How Thrush Affects Breastfeeding

There are many potential difficulties that you may face as a breastfeeding mother. One such problem is your baby getting thrush. This is a fungal infection that thrives in warm wet places and it is common for babies to get oral thrush. This can then lead to a number of other problems for both you and your baby and can have a negative impact on breastfeeding. It is important to understand what these problems are and how thrush can be treated.

The effects of thrush for baby

You may initially notice that your baby has oral thrush when white spots appear on your baby’s tongue and around the inside of their mouth. This may be mistaken for milk or sick initially. However, if you can’t wipe away the white with your finger then it is possible that your baby has oral thrush. You may also notice that your baby is fussing around the breast and not feeding as well as usual. Furthermore, as thrush passes through the digestive system it can cause nappy rash.

Effects of thrush on the mother

Thrush is easily passed from mother to baby when breastfeeding. The result of this is that the mother will have thrush on her nipples. They may appear to be a different color and are often cracked and painful. Breastfeeding may be difficult as you have to cope with the pain at every feed.

Problems caused

Pain is the biggest problem that is caused by thrush for both you and your baby and this is why it is important to seek medical advice and get treatment as soon as possible. The pain in the baby’s mouth may prevent them from latching on properly and this in turn can exasperate any pain that you are experiencing. The pain you experience may mean that you are finding it difficult to breastfeed and may even consider switching to bottle feeding. Another problem is that it can affect the feeding routine you have developed, especially in the early days if breastfeeding has not fully been established.


It is likely that the recommended treatment will be threefold. Firstly, the baby needs treatment for the oral thrush and this will probably be in the form of oral medication. Secondly, as the thrush passes through the digestive system and may have caused nappy rash, this needs treatment with an anti-fungal cream. Finally, oral thrush passes to the mothers nipples when breastfeeding so it is important to also treat the mother with an anti-fungal cream that is applied to the nipples. Mothers can also benefit from taking painkillers before breastfeeding, although it is important to seek advice about safe medications and quantities when breastfeeding a baby.


Oral thrush is a fungal infection that can affect young babies and can also be passed to the mother. It may cause pain for both mother and baby when breastfeeding. This can then affect feeding routines. It is important to seek medical advice immediately so that you can receive the appropriate treatment for both you and your baby.