Even writing that 6-letter word gives me shivers.

Thrush-which is a yeast infection in a baby's mouth that can spread to a mother's nipples-can be as painful as it is difficult to diagnose.

If you feel shooting pain when your baby latches on to nurse (and sometimes throughout the entire feeding), you may have thrush.

Your nipple, depending on your skin tone, may look a little red. Or it may not look any different.

You can sometimes tell if the baby has thrush by looking at his tongue: if it is coated in a white substance that looks like milk but doesn't come off when he swallows, it may be thrush.

Since thrush can cause cracks in your nipples, it is often accompanied by a secondary bacterial infection.

I'm very sensitive to sugar and if I'm not careful about eating sweets, I tend to get yeast infections. So it's not surprising that I've had thrush at some point with every one of my four children. I just had it with Leone. It was so painful to nurse on the left side that I was up most of the night, curling my toes to keep from crying out and waking the baby.

Anyone who has tried to fight a thrush infection already knows that traditional Western topical anti-fungal medications just don't work.

At least, they've never worked for me.

In addition to prescription medication like nystatin, people will tell you to try gentian violet. You paint the purple stuff on your nipples and it gets all over the baby's mouth when he nurses.

Gentian violet has never worked for me either.

But I do have a treatment that works.

The first thing to do if you suspect you have thrush and you're breastfeeding is to cut all sugar and sweets out of your diet and to stop drinking alcohol. You should also start eating plain organic yogurt with every meal, and you can take acidophilus as well. The healthy bacteria cultures in the yogurt will help beat out the yeast outbreak. Then run to a natural food store and buy grapefruit seed extract. (Note that this is NOT grape seed extract, that is a different supplement.)

Grapefruit seed extract comes in capsule form and in liquid. You need the liquid form but it's so bitter and hard to swallow that you may want to buy capsules too.

Put 1 drop of grapefruit seed extract in 5 drops of water and apply this to both nipples three times a day. At the same time, drink 15 drops of extract in an 8-oz glass of water (hold your nose and drink as fast as you can, try not to gag) three times a day. Or take 1 capsule.

Leone's tongue went from being coated with white to looking completely normal in one day and the pain in my nipple subsided immediately. I wish more doctors knew about this cure. They could stop prescribing costly anti-fungals that don't work anyway and start suggesting a cure that actually clears up the infection.

Have you had any difficulties breastfeeding? Do you have simple and easy cures to seemingly unsolvable health problems? Please share your experiences, thoughts, and suggestions in the comment section below.

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Tags: breastfeeding, grapefruit seed extract, how to treat thrush, infection in baby's mouth, infection on nipples, limiting sugar, nystatin, nystatin doesn't work on thrush, painful nipples, painful nursing, sugar, sugar and yeast infections, thrust, yeast infection

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on Monday, September 20th, 2010 at 3:39 pm and is filed under breastfeeding.
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