Thrush is a yeast infection that a baby can get in their mouth and/or nursing mothers can get on their nipples.
I had a terrible time trying to defeat it.
But in the end coconut oil was what got me through.
Thrush can be horrible.
Believe me, I know. Despite the fact that during my pregnancy I had decided I would not get thrush (ha ha I love all the ways my parenting ideas were proven ridiculous once reality set in), I literally battled it for months before I got it under control.
When I took J to a check up at 3 months, the pediatrician said she had thrush in her mouth. I almost didn't believe her, it just looked like spit up spots stuck in there. But I took her word for it and I immediately asked, "Do I need to do anything so I don't get it?" (I'm still irritated at her lackluster response.) She barely told me, "If you see any on you, just put some Monistat on it." (No directions on how often or anything.)
Well, I had never seen thrush before that day so I was looking for white spots on me to match J's spots.
I never saw a single spot on me. So no Monistat for me.
And J's white spots went away with her medicine.
Cut to a couple months later, I was nursing through excruciating pain. It started when I noticed that my nipples were cracked, and I figured this was just a normal part of breastfeeding and that I just needed to work through it. It got worse and worse, to the point where I told Blake, "If anything other than my baby were to hurt me like this, I would punch it in the face." I was having to do deep breathing to get through nursing sessions. And I even cried a time or two before I latched her on to the extra sore side because I was dreading the experience so much. Nursing ended up being so painful that I wasn't letting down fully and I was getting clogged ducts up higher on my breast. At this point, I was out of town and to my utter dismay I didn't have my pump with me, so I spent a good hour locked away in a room massaging the lump trying to hand express to relieve myself. It was crazy.
It was then that I realized something had to be wrong. I knew when I got home I was heading straight to the lactation consultants.
One look at me and the consultant said "Thrush."
I was baffled.
There was no white dots.
She went on to explain that she could tell because my nipple was very pink and shiny (almost like it had a clear coat of nail polish on it.)
I didn't notice pinkness, I mean isn't pink pretty normal for a nipple? And the shiny, well they are wet all the time, it just seemed to go with the territory.
But once I heard her tell me that and I looked more closely, yeah the top of the nipple itself was way more pink than even the rim of the nipple --- which was still much more pink than the areola. And the shininess was there no matter how dry they were.
If only I had known what I was looking for I could have gotten treatment a long time ago and not suffered so long!
I also learned that day (much to my irritation) that anytime mother or baby has thrush, they both need to be treated until it goes away. (Wish I had known that too, I might never have even gotten it in the first place!)
So I got myself medicine and J some drops (again), and we worked at it.
I washed everything I wore in hot water every time I wore it. The days of wearing a bra for more than one day were over. I cleaned J's toys with hydrogen peroxide. Any pump parts were boiled, and I didn't freeze any milk (because only heat kills yeast, not cold. So the milk could reinfect us.)
I went through 3 kinds of creams, and two different two-week pill treatments for it. It helped, I wasn't in terrible pain anymore, but I knew it was still there. I was a bit sore no matter what I tried.
At the same time, for other reasons (nutrition!) I was reading a nutrition book, and came across one sentence in the whole book that said coconut oil has anti-fungal properties. I just spent the last few months putting anti-fungal cream on my boobs day in and day out, wiping it off to nurse all the time. The word anti-fungal jumped out at me like a beacon.
I was willing to try anything.
We bought some coconut oil and I began to put it on every time I nursed and anytime I thought of it in between.
I loved that I didn't need to worry if I nursed J with it still on. It's not a poison concern (as some medicines are), it's just a natural oil.
Well, like magic the thrush just seemed to fade away completely.
I was so relieved. FINALLY!
So I just wanted to share this in case you find yourself in a similar situation.
By all means, if you think you have thrush, be smarter than me and go see a doctor (or at least a lactation consultant) early and follow their advice. I am sure with how intense my case seemed to be, their prescriptions were necessary. But in addition you may want to start using coconut oil and maybe, like me, it will clear you up.
I plan to use it next time we have a baby as a soothing cream right off the bat. I'll keep lanolin on hand, but my go-to will be coconut oil. With its moisturizing ability and its anti-fungal properties it's an awesome nursing companion.
If you are like me and have no prior experience with coconut oil,
here are a few things to note.
You can buy it in the grocery store --- it's most likely alongside the olive and vegetable oils --- but it comes in a jar, not a bottle.
And that's because since coconut oil is from the tropics it becomes solid at temperatures under 76 degrees.
It's actually a pretty amazing oil. I use it as a face moisturizer all the time (and I have break out prone skin, but I think the fact that its antimicrobial actually keeps me from breaking out.)
If you Google it up you can learn lots and lots of amazing things about it.
I just read that it might possibly help you grow longer eyelashes!
(Who knows, but it sounds pretty sweet!)
So that's my story.
I love coconut oil.
And Blake insisted on me saying it also makes for amazing stove top popcorn.