If you’ve ever had a baby with a yeast issue or had them yourself, you may be wondering how you can fight yeast in the body… your body and baby’s body, in a safe, natural, effective way. Yeast overgrowth, whether it’s in your gut or on baby’s bottom is no fun thing to deal with. I know. I’ve been there. So today, I want to share some tips on how to fight the good fight. The one against yeast overgrowth, that is!
There are a lot of online resources for dealing with candida (yeast) in the gut and on the skin (vaginal infections, baby’s mouth and bottom, nipples, groin area). If you do a Google search you’ll get a lot of different stories and remedies to try. So today, instead of adding to that, I’m going to tell you about it, about your two options (medication vs. natural treatment), and then I’ll tell you what I’d do if I were you at the bottom.
Yeast Is Everywhere
We all have yeast on and in our bodies. It only becomes a problem if something causes it to overgrow. If you have sufficient amounts of healthy bacteria in your gut, then it will keep yeast at the appropriate levels. If you take antibiotics (or even lots of Grapefruit Seed Extract), you’ll kill off the healthy bacteria in your gut and the yeast can overgrow leading to systemic candida. I should also note here that there are at least 10 different strains of candida… some are more stubborn than others.
I’m guessing this is what’s led to your yeast issue since your kiddo has had repeated ear infections and medications from it. Honestly, I’m not sure if antibiotic ear drops can cause this type of unbalance between healthy and unhealthy bacteria in the gut or if it’s only from oral antibiotics, but something has upset your little one’s balance in order for the yeast to overgrow.
Another common cause is diet. We Americans tend to eat way too many carbs and way too much sugar. Even eating a lot of fruit can be a problem… especially if you’re dealing with yeast. Yeast feeds off of sugar. Carbs break down into sugars in the gut. You said you’d been on a sugar and carb free diet for months so that’s a step in the right direction.
Medication For Yeast Overgrowth
Medication can definitely get rid of yeast, but it also has a negative side you should know about. There are two things you need to consider when using yeast medications.
1. Sometimes it doesn’t work which causes the yeast to adapt to it.
This means that the next time you use this same medication it won’t work and your yeast issue can get worse. That means you’ll be moving on to stronger antifungal meds which are more harmful to your body, or you’ll choose to do things naturally. Going the natural route at this point can be harder because the yeast has become stronger and more in number.
If you do choose the common medication for yeast (Nystatin) be sure to use it until you’re sure the yeast is gone and then follow up with the natural treatments below to do you best to keep the yeast from coming back. Nystatin is said to be the mildest, which is why it’s prescribed for babies because it isn’t absorbed by the GI tract. It’s passed out in baby’s stool and not absorbed into the body… which is good.
2. Antifungal medications can affect your liver.
If the common antifungal medication (Nystatin) doesn’t work, keep in mind that the stronger antifungal meds are some of the worst medications for your liver. Every time you use these on yourself and your kid… and with yeast it can be a lot… you’re slowly damaging your liver.
To me, with what I know now, meds are not my first option. I can’t stand thrush, especially when nursing. Everything in me wants to run to the doctor and grab the Nystatin prescription they’ll be throwing at me so I can get rid of it quickly as soon as it shows up, but when I consider the above things, I decide to go natural first and save the meds for when I REALLY need them. That’s what they were made for.
How To Fight Yeast In The Body… Naturally
Managing yeast naturally is a long road, and like I said, I’m not going to cover everything here because so many awesome people are already doing so online. You can find a lot of different remedies that can help you. I just want to give you some solid direction in what to look for.
1. Start with diet
- If you’re suffering from yeast in your gut, cut out all carbs and sugar. It’s TOUGH, but it will help. Yeast feed off these things so getting rid of them in your diet will help get rid of the yeast.
- Drink herbal tea that has antifungal properties to help kill off any extra yeast in your gut.
- Replace healthy bacteria in your gut using probiotics and fermented or cultured foods. Yogurt, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut and other similar foods can help.
Yeast spreads so easily. Keep yourself clean.
- If you’re nursing, use disposable nursing pads so yeast doesn’t get on your bra. It’s difficult to wash clothes and kill yeast. You have to use HOT, HOT water, and that’s a lot of changing and washing clothes.
- If baby has yeast in his mouth (thrush), consider pumping so you don’t pass the yeast back and forth. Plus this helps with the pain factor of mom getting yeast on her and trying to nurse. OUCH!!!!! Be sure that you wash all pump parts that touch you as well as baby bottles and pacifiers really, really well. Remember… HOT, HOT, HOT!
- If it’s on your baby’s bottom, switch to disposable diapers (healthy ones if possible) or just accept the fact that you’ll need to wash cloth diapers more.
- Lastly… I need to add this in. You and your man can pass yeast back and forth during sex. Yep. Especially if your man is uncircumcised. If you’re struggling with yeast, your man needs to be treated too!
3. Focus on pH
If you’re dealing with yeast on the skin, one thing you can do is change the pH of your skin. Yeast (and most nasty things) like acidic environments. If you can make your skin more alkaline, you’re making an unsuitable environment for yeast to live it. Apple cider vinegar and baking soda washes and rinses work really well.
4. Antifungal Herbal Supplements
Lastly, there are herbal options that will help. Creams, teas, douches, capsules, and tinctures all exist to help your body get rid of yeast. If one herb doesn’t work for you, go for something else. Not all herbs work for all people. You’ve got to keep trying. If you’re doing the above 3 things, then adding in herbal supplements can be the thing that helps get you over this battle. Google “antifungal herbs” to find out what’s available. You can buy pre-made products or you can make your own. Just be sure the herbs you’re checking out are safe for you while nursing and for your baby.
Essential oils are fabulous too. The two best for yeast are lavender essential oil and tea tree essential oil.
Yeast is a tough one, but it can be done naturally if you’re consistent and you’re patient. It won’t last forever. So many women have fought this battle naturally and are very sympathetic and willing to help give you suggestions and direction.
Now if it were me again, and I were in your exact situation…
I’d research and figure out how to treat my little one’s ear infections naturally to cut back on those antibiotics. Did you know that most doctors don’t even treat ear infections if the kid is below a certain age. That’s right! Recent studies have shown that they go away on their own and that comfort measures are all that are needed.
As for the yeast. I’d start with the diet, hygiene, and pH areas I discussed above. As for supplements, I’d make myself a good antifungal tincture (or buy one) and take it religiously. I’d also make an oil or cream to use on the breast with the yeast in it. (Yes yeast can travel into the milk ducts!) That way I’m fighting yeast on the inside of my body with the tincture and through the skin with the cream/oil.
Now… for baby… I’d do all the same things for him, minus the oil or cream unless he starts showing external signs of yeast.
I will add that although I do follow the above natural methods with thrush, I’ve always had to get the meds as well to help. I want to be upfront and honest with you. I’m not anti-medicine… just anti-meds right off the bat! I don’t know if my baby’s and I tend to get the more resistant strains of candida or what, but I can do all the natural methods above and they help clear the thrush up until it’s almost gone, but they won’t totally get rid of it. I end up needing the meds to fully kick it. If I don’t, it tends to come back with a vengeance, leaving me as one sore, MISERABLE, nursing mama, and well… baby has to eat something. It’s either the meds or formula so we’ll take our chances with the meds. Thankfully, though, it clears up quickly at that point so we’re not on meds for long, and I go back to the natural methods after that in order to keep it from coming back.
Hope this helps you if you’re a mama who’s fighting yeast in the body, whether it’s your body or babies body. You definitely have my sympathies mama, but thankfully, there are options that can help and provide relief!
30 thoughts on “How To Fight Yeast In The Body: Baby And Mama”
I only have noticeable yeast inside the ducts. Baby and I have it no where else. I have treated with diet, herbs, and external cream on breast. Ready to give up. Nursing and do whatever it takes! Best herbs?
I see Leesa. This is a tough one because a lot of the BEST antifungal herbs are a big no-no for pregnant/nursing mothers. So there are a couple things that I’d do if it were me. 1.) I’d start with the milder herbs that are okay while nursing, stick with them for a while, and see if they help. If not… I’d move on to this… 2.) If you want to keep nursing, but you need the stronger herbs to get rid of this and you have the option of weaning your little guy for a brief period of time, then get a breast pump so you can pump and dump your milk while you’re on these herbs. Once you’re done with the herbs and the yeast is gone, you can pick back up on nursing your little one.
Again, for internal use… tinctures are best. Externally, oils and poultices would work. Check out the “Using Herbs” page to find out more.
So here are some of the milder anti-fungal herbs that are okay during nursing.
Garlic – fabulous antifungal. Suggested dose of garlic tincture is 5-6 tsp. each day. Works awesome as external oil. Blend raw garlic with olive oil and apply to skin 3 times a day.
Chamomile – great herb for candida. You can drink this as a tea throughout the day or take it in smaller amounts as a tincture. Careful if you’re allergic to ragweed… start small and work your way up. Great externally too as oil or tea skin wash.
Pau D’Arco – contains 3 anti-yeast compounds. Use tincture for internal use and strong oil or salve for external use.
Echinacea – this would be to boost your immune system in order to help rid your body of yeast. Use as tincture or tea.
Spearmint – this is only to mask the flavor of the other herbs if you’re using them as a tea.
You can combine these tinctures together or you can take everything separately. You can also combine these herbs into a tea or into an oil or salve to save you time rather than applying them each individually.
Antifungal herbs not recommended for nursing.
Licorice – contains 25 antifungal compounds. Again, tincture for internal use or strong decoction (tea using roots) for external skin wash 3 times a day. Licorice can cause water retention and high blood pressure so keep an eye out for those things.
Black Walnut – this is mostly used for parasites, but has also been used with good results for yeasts. Tincture is best for this herb. 10-20 drops daily.
Best of luck Leesa. I’d love to know what you try and how it works out for you. Let me know if you have any other questions!
This is extremely helpful, Meagan! I battled yeast overgrowth for several years, so I know how hard it is to beat! Thanks for this informative article.
Welcome! I’m glad you found it helpful!
I have yeast everywhere. Face, scalp and candida infection. How should men be treated? Over the counter cream? I’m off carbs and sugar, but with his job it would be too much for him. Also, what teas (brand) do you recommend?
Humm Crystal. I’m curious. Have you been to a doctor and told that it was yeast all over? I’m asking because yeast doesn’t usually live where it’s dry… only in warm, moist areas of the body so when you said you have it on your face and scalp it threw me off. Maybe you’re talking about eczema which can be caused by candida?? Anyway, diet is the biggest thing to start with. After that, I’d personally try to do my best to flood my gut with healthy foods full of beneficial bacteria like cultured and fermented foods. I’d also drink infusions of antifungal herbs to help as well. When it comes to meds, there are OTC yeast meds you can use, but personally, it would depend on what was going on with me before I’d use them. They’d definitely be a last step. And men are treated the same way as women with yeast. Hope that helps.
Candidiasis or systemic Candida causes actual yeast overgrowth on scalp, etc, sometimes. It’s super annoying and really hard to kick. Diet is huge, but Solaray Yeast Cleanse (Pau D’Arco base) works really well for me when mine flares badly! Thanks for the article!
Oh, good to know there’s an effective supplement out there that can help! Thanks for shraing.
My little guy has had thrush for several weeks now and it hasn’t gone away like it should so I’m trying to up my game now. I’m planning on restricting carbs and sugar, drinking echinacea tea, chamomile tincture and eating garlic and fermented foods. Does this sound like an effective plan? Hopefully so as I have all of this stuff already! 🙂 Question- can I do the ACV and BS rinse on my breasts directly? Final question- can yeast be visible on my son’s penis? It looks like there might be a spot at the tip but I just can’t tell right now. He is not circumcised and I understand this can make a difference. Thank you for your thoughts!!
Thanks for your comment Lauren. I just updated this post so feel free to go back through it. As for your plan… it sounds great. Keep in mind you can also make a paste of powdered probiotics for you and baby’s mouth too that can help. Best of luck mama!!
Thanks a lot for the reply!! I talked to my naturopathic doctor and he gave me some flora chewable wafers by a company called Energetix. Too early to tell obviously but I am hopeful that it will help. I am concerned though about the spot I noticed on baby- do you see any harm of putting some garlic-infused olive oil down there? Any other oil or cream you recommend?
Taking probiotics is very helpful with yeast so hopefully that will help along with the other things you recommend. I’d still recommend a powdered probiotic so you can make a paste with it. That gave me the most relief by applying that to myself and then getting baby to latch on and nurse, transferring it to him and his mouth. As for putting garlic oil directly on baby, it should be fine as long as it’s not too strong. Garlic can burn. If it were me personally, I’d use garlic, calendula, and a tiny bit of black walnut, infuse those into an oil, and put that on him. That way the garlic isn’t so strong by itself and you’ve got other antifungal herbs working too.
I always had a difficult time keeping the cream on our little’s bum instead of rubbing off onto the diaper. In order to keep the cream on the bum & wick moisture away from the skin, I cut pieces of microfleece & place over the cream, like a bum bandaid (with the soft nap towards baby’s skin). Microfleece is used in cloth diapering to wick moisture but it also keeps the diaper rash cream from rubbing off on the diaper. Plus it’s a lot more comfortable against baby’s skin than a diaper.
What a great idea! I’m sure that will be so helpful for mamas struggling with this. Thanks so much for sharing Melissa!
What about virgin coconut oil? I’ve been using this and it is helping my eczema.. I use herban C teas which has been helping me … Not sure this tea is good for nursing mothers though. What about olive leaf teas?
There is a spray for anti-Itch, that I’m going to make and try.Recipe on Page 157, book “Hands on healing Remedies” by Stephanie L. Tourles.Do you have that New Book?
Also I found this website on Anti-fungal herbs:
I don’t have that book Monica, but I love Stephanie Tourles info so I’ll look for it. Coconut oil is great as it’s naturally anti-fungal as is the olive leaf. Both are great!
Bulk herb store sells it…It’s a new one out…
Good to know… thanks!
Hi! I’m battling a yeast rash on my son. 2 weeks of nystatin cleared it. I waited an additional week after that to return to cloth diapers (which I had decontaminated all of). I use water wipes (water and grapefruit seed extract). Could that be increasing the odds of reoccurrence? I saw you mentioned it kills good bacteria similarly to antibiotics themselves.
I do not use grapefruit seed extract at all. It’s too questionable in how it’s processed, and I have read that it can kill beneficial bacterial as well. If the rash is recurring, it could be that you need to strip your cloth diapers. I’m not a cloth diaper expert, but I believe there’s a process the diapers have to go through to get rid of bacteria/yeast in the fibers before reusing them. Next, make sure you’re changing baby frequently or using things that protect their skin (cloth diaper safe ointment) or keep their bottom dry between changes (baby powder). You can always make your own baby powders and cloth diaper safe creams that have antifungal herbs which can help as well. Hope that helps some, and best of luck, mama!
I had an overgrowth of Candida a year ago – diagnosed on one of those live blood analyses. This explained a terrible skin rash I had been suffering with – and no one, including a dermatologist had been able to find a cause or treatment for it. The rash was on my back, neck, face and chest and I would scratch until I bled.
To treat it, I did cut out sugars; cut way back on carbs; took an Olive Leaf Extract (a natural fungicide); drank a LOT of water and took a very strong (50 Billion) probiotic. It took a few months – but was completely successful!
Thanks for sharing your success story, Linda! I love olive leaf, by the way. It’s an antimicrobial herb and is a must-have in my sinus rinse blend (for those times I want to keep a sinus infection away)!
I have been dealing with thrush for about two months now with my three month old baby. Here’s my issue… The internet is a wealth of information and also one big contradictory mess. One can find an equal number of sources that say one herb is helpful and safe and those that stay it’s unsafe or inefective. One site Or blog will suggest one type of candida diet while the other will say something different. I’ve herb is an antifungal but reduces milk supply or something worse. One site says I must not stray from the diet or cleanse lest it prove ineffective and another says a breastfeeding mother should not forsaken calories and nutrition nessesary…. What am I to do?
Yes, you’re right. That is a tough situation. While I’ve not had to deal with candida while breastfeeding, I have dealt with it while pregnant. I shared that story in a post here. I would say the best thing to do is remove excess sugar and carbs from your diet where possible, eat more fermented and cultured foods, take probiotics with specific bacterial strains that help get yeast into check (S. boulardii), and use herbs that help balance the microbiome and specifically counter Candida that won’t compromise breastfeeding (Pau d’arco and garlic come to mind here). I would also think, washing your skin after nursing with Pau d’arco tea and perhaps swabbing your baby’s mouth with it before and after each nursing session could help as well. You may also want to consider pumping and bottle-feeding for a while until the situation gets under control to avoid passing the thrush back and forth between you and baby. Again, I know it can be frustrating as there’s so much contradictory information on the internet, but hopefully those tips give you some encouragement and help. Most of all, keep at it and don’t give up!
What a great article!
I’ve treated my vaginal yeast infection with a coconut oil suppository with lavender and tea tree oil in it. 1TBS coconut oil, 5 drops lavender oil, 5 drops tea tree oil. Make enough to get a batch that you can freeze in molds and then use before bed with a pad on so it doesn’t leak all over. Cleared up in a few days. They also sell this on Amazon.
Good to know. You definitely have to be careful about using certain essential oils on those delicate tissues, but tea tree and lavender are a gentle yet powerhouse antimicrobial combo. Thanks for sharing with us! I’m sure your experience will help someone. And yes, these silicoln molds on Amazon are amazing for suppositories as you can make them and then cut them in half if need be!