Natural Health

Fighting Yeast In The Body – Baby & Mama

February 25, 2013

How to Fight Yeast In The Body - Baby & Mama | GrowingUpHerbal.com | How to overcome thrush and yeast issues in baby and mama.

Question:

I am a nursing mother fighting yeast in the breast tissue for 7 months now…lots of ways and LOTS of pain! Baby has had no thrush or diaper rash. He has had repeated ear infections and therefore lots of meds…argh! I know he has internal yeast, too. Is there anything else I can do that will help? I’ve also been on a sugar/ carb free diet for months. I’ve tried meds, herbs, etc. HELP!!

Fighting Yeast In The Body

Whoa is me! I feel for you mama’s fighting yeast, thrush, systemic candida… whatever you’re dealing with because it’s a long process and a huge pain… especially if you’re doing it naturally. I know. I’ve been there.

There are a lot of online resources for dealing with candida (yeast) in the gut and on the skin (vaginal infections, baby’s mouth and bottom, nipples, groin area). If you do a Google search you’ll get a lot of different stories and remedies to try. So today, instead of adding to that, I’m going to tell you about it, about your two options (medication vs. natural treatment), and then I’ll tell you what I’d do if I were you at the bottom.

Yeast Is Everywhere

We all have yeast on our bodies and in our bodies. It only becomes a problem if something causes it to overgrow. If you have sufficient amounts of healthy bacteria in your gut, then it will keep yeast at the appropriate levels. If you take antibiotics (or even lots of Grapefruit Seed Extract), you’ll kill off the healthy bacteria in your gut and the yeast can overgrow leading to systemic candida. I should also note here that there are at least 10 different strains of candida… some are more stubborn than others.

I’m guessing this is what’s led to your yeast issue since your kiddo has had repeated ear infections and medications from it. Honestly, I’m not sure if antibiotic ear drops can cause this type of unbalance between healthy and unhealthy bacteria in the gut or if it’s only from oral antibiotics, but something has upset your little one’s balance in order for the yeast to overgrow.

Another common cause is diet. We Americans tend to eat way to many carbs and way to much sugar. Even eating a lot of fruit can be a problem… especially if you’re dealing with yeast. Yeast feed off of sugar. Carbs break down into sugars in the gut. You said you’d been on a sugar and carb free diet for months so that’s a step in the right direction.

Now… options.

Medication

Medication can definitely get rid of yeast, but it also has a negative side you should know about. There are two things you need to consider when using yeast medications.

1. Sometimes it doesn’t work which causes the yeast to adapt to it. This means that the next time you use this same medication it won’t work and your yeast issue can get worse. That means you’ll be moving on to stronger antifungal meds which are more harmful to your body, or you’ll chose to do things naturally. Going the natural route at this point can be harder because the yeast has become stronger and more in number.

If you do choose the common medication for yeast (Nystatin) be sure to use it until you’re sure the yeast is gone and then follow up with the natural treatments below to do you best to keep the yeast from coming back. Nystatin is said to be the mildest, which is why it’s prescribed for babies, because it isn’t absorbed by the GI tract. It’s passed out in baby’s stool and not absorbed into the body… which is good.

2. If the common antifungal medication (Nystatin) doesn’t work, keep in mind that the stronger antifungal meds are some of the worst medications for your liver. Every time you use these on yourself and your kid… and with yeast it can be a lot… you’re slowly damaging your liver.

To me… with what I know now… meds are not my first option. I can’t stand thrush… especially when nursing. Everything in me wants to run to the doctor and grab the Nystatin prescription they’ll be throwing at me so I can get rid of it quickly as soon as it shows up, but when I consider the above things… I decide to go natural first and save the meds for when I REALLY need them. That’s what they were made for.

Natural

Treating yeast naturally is a long road, and like I said, I’m not going to cover everything here because so many awesome people are already doing so online. You can find a lot of different remedies that can help you. I just want to give you some solid direction in what to look for.

1. Start with diet

  • If you’re suffering with yeast in your gut… cut out all carbs and sugar. It’s TOUGH, but it will help. Yeast feed off these things so getting rid of them in your diet will help get rid of the yeast.
  • Drink herbal tea that has antifungal properties to help kill off any extra yeast in your gut.
  • Replace healthy bacteria in your gut using probiotics and fermented or cultured foods. Yogurt, kiefer, kombucha, sauerkraut and other similar foods can help.

 

2. Hygiene

Yeast spreads sooooo easily. Keep yourself clean.

  • If you’re nursing, use disposable nursing pads so yeast doesn’t get on your bra. It’s difficult to wash clothes and kill yeast. You have to use HOT, HOT water, and that’s a lot of changing and washing clothes.
  • If baby has yeast in his mouth (thrush), consider pumping so you don’t pass the yeast back and forth. Plus this helps with the pain factor of mom getting yeast on her and trying to nurse. OUCH!!!!! Be sure that you wash all pump parts that touch you as well as baby bottles and pacifiers really, really well. Remember… HOT, HOT, HOT!
  • If it’s on your baby’s bottom, switch to disposable diapers (healthy ones if possible) or just accept the fact that you’ll need to wash cloth diapers more.
  • Lastly… I need to add this in. You and your man can pass yeast back and forth during sex. Yep. Especially if your man is uncircumcised. (No nasty circumcision comments please. GUH is Switzerland on this issue. To each his own. Please keep your opinions to yourself or they’ll be removed!) If you’re struggling with yeast, your man needs to be treated too!

 

3. Focus on pH

If you’re dealing with yeast on the skin, one thing you can do is change the pH of your skin. Yeast (and most nasty things) like acidic environments. If you can make your skin more alkaline, you’re making an unsuitable environment for yeast to live it. Apple cider vinegar and baking soda washes and rinses work really well.

4. Antifungal herbal supplements

Lastly, there are herbal options that will help. Creams, teas, douches, capsules, and tinctures all exist to help your body get rid of yeast. If one herb doesn’t work for you, go for something else. Not all herbs work for all people. You’ve got to keep trying. If you’re doing the above 3 things, then adding in herbal supplements can be the thing that helps get you over this battle. Google “antifungal herbs” to find out what’s available. You can buy pre-made products or you can make your own. Just be sure the herbs you’re checking out are safe for you while nursing and for your baby.

Essential oils are fabulous too. The two best for yeast are Lavender essential oil and Tea Tree essential oil.

In Conclusion

Yeast is a tough one, but it can be done naturally if you’re consistent and you’re patient. It won’t last forever. So many women have fought this battle naturally and are very sympathetic and willing to help give you suggestions and direction.

Now if it were me again, and I were in your exact situation…

I’d research and figure out how to treat my little one’s ear infections naturally to cut back on those antibiotics. Did you know that most doctors don’t even treat ear infections any more if the kid is below a certain age. That’s right! Recent studies have shown that they go away on their own and that comfort measures are all that are needed.

As for the yeast. I’d start with the diet, hygiene, and pH areas I discussed above. As for supplements, I’d make myself a good antifungal tincture (or buy one) and take it religiously. I’d also make an oil or cream to use on the breast with the yeast in it. (Yes yeast can travel into the milk ducts!) That way I’m fighting yeast on the inside of my body with the tincture and through the skin with the cream/oil.

Now… for baby… I’d do all the same things for him, minus the oil or cream unless he starts showing external signs of yeast.

I will add that although I do follow the above natural methods with thrush, I’ve always had to get the meds as well to help. I want to be upfront and honest with you. I’m not anti-medicine… just anti-meds right off the bat! I don’t know if my baby’s and I tend to get the more resistant strains of candida or what, but I can do all the natural methods above and they help clear the thrush up until it’s almost gone, but they won’t totally get rid of it. I end up needing the meds to fully kick it. If I don’t, it tends to come back with a vengence, leaving me as one sore, MISERABLE, nursing mama, and well… baby has to eat something. It’s either the meds or formula so we’ll take our chances with the meds. Thankfully though, it clears up quickly at that point so we’re not on meds for long, and I go back to the natural methods after that in order to keep it from coming back.

Hope this helps! If you have any other questions, ask away in the comment section below!

xo xo, Meagan


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12 Comments

  • Reply Leesa C February 25, 2013 at 4:24 PM

    I only have noticeable yeast inside the ducts. Baby and I have it no where else. I have treated with diet, herbs, and external cream on breast. Ready to give up. Nursing and do whatever it takes! Best herbs?
    Thanks!

    • Reply Meagan February 27, 2013 at 10:43 AM

      I see Leesa. This is a tough one because a lot of the BEST antifungal herbs are a big no-no for pregnant/nursing mothers. So there are a couple things that I’d do if it were me. 1.) I’d start with the milder herbs that are okay while nursing, stick with them for a while, and see if they help. If not… I’d move on to this… 2.) If you want to keep nursing, but you need the stronger herbs to get rid of this and you have the option of weaning your little guy for a brief period of time, then get a breast pump so you can pump and dump your milk while you’re on these herbs. Once you’re done with the herbs and the yeast is gone, you can pick back up on nursing your little one.

      Again, for internal use… tinctures are best. Externally, oils and poultices would work. Check out the “Using Herbs” page to find out more.

      So here are some of the milder anti-fungal herbs that are okay during nursing.

      Garlic – fabulous antifungal. Suggested dose of garlic tincture is 5-6 tsp. each day. Works awesome as external oil. Blend raw garlic with olive oil and apply to skin 3 times a day.

      Chamomile – great herb for candida. You can drink this as a tea throughout the day or take it in smaller amounts as a tincture. Careful if you’re allergic to ragweed… start small and work your way up. Great externally too as oil or tea skin wash.

      Pau D’Arco – contains 3 anti-yeast compounds. Use tincture for internal use and strong oil or salve for external use.

      Echinacea – this would be to boost your immune system in order to help rid your body of yeast. Use as tincture or tea.

      Spearmint – this is only to mask the flavor of the other herbs if you’re using them as a tea.

      You can combine these tinctures together or you can take everything separately. You can also combine these herbs into a tea or into an oil or salve to save you time rather than applying them each individually.

      Antifungal herbs not recommended for nursing.

      Licorice – contains 25 antifungal compounds. Again, tincture for internal use or strong decoction (tea using roots) for external skin wash 3 times a day. Licorice can cause water retention and high blood pressure so keep an eye out for those things.

      Black Walnut – this is mostly used for parasites, but has also been used with good results for yeasts. Tincture is best for this herb. 10-20 drops daily.

      Best of luck Leesa. I’d love to know what you try and how it works out for you. Let me know if you have any other questions!

  • Reply Kristy January 17, 2014 at 3:38 PM

    This is extremely helpful, Meagan! I battled yeast overgrowth for several years, so I know how hard it is to beat! Thanks for this informative article.

    • Reply Meagan January 17, 2014 at 10:51 PM

      Welcome! I’m glad you found it helpful!

  • Reply Crystal July 23, 2014 at 6:26 PM

    I have yeast everywhere. Face, scalp and candida infection. How should men be treated? Over the counter cream? I’m off carbs and sugar, but with his job it would be too much for him. Also, what teas (brand) do you recommend?
    Thanks!

    • Reply Meagan July 23, 2014 at 10:06 PM

      Humm Crystal. I’m curious. Have you been to a doctor and told that it was yeast all over? I’m asking because yeast doesn’t usually live where it’s dry… only in warm, moist areas of the body so when you said you have it on your face and scalp it threw me off. Maybe you’re talking about eczema which can be caused by candida?? Anyway, diet is the biggest thing to start with. After that, I’d personally try to do my best to flood my gut with healthy foods full of beneficial bacteria like cultured and fermented foods. I’d also drink infusions of antifungal herbs to help as well. When it comes to meds, there are OTC yeast meds you can use, but personally, it would depend on what was going on with me before I’d use them. They’d definitely be a last step. And men are treated the same way as women with yeast. Hope that helps.

  • Reply Lauren July 29, 2014 at 7:53 AM

    My little guy has had thrush for several weeks now and it hasn’t gone away like it should so I’m trying to up my game now. I’m planning on restricting carbs and sugar, drinking echinacea tea, chamomile tincture and eating garlic and fermented foods. Does this sound like an effective plan? Hopefully so as I have all of this stuff already! :) Question- can I do the ACV and BS rinse on my breasts directly? Final question- can yeast be visible on my son’s penis? It looks like there might be a spot at the tip but I just can’t tell right now. He is not circumcised and I understand this can make a difference. Thank you for your thoughts!!

    • Reply Meagan July 29, 2014 at 8:54 AM

      Thanks for your comment Lauren. I just updated this post so feel free to go back through it. As for your plan… it sounds great. Keep in mind you can also make a paste of powdered probiotics for you and baby’s mouth too that can help. Best of luck mama!!

      • Reply Lauren August 2, 2014 at 12:26 PM

        Thanks a lot for the reply!! I talked to my naturopathic doctor and he gave me some flora chewable wafers by a company called Energetix. Too early to tell obviously but I am hopeful that it will help. I am concerned though about the spot I noticed on baby- do you see any harm of putting some garlic-infused olive oil down there? Any other oil or cream you recommend?

        • Reply Meagan August 2, 2014 at 8:36 PM

          Taking probiotics is very helpful with yeast so hopefully that will help along with the other things you recommend. I’d still recommend a powdered probiotic so you can make a paste with it. That gave me the most relief by applying that to myself and then getting baby to latch on and nurse, transferring it to him and his mouth. As for putting garlic oil directly on baby, it should be fine as long as it’s not too strong. Garlic can burn. If it were me personally, I’d use garlic, calendula, and a tiny bit of black walnut, infuse those into an oil, and put that on him. That way the garlic isn’t so strong by itself and you’ve got other antifungal herbs working too.

  • Reply Melissa October 21, 2014 at 11:32 PM

    I always had a difficult time keeping the cream on our little’s bum instead of rubbing off onto the diaper. In order to keep the cream on the bum & wick moisture away from the skin, I cut pieces of microfleece & place over the cream, like a bum bandaid (with the soft nap towards baby’s skin). Microfleece is used in cloth diapering to wick moisture but it also keeps the diaper rash cream from rubbing off on the diaper. Plus it’s a lot more comfortable against baby’s skin than a diaper.

    • Reply Meagan October 22, 2014 at 8:05 AM

      What a great idea! I’m sure that will be so helpful for mamas struggling with this. Thanks so much for sharing Melissa!

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