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breastfeeding question...gentian violet

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ok, so baby eli has oral thrush, likely from the antibiotics they had him on in the NICU. as a result, i know have it on my boobs, so unless we treat us both, we'll just keep passing it back and forth.


my lactation consultant and breastfeeding doc said to get gentian violet...they both said it's safe and natural. i picked it up today but haven't started treatment yet. i did some googling and some sites are saying it's carcinogenic? and it's a derivative of coal tar??? but i wonder how much worse it is than an antifungal prescription.


has anyone used it for this purpose...or does anyone have any opinions? i don't want to start this messy treatment until i feel confident about it.

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I have no experience with this myself. I read several boards for moms of infants discussing treatment of thrush. Some have used it with reasonable success. Others went so far as to say it should go straight into the trash! I saw several mention prescription antifungals instead like Nystatin (see below) & Diflucan - those liked Diflucan better. One mother had dealt with thrush with all three of her children. She said that the babies even liked the taste of it.


Dr Sears, whose advice I really like, lists the following treatment options:


Acidophilus – this is a powder form of the normal bacteria that live in our mouth and intestines.

Nystatin – this is a prescription antifungal liquid that you either squirt or paint with a Q-tip in baby's mouth four times a day. Continue this for five days after the thrush has cleared since it can be quite stubborn. It is common for thrush to recur, and more than one course of nystatin is often needed. One good aspect of nystatin is that it is not absorbed from baby's intestines into the bloodstream. Rather, it goes right through baby and out in the stool.

Sterilize bottle nipples or pacifiers – boil them for 20 minutes each day to kill the yeast that may be residing on them.

Wash toys that baby frequently chews on in hot, soapy water every day.

Don't forget to treat mom if breastfeeding – see below.

If the candida is resistant to the standard treatments described above, in consultation with your healthcare provider, try a 0.25 - 0.5 percent solution of gentian violet applied to your nipples twice a day for three days. Gentian violet is effective, but messy. Also, apply a small amount once a day to baby's mouth, but be aware that overuse of gentian violet may irritate the sensitive oral mucus membranes of baby's mouth. Apply Vaseline to baby's lips before using the gentian violet to avoid purple stains.

Warning - gentian violet has been used for many years to treat thrush. A recent study done in Australia has linked gentian violet to cancer of the mouth. However, many other professionals around the world believe that it is safe, and continue to recommend it.
For this reason, we suggest you use this remedy sparingly, and for as little time as possible

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I never had thrush, but if you get mastitis, I am a wealth of info on how to manage it without antibiotics! I get chronic clogged ducts.


My favourite bf resource is kellymom :: Breastfeeding and Parenting. Wonderful tips on how to manage everything about bf, mostly written by LC's and by the pre-eminent bf expert, Jack Newman.

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