Treating Thrush

Having you or your baby diagnosed with Thrush can feel overwhelming. Thrush can be found vaginally, on your nipples or in your baby’s mouth and/or diaper. Symptoms are typically itching, shiny and flaking skin on your nipples, pain throughout the feed or with every suck and/or white patches inside your baby’s cheeks that don’t rub off.

 However, Thrush can be difficult to diagnose in the first place. If you are experiencing painful feeds reach out to a Lactation Consultant before you begin treatment because often nipple pain can be due to a poor latch or vasospasm and NOT yeast.


What do I do if it really is Thrush?

 With my breastfeeding clients I’m noticing that often pediatricians and GP’s are still prescribing Nystatin Liquid as the first option for treating Thrush. However, we know that Nystatin contains Sugar. Los Angeles based pediatrician Dr. Jay Gordon, points out that this is probably why Nystatin isn’t very effective against treating Thrush because yeast thrives on sugar. Gentian Violet is also something that is often suggested for treatment of Thrush, but can VERY messy and hard to manage.


Citricidal Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE) Topically:

GSE is a great place to start when diagnosed with Thrush because it is safe, easy to use and if done properly will improve your symptoms rapidly within a few days.  To use GSE topically add 15 drops to 30 ml (1 ounce) of distilled water. Tap water can reduce the effectiveness of the GSE, so use distilled water for this solution when possible.

For application, use a clean absorbent swab such as a Q-Tip on your nipples after every feed, let dry for a few minutes, then apply All Purpose Nipple Ointment. If nipples appear dry after using GSE topically, replacing the APNO with vitamin E or olive oil 3-4 times a day should help moisturize the skin. For your baby, apply the GSE solution in their mouth as well before every feed at the breast.

If symptoms don’t significantly improve after a few days increase the GSE drops to 25 to 30 ml (1 ounce) of water.

If symptoms are not improving with topical GSE alone try adding Oral GSE…

Grapefruit Seed Extract Capsules/Orally:

Dr. Jack Newman recommends taking 250 mg capsules 2- 3 x a day (750 mg daily) for the breastfeeding parent while continuing to apply GSE topically.


Still in Pain…

Diflucan (Fluconozole): 

(Anti-fungal and Antibiotic) Stops fungus and yeast from multiplying. A general prescription would start at a 400 mg dose on day 1 and then 100mg twice a day for up to 2 weeks. Sometimes it can take up to 4 days to a week to see any improvement and unfortunately if there is no change after 10 days Diflucan probably won’t be effective and you should be discontinued. Speak to your doctor before trying this medication due to potential side effects. Lastly, the breastfeeding parent should continue GSE while taking Diflucan orally or topically.



It’s always a good idea to introduce probiotics (Acidophilus with Bifidus) for you and your baby if Thrush if suspected. Speak to your doctor about the proper dosage, but typically you would take 1-2 capsules (strength of 10 billion cells) 2-3x/day. Dr. Jack Newman suggests taking the probiotics at least 1 hour apart from oral GSE. Baby can be treated with Probiotics 2x/day for about a week as well.

If you have any additional questions or need breastfeeding support while navigating Thrush, reach out to me directly!




1.     Newman, Dr. Jack.

2.     Gordon, Dr. Jay.