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Thread: Thrush or just poor positioning?

  1. #1
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    May 2006
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    Default Thrush or just poor positioning?

    I can't tell if my baby and I have thrush. She's 5 weeks old and I've been breastfeeding the entire time. She doesn't have the "cottage cheese" white spots in her mouth, and she doesn't seem to be in pain. However, she does have what looks like a coating in her mouth that's almost white. It's in her cheeks and the roof of her mouth. It's a light purplish, almost a mother of pearl type color.

    My nipples are extremely sore and are purple with white spots on them after she finishes eating. I also have shooting pains through my entire breast occasionally, and it doesn't seem to matter if she just finished eating or not. The shooting pains just come and go with no pattern at all. My nipples also seem to be hard all the time now, and they weren't before I gave birth. I don't know if it makes a difference, but I did have a yeast infection about 2 weeks before I gave birth and it was treated.

    The reason I wonder if it's poor positioning or maybe incorrect latch-on is because we've struggled with latch-on. My baby has a recessed chin, so I can't seem to get her mouth open extremely wide and I can't get her bottom lip to flare out. She's been eating really well and has gained a lot of weight, so I know she's latching on well enough to get what she needs without having to work too hard. Plus, she seems to take in most of the top of my areola, but not much of the bottom. If I get her to take in the bottom, she quickly moves her mouth so that her bottom lip is right underneath my nipple, but she is pretty much covering the rest of my areola.

    I'm just at the end of my rope with the nipple pain, and lanolin just isn't cutting it. I've tried numerous positions, as well as working with her mouth when latching on. Any help/insight would be GREATLY appreciated!!!

  2. #2
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    Apr 2006
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    Default Re: Thrush or just poor positioning?

    Sounds very much like thrush to me. All those symptoms are what I had both times we had it.
    Lanolin only made it more painful when we had thrush, and normally I would swear by the stuff! I would see your pedi or an LC.

  3. #3
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    Feb 2006
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    Default Re: Thrush or just poor positioning?

    Hi Aimee -- congratulations on your daughter; I'm sorry you're having these problems. Your symptoms do sound very much like thrush, and with your recent history of a yeast infection, it's all the more likely to be thrush. Thrush can manifest in so many different ways, that we often advise moms to go ahead and treat for thrush, and if it gets better, than that confirms the diagnosis.

    I think you are wise to suspect the latch/positioning problems are part of this however. Were your nipples sore or damaged by your daughter's latch before the thrush started? It appears that any break in the skin can give thrush a real foothold, making it hard to completely get rid of it. Once the latch problems are corrected, the nipples can heal and the immune system can finally get on top of the thrush too.

    --Rebecca

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Thrush or just poor positioning?

    Quote Originally Posted by quakerm0mma
    Were your nipples sore or damaged by your daughter's latch before the thrush started?
    They were very sore when I first started breastfeeding, and then they seemed to get better. I'm not really sure that they were ever 100% better, but there was a period where I wasn't having any soreness at all during feedings.

    I'm not quite sure how to correct the latching problems, because I feel that I've tried everything. If I get the thrush taken care of before I'm able to correct the latch on problems, will I still continue to have problems with thrush?

    I'm feeling slightly discouraged because of these problems. On top of all of that, I am not really able to pump. I was trying to pump for two reasons: to increase my milk supply and to have milk available for bottle feedings. I'm only able to get a decent amount of milk while pumping if my baby hasn't eaten for a while (or if we've skipped a feeding because I gave her a formula bottle when we were out). I've tried to pump after she eats, which I was told would increase my supply, and I don't really get anything. I've never been engorged (at least not to the point where I was in pain), regardless of how many hours she goes without eating. My breasts get full and hard, but nothing like what other women describle. I'm just worried that I'll never get the hang of pumping and that I'll continue to have problems with breastfeeding.

    I really appreciate the responses regarding the thrush. It makes me feel a lot better that it's very likely that there's another contributing factor besides latch on. I just wish that I could correct the latch on problem. I'm beginning to think that maybe it's too late to fix it because she seems set in her ways of latching on.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Thrush or just poor positioning?

    Aimee, I can understand your frustration and concerns. You've obviously worked very hard to establish successful breastfeeding ... and then along comes another problem. Thrush can be truly miserable, and I hope that you will be able to treat it effectively and get rid of it promptly!

    I want to address your concerns about latch and milk supply. I am very encouraged to hear that you did reach a point where nursing didn't hurt -- that's very significant! That fact, plus her good diapers and weight gain, suggest to me that while your baby's latch may never look quite like the pictures in the textbooks, it works just fine to move milk into her tummy without hurting you. This is all that really matters, especially as babies move past the newborn stage and breastfeeding and milk supply become well-established, which is just about where you are at this point.

    Given this fact, I think you should not worry overmuch about poor latch causing persistent thrush. Just go ahead and treat the thrush, according to guidelines on the LLL website or at kellymom.com (post again if you want help finding these links -- I'm typing with an impatient 4yo at my shoulder this morning!)

    About the pumping -- when you are nursing a baby full-time, pumping after feedings provides extra stimulation to your breasts, which tells them to make more milk in the future, but it usually does NOT produce much EBM. As you have found, the best way to get usable amounts of EBM is to pump between feedings instead. So your account of what's happening with pumping sounds quite normal, actually.

    I want to close with something really eloquent and encouraging, but my son insists on my full attention right now. Do post again if you have any further questions or concerns. You're doing great!

    --Rebecca

    P.S. Forgot to add -- be sure you pay attention to guidelines for dealing with pump parts, bottles, pacifiers etc. while you are treating thrush. They can harbor it and re-introduce it to you and baby if not boiled etc. I would hate for that to happen and have you think it's caused by a latch problem instead. Let us know if you need help finding this information.
    Last edited by quakerm0mma; May 21st, 2006 at 07:01 AM.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Thrush or just poor positioning?

    Hi Aimee~
    I just had to post, because I literally could have written your original post... WORD FOR WORD!! No lie.. My daughter will be 5 weeks this wed, and we're going to see the doctor tomorrow for the EXACT same thing!! I'd been concerned that her occasional frusteration w/ nursing & my weird nipple pains were latch issues (she too has the recessed chin) in fact she was born into this world sucking on her lower lip.. a habit that ended when my milk came in, but yet it has been (& sometimes still is) to get that lower lip to fan out on my breast instead of inward..anyway.. I've just recently realized that I outta get us checked out for thrush too, & now after some internet research and reading your post, I'm pretty sure thrush is the major culprit..

    Hope things get better for you & your sweet baby!!

    Robynn
    Mom to Ava 4 1/2 wks, Ryan 9 yrs, and Luke 11 yrs.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Thrush or just poor positioning?

    I'm so glad this website is here and that I came to it for help. I probably would've continued thinking that I just wasn't good at breastfeeding. Rebecca, thank you especially for all of your help. I called my pediatrician today, and he called in prescriptions for both of us. It's the first day, so obviously no improvement, yet, but I'm hoping for the best. The cream that I put on causes burning, but as far as I'm concerned, that just reinforces my belief that we do, in fact, have thrush.

    Robynn, that's interesting that our situations are so similar. At least we have someone to share our pain with! I'm beginning to think that I was way too focused on getting her lower lip to flare out. I think it flares out enough, and I think that breastfeeding is going well, thrush aside. I can't wait to see how it is once the thrush has cleared up.

    I'm a little confused about the treatment, because I think the nurse put the wrong dosage information on the prescription. The bottle says, "1 cc in each cheek," but a website that I looked at said "1 cc between both cheeks," so basically 0.5 cc in each cheek. I may have to call the doctor tomorrow just to clarify. Also, I'm not sure if the cream that I apply needs to be cleaned before the baby eats or if I just need to wait a certain amount of time after applying the cream. I definitely don't want her to eat anything toxic! But at the same time, my nipples are so sore that I don't really know how I can wash it off (other than a shower, and I can't shower 4 times a day!).

    Anyway, i'm feeling a lot better now, and I can't wait to see the outcome!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Thrush or just poor positioning?

    Glad to hear you've gotten treatment underway. Do follow up with your healthcare provider if you're not clear about the dosage etc., and do look on kellymom.com for Dr. Jack Newman's handout about treating thrush. We hear from a lot of moms whose doctors don't treat it aggressively enough, and that can result in a more persistent case. I hope yours clears up quickly -- do keep us posted.

    --Rebecca

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