I HATE nystatin. Most specifically, I detest oral nystatin.
I have had three babies and all three have had thrush (yeast in the mouth) and therefore I have gotten thrush in my breasts (ouch). And when we get thrush, nystatin is the bane of my existence. It just doesn't seem to work. Although I guess it must, because eventually, the thrush clears. But it takes. . . FOREVER and I feel like the baby and I just pass it back and forth for a few weeks.
This time, when Drew got a NASTY diaper rash (the nastiest I have ever seen in three babies and the first time the yeast has made its way into the diaper area) and I had shooting pains in my right nipple, I knew that the yeastie beastie had struck again. I was determined to be The Victor this round.
Oh, I so WAS.
And here is how you can also trump thrush without visiting the pediatrician or getting any sort of prescription. Well. . . since I am not a doctor, you should PROBABLY check in with your pediatrician, at least over the phone.
The magic ingredient in your fight against thrush and yeastie-beastie diaper rashes?
GRAPEFRUIT SEED EXTRACT (GSE)
Grapefruit Seed Extract (tablets and oil)
Spray bottle (I used two)
Distilled water (not just filtered, distilled)
I already had the spray bottles and medicine dropper, so my total for a bottle of the tablets and oil and a huge just of distilled water water was $22; barely more than a copay!
First step: Manage to find GSE.
This was quite a bit more difficult than I imagined. You need to find both the tablets and the oil. I found the tablets at GNC and the oil at Fred Meyer. Total expenditure for both was $25.
Second step: Get in touch with your inner pharmacist.
You will need to make a diaper area/nipple spray. You will combine 20 drops of GSE with every ounce of water. So for example, take a spray bottle and fill it with eight ounces of water and 160 drops of GSE. Shake well to combine. The oil is very thick, so you will have to shake pretty vigorously and for a couple of minutes to get it good and combined. USE DISTILLED WATER so that the chemicals do not negate the effects of the GSE. I made two bottles of this magic elixir, one for upstairs on Drew's changing table, and one for downstairs where I do the majority of his nursing.
Third Step: Apply and ingest.
Apply to the baby: Use the spray bottle to liberally spray the diaper area and then use wipes to clean up excess yeast and all areas of the rash. Use a lot of wipes to avoid spreading the yeast. After everything is clean, spritz the entire diaper area (anywhere there is rash) with the GSE mixture. Don't be shy. Make sure to get all of the "folds" in the skin, where yeast likes to hang out. Do this four times a day. Let the baby air out as much as possible in between changes. I also used a touch of desitin at night before bed to prevent secondary diaper rash from setting in.
If your baby also has oral thrush (or even as a preventative measure if not) take a soft wash cloth and gently wipe the baby's cheeks or anywhere you see the telltale white mucus on babies lips/cheeks. Then, using the medicine dropper, apply the GSE mixture by squeezing it into the cheeks/onto the lips. Squirt it into the cheeks to make sure they are being covered. Also feed the baby 1 mL full of the liquid to get it into the GI tract. Do this BEFORE feeding so that the baby will not identify breastfeeding with the sour taste of the GSE.
Treat yourself: After feeding, take the spray bottle and spritz your nipples. I also tried to let the girls "air out" whenever possible. Do not use lansinoh, because this will create a "wet" area, which is where yeast thrives. If your nipples are really sore, try asking your OB for a prescription for triple nipple ointment (or do what I did and make your own). Also, take two 100 mg GSE tablets every day to have it work from the inside.
Treat anything else with a "bath": Make another dilution of GSE and distilled water (again 20 drops to every one ounce) and put in a dish. Then, put anything that touches the baby's mouth (bottle nipples, pacis, etc.) in that mixture and store them there until you need them. I also added a few drops of GSE to every load of wash I did to get extra yeast out of towels, shirts, my bras, etc.
I used a variety of sources to put together this plan of attack, and it took some time to research it and also find the ingredients, but it was worth it for me. I avoided an unnecessary trip to the pediatrician and it WORKED. Within the first day, my nipple pain had diminished (not completely, but noticeably). It was gone by the third day of treatment. Drew's oral thrush was gone in the FIRST DAY of treatment. FIRST DAY, people. It took days and even weeks of applying it with both Will and Emma to get rid of the oral thrush.
I will be honest, his diaper area took a lot longer to clear up. It was probably close to a week. BUT I noticed a HUGE improvement within 48 hours and it didn't really seem to be bothering him anyway. Also, this was a SERIOUS diaper rash. It was awful, awful, awful. I googled trying to find images of it and his was worse than anything I came up with. I imagine if you caught it a bit earlier, you would see it clear up much faster. Just a day ago, I noticed another spot of yeast. I applied the GSE and it was gone by the next diaper change.
So for anyone else that will battle the Yeast Beast, I hope this helps. It made a big difference in how we handled it this time around. I only wish I would have known about it two babies ago!