The browser you are using is too old for our website. Please visit from Chrome and you will be able to browse normally.


      Thrush and Breastfeeding

      Breast feeding positioning

      Thrush and Breastfeeding

      Read time: 4 minutes

      Here is our quick guide on what the symptoms are and how thrush happens with breastfeeding. If you believe you have thrush, please contact a health care professional.

      To reduce the chances of spreading thrush ensure everything that touches your nipples or baby’s mouth are clean1.

      You can continue to breastfeed with nipple thrush, however this may be very painful and therefore you can try to express breastmilk instead to feed to your baby and maintain milk supply2.

      What is thrush?

      Thrush is a bacterial infection which can be experienced in the nipple and baby’s mouth. During breastfeeding the environment of your nipples and baby’s mouth are warm, sugary and wet and therefore are a perfect environment for these bacteria to grow2.

      How to prevent thrush

      To reduce the chances of spreading thrush ensure everything that touches your nipples or baby’s mouth are clean, for example wash bras/breast pads and tops on a hot wash and sterilise any breast pumping equipment or bottles1.

      Breastfeeding has many benefits, including those which help your baby’s immune system. This is no different in the case of thrush and putting a small amount of breast milk on your nipples after feeding, can help to reduce the growth of thrush (candina) bacteria3.

      Thrush symptoms in breastfeeding4

      You or your baby can experience symptoms of thrush. If you believe your baby has thrush please contact a health care professional.

      Your symptoms

      • Nipple/ breast pain following feeding: Severe pain which lasts for up to an hour and has not been experienced in feeding before.
      • If you are experiencing flu like symptoms, with a fever or severe pain which feels like it is shooting through your breast, then you could have mastitis and should contact your health care professional.

      Baby’s symptoms

      • White spots on your baby’s mouth
      • Nappy rash
      • White film on lips which doesn’t wipe off
      • Discomfort/crying during feeding

      Brighter futures start here

      Discover more about infant development to help shape your baby's future

      Join now for free

      Not sure if your baby has thrush or something else? Use our baby symptom checker for advice on other possible causes.

      baby symptom checker

      Causes of thrush

      Thrush is more common in babies who:

      • Bottle feed
      • Use dummies
      • Feed expressed breast milk through a bottle

      This is due to the increased risk of infection, when you use equipment that your baby feeds from e.g. teats.

      To avoid this risk, make sure you sterilise your equipment correctly to avoid bacteria contamination.

      Treating a thrush infection in the breast4

      The treatment will also be given for you and your baby, usually in the form of a cream. This can be prescribed by your GP, so if you believe you or your baby has thrush please contact a health care professional. You will be given an anti-fungal gel/cream to apply to your baby’s mouth, which is safe to give your baby and will fight the infection1. Make sure you keep your hands clean, washing before and after applying your baby’s cream/gel to prevent spread of infection. You will be given cream to apply to your nipples, and possibly a tablet along with this. Also ensuring correct hygiene, washing your hands when applying the cream, will help to prevent the infection from lasting.

      As with any infection - eating a healthy breastfeeding diet, ensuring you get lots of sleep and making sure you and your baby have good personal hygiene, and drinking water will help to fight off the infection quickly.

      Can my baby catch thrush?

      Your baby can catch thrush from your nipple but will be treated when you are treated with a cream. In 80% of cases if you or your baby gets thrush then the other will get it, so it is important to make sure you clean anything which will be in contact with both you or your baby3.

      Can I still breastfeed with thrush?

      You can continue to breastfeed with nipple thrush, however this may be very painful and therefore you can try to express breastmilk instead to feed to your baby and maintain milk supply. It is not advised to freeze this milk however, as the milk keeps the infection during freezing and could give your baby thrush once the infection has been cleared1.

      1. NHS. 2018. Breastfeeding and thrush. NHS Choices, Health A-Z, Pregnancy and baby. [Accessed 6th January 2020]
      2. Wiener, S. J Midwifery Womens Health 2006;51(2):125-128
      3. Zöllner, M. and Jorge, A. Pesquisa Odontológica Brasileira, 2003;17(2):pp.151-155.
      4. Amir, L. BMJ. 2014;348:g2954

      Related articles

      Your baby's future health begins here

      Your baby's future health begins here

      At Aptaclub, we believe that experience helps to build resilience; that each new encounter, whether in pregnancy or after birth, can shape your baby’s future development. With our scientific expertise and one-to-one round the clock support, we can help you and your baby embrace tomorrow.

      Join Aptaclub

      Questions about feeding and nutrition?

      Our midwives, nutritionists and feeding advisors are always on hand to talk about feeding your baby. So if you have a question, just get in touch.

      Your privacy is important to us and therefore we would like to explain how we use cookies on this website. With your consent, we will use cookies to measure and analyse how our website is used (analytical cookies), to tailor it to your interests (personalisation cookies), and to show you relevant advertising and information (targeting cookies) we think you will like. For more information please read the cookie statement.

      Privacy Settings

      You can choose your preferences anytime for cookies and tracking. For more information please read our cookie policy.

      • Strictly necessary

        They are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off. They are usually only set in response to actions made by you which amount to a request for services (setting your privacy preferences, logging in, filling in forms, etc.). You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not then work.

      • Analytical cookies

        They allow us to count visits and traffic sources, to measure and improve the performance of our site. They show us which pages are the most and least popular and how visitors move around the site. If you do not allow these cookies we will not know when you have visited our site, and will not be able to monitor its performance.

      • Personalisation cookies

        They enable website’s enhanced functionality and personalization. They may be set by us or by third parties whose services we have added to our pages. If you do not allow these cookies, some or all of these services may not function properly.

      • Targeting cookies

        They may be set through our site by our advertising partners, to build a profile of your interests and to show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.