and tried to avoid discussion groups (other than my own birth club) and their horror stories!
Over and over again, I kept returning to Dr. Jack Newman’s Breastfeeding Help site, where I had found the Gentian Violet instructions. I talked to a friend of mine who is a labour & delivery nurse, and she confirmed his site as reputable and one she had referred to at work.
Dr. Newman’s article on Candida Protocol (the yeast that causes thrush) had a lot of useful information. He recommends a -tiered treatment:
- Treat with All Purpose Nipple Ointment (APNO): A compounded appointment made from an antibiotic (Mupirocin), a corticosteroid (Betamethasone), and an antifungal (Miconazole). Useful for many different breastfeeding problems that can cause sore nipples.
- If that doesn’t work, add Gentian Violet OR
- Use Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE) topically on the nipples.
- If that doesn’t work, add GSE orally (capsules or tablets preferred) for the mother AND
- Probiotics for the mother and baby.
I was still trying to cut corners, though, and didn’t want to brave the clinic to get a prescription for APNO, so I sent my husband out to the healthfood store to pick up the GSE drops and I picked up some antifungal ointment (Canesten – Clotrimazole).
Week 10: treatments begin! After every feed I painted my nipples with a diluted solution of GSE (see Dr. Newman’s Candida article for dilution instructions), and I used the antifungal twice a day. When not using the antifungal, I used olive oil so that my skin didn’t dry out. I also started using the drops in my juice three times a day, in addition to the bioGaia probiotic drops. In addition, I used the drops in the laundry and to sterilize soothers, bottles, and pump parts. By the end of the week, I was symptom free!
By symptom free, I mean not only did the stabbing, burning pain while feeding stop, but I could also shower pain-free and my nipples returned to their normal colour. I hadn’t realized the sore nipples while showering and pink nipples were caused by thrush – I thought it was just a normal side effect of breastfeeding. I had mentioned both of these symptoms to the breast feeding clinic and the public health lactation consultant, and neither had seemed concerned. I had a freezer full of pumped milk – did this mean I needed to throw it all out??? About 50 ounces worth??!??! I was devastated, but decided to leave it in the freezer until I could find out more.
The boys still had thrush on their tongues, and their mouths were obviously irritated when feeding. I decided to stop the oral GSE (it just tasted SO BAD!) and continue the topical GSE. Bad idea, because in
Week 11: PAIN! My symptoms came back.
To be continued…