Thursday, January 26, 2012

Breastfeeding, thrush, and weight gain

Our first two months with C have been wonderful, with only a few minor hiccups.  As I've mentioned before, I am breastfeeding and that is generally going well.  However, we did have an issue where C wasn't gaining enough weight in the beginning.  First, she did not gain back up to her birth weight by two weeks like her pedi wanted.  This led to many tears and much worry from me as I frantically fed her for the next five days, trying to fatten her up before her next weight check.  She did make it back up to her birth weight for that appointment, but then had gained only two more ounces by the time of her one-month appointment two weeks later.  Cue more tears and panic and guilt from me that I was starving my baby without knowing it and therefore irreparably affecting her brain development.  (First-time mom + sleeping only 30-45 minutes at a time = over-reacting emotional disaster!)  At that time, her pedi recommended supplementing with formula, which was very difficult for me to swallow but was of course the right decision at the time.  I felt like I was failing my baby by not meeting even her most basic of needs.

We spent the next few weeks supplementing with formula and trying to increase my supply.  Her doctor thought it might be an issue with the fat content of my milk rather than a supply issue, so he had me add a DHA supplement to my diet to see if that would help.  (I couldn't tolerate the God-awful taste and smell of fish oil capsules, so I am now taking flax oil instead.)  Regardless of whether the supplement helped or not, I am happy to report that we are now exclusively breastfeeding again, and she is thriving and growing like a chubby, tubby weed.  :-)

In addition to the weight issues and breastmilk supply issue, C and I have also been fighting the worst case of thrush in the history of ever for the past 6 weeks.  I believe I actually had it for a week or two before seeking treatment, but I thought the burning and nipple pain were normal for a beginning breastfeeding mom.  It wasn't until she was a few weeks old, and I was literally sobbing from pain during her feedings, that I realized maybe there was a problem.  The amazing lactation consultant at my doctor's office diagnosed me as having not only thrush in my nipples, but also yeast growing in my milk ducts.  (Let me tell you, the pain from a breast yeast infection is worse than unmedicated labor.  I'm not joking.)  Then, after several weeks of no symptoms, C also developed thrush in her mouth. 

Thankfully, the thrush doesn't seem to be causing C too much discomfort, other than causing her to be extra gassy.  Unfortunately, we are both still fighting it.  I'm on my third round of Diflucan (fluconazole) and am using a prescription cream (terconazole) on my nipples as needed.  C was treated unsuccessfully with Nystatin and is now on her own course of fluconazole.  DH and I also sterilize all of her bottle parts, pacifiers, and my pump parts after every use.  I am hoping that since we are finally both being treated with fluconazole at the same time that we will finally be able to beat it, because I am so over this!

If any of you dealt with thrush, I would love to hear what worked for you!


  1. Just a note on thrush and anything plastic you're using i.e. pacis, breast pump etc. Apparently, these things can develop hairline cracks where bacteria grow and it's pretty much impossible to get rid of. (And boiling things makes the cracks worse.) So it might be worth it to replace these things so you're not reinfecting yourself over and over again. It could be a neverending cycle. This is what I was told at a Le Leche Meeting anyways...

    You know all about my breast feeding woes, so I'm right with you. We shall overcome!

  2. We battled through some serious thrush, and here's what seems to have helped:

    1) Washing all mine and baby's linens in white vinegar before washing them in the regular laundry.

    2) Sterilizing everything every night

    3) Flucanazole and lots of it

    4) low sugar diet

    5) Advil, hot showers and heating pads and ice for the pain and to keep things moving

    6) APNO (All Purose Nipple Ointment), which I applied with a clean q-tip to avoid cross-contamination

    7) Rinsing my nipples with water and a clean cotton ball (sometimes with a little vinegar mixed in) after feedings and before applying APNO

    *I couldn't use the G violet. It was just too much of a mess, and I was afraid I would forget to rinse it off before feeding the baby.

  3. Oh, and one more thing...when sterilizing, boil for 20 minutes, not just the usual 2-5 minutes.

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