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When Breast Feeding Starts to HURT - Hello Ductal Thrush

I'm lucky enough to be able to exclusively breast feed Sam (as I did with my other 2 boys). I like breast feeding. Lots of good health benefits, allows me to sit on the sofa for long stretches guiltfree and I don't have to sterilize anything. For the Queen of Idleness that I am, this is pure heaven.

Only this time, it's all going a bit wrong. For the first time I'm struggling a bit to feed and for the first time I've encountered the medical professions knowledge about breast feeding. It's been an eye opener.

The symptoms started when Sam was 6 weeks. A deep pain in my breast, which I thought was a bit of a blocked duct or maybe the very beginnings of mastitis. So I fed through it (eyes watering all the way) and it went away. Somewhat later Sam had terrible nappy rash that I simply couldn't shift. Lotions, potions and hours of time with no nappy on (which as any mother of boys will know is a dangerous thing) were all to no avail. Eventually it cleared up and I thought no more of it. Then the breast pain came back. Then the nappy rash came back. Breast feeding wasn't much fun, Sam was coming on and off the breast whereas he'd been guzzling like an American SUV only a week earlier.

I knew that something wasn't quite right so I went to the GP, armed with a suspicion that what I had was Ductal Thrush, a nice little yeast infection which gets passed backwards and forwards between a nursing mother and her baby. The GP didn't have a clue. Admitedly we weren't presenting typically. Sam had no signs of thrush in his mouth at all, and I had none on my nipple.

Oh said the GP I don't know. Why don't you access your breast feeding network and see what they suggest and if it doesn't go away come back in a few weeks.

Helpful stuff. Luckily for me there was Muddling Along Mummy online and and another friend who is also a breast feeding councillor who both suggested Ductal Thrush as a probable cause. Solution, a nice drug which isn't licenced for breast feeding mothers so GPs tend to not prescribe it.

Back to the GP we went via the health visitor. I had Sam weighed and my suspicions that he wasn't really gaining any weight were confirmed. A bouncing 75th percentile boy is now a 25th percentile one. He's gained 4oz in 4 weeks. Now I've no idea if the slow down in weight gain is anything to do with the thrush, but it convinced the health visitor to go and bash the GP over the head until he wrote out the prescription. I virtually sprinted to get to the chemist to start the regime.

I was surprised at many things. First having not had any problems breast feeding before, I was surprised to have some this time. I was surprised at how much it hurt. I was surprised at how nasty the nappy rash was. But most of all, I was surprised at how little the GP knew about breast feeding.

Fingers cross we can bash this infection on the head and I can go back to my painfree sofa fests shortly.

For anyone who suspects they may have Ductal Thrush the Breast Feeding Network have an excellent leaflet. Print it out and take it with you when you see your Doctor, just in case you have the same GP as me.

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When Breast Feeding Starts to HURT - Hello Ductal Thrush + heaven