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My nipples are the boss

August 24, 2012

This post is about my nipples.  If you got here searching for porn, you’re out of luck.  In part it’s a cautionary tale to ask for antifungals the minute a doctor puts you on antibiotics.  But if you manage to get to the end it’s also me whining about food.  Fun!

When I was in labor (and for several days afterward) both Hatch and I got a mess of antibiotics due to my fever and their fear that my uterus was infecting us both.  Those of you who’ve had broad spectrum antibiotics for days on end are probably familiar with the yeast infection that often follows (and if not, count yourself lucky).  If you don’t have kids, what you may not know is that it’s very common to get yeast on your nipples and in your baby’s mouth if you’ve had antibiotics and are breastfeeding.  It has a fancy name (thrush), and it’s a bitch.

The symptoms can vary, but for me it has mostly involved a combination of itchy, uncomfortable nipples and burning shooting pain in my breasts, along with gunky white patches all over Hatch’s mouth and raging diaper rask.  Getting rid of it involves a crazy dance of sanitizing everything that touches you or the baby on a daily basis, washing your hands constantly, eating massive amounts of probiotics, and antifungals of various sorts.  We started treatment when Hatch was two weeks old and while Hatch’s mouth and diaper rash cleared up right away, and the pain was mostly gone, my nipples are still in a funk months later.

Being a lactation consultant myself, and having talked to several that I know, we figured that it was just a really persistent case and that I probably needed more of the big-gun oral antifungals (which my NP refused to prescribe).  Those of you who find this and think you have the magic thrush cure, please let me know!  We tried (in this order, but many in combination): nystatin, grapefruit seed extract, probiotic powder sprinkled on my nipples, gentian violet, diflucan, triple nipple cream, and coconut oil.

gentian violet is a mess

Anyway, before we left on vacation I ended up seeing a few of the lactation consultants I know in person and we have an new hypothesis.  I’m pretty sure I have some combination of thrush and psoriasis on my nipples.  Since we’ve tried everything else under the sun for the thrush, I’m now on a crazy gluten and sugar-free diet.  That includes all dairy, fruit, vegetables that might be confused for fruit (carrots, root veggies, squash), and pretty much anything that tastes good.  Guys, I have been living off chocolate since Hatch was born.  While I fully admit that my sugar intake is probably part of the problem, I’m getting to the point where I’m not 100 percent convinced that it’s better to have funk-free nipples than it is to eat cake.

Cake helps me forget about the boob issues and the crying baby and the husband who just cooked himself a pizza after eating my gluten-free snack that I’d made this morning during the one time of day where Hatch will let me set him down without flipping out.  I’m reading Bringing up Bebe right now, and I’m pretty sure that if I were French I’d 1) not be breastfeeding anymore and 2) I’d eat the damn cake (and then probably not eat anything else for a week…but I’d eat the cake).

I love breastfeeding, don’t get me wrong.  But, I am so looking forward to the day I’m not under the tyrannical rule of my nipples.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Karen permalink
    November 17, 2012 4:49 am

    so i just happened across this in my internet search for others in the same situation as me. Ive tried all sorts of treatments like you and haven’t been able to shake this thrush… im sitting here typing topless with purple nipples =) day and still no real improvement. I guess what I’m wondering is did you every recover and what cured it ??

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