On this page, we have one mother's journey over a couple of months of systemic yeast infection and breastfeeding. At first, she wasn’t sure if it was a yeast infection. We have mentioned a few natural yeast infection treatments, among other things.
We hope that some of the information here will help other mothers with similar problems.
Below the comments, are a few helpful links on yeast infection while breastfeeding.
Thank you, Margaret, for sharing your story and for keeping us updated.
Feel free to leave your own experiences and advice below in the comment box.
"I have had a terrible sinus infection for 4 months now. It is taking a toll on me.A Dr. said I need to get rid of it or I could get an abscess. Since I am breastfeeding, I can not take the stronger antibiotics. I am not sure they will work anyways since I read most chronic sinus infections are caused by fungus.
I started taking olive leaf
extract. Desperate for relief, I actually started eating the leaves from
our olive tree in our yard (live in the Mediterranean).
I also started drinking 1 tbs of apple cider vinegar with a glass of water 3 to 5 times a day.
Now my 1.5-year-old baby's face has started to break out, and I think I notice it worse after he breastfeeds.
I actually noticed his cheeks breaking out during a virus he has had. Did not relate it to breastfeeding but the virus. I was not eating the leaves at the time just drinking olive leaf tea.
It was a few days after I noticed his cheeks with a rash that I started to actually eat the leaves because I needed something stronger to put a dent in the sinus infection. However, the outbreak seems worse after I breastfeed and turns bright red.
Is it the virus or what I am eating/drinking? What do you think? I am torn between getting myself well and trying to stop this break out on his face.
Any advice on how to tell what is causing his face to break out? Is there any danger in continuing the olive leaf?
Apr 18, 2013
by: Tracy, CBC, CLD (CBI)
"I would suggest that you get tested for a yeast infection. Getting yeast fungus out of sinus mucus is difficult. If any is left, the yeast multiplies again. Symptoms may be the same as any other sinus infection, and it’s hard to diagnose, although it may be seen as greenish, glue-like clumps coming out of the nose.
Yeast infections are often seen as rashes too, this could be why your baby has the rash on his face. Certain Antibiotics can often cause yeast infections, and I suspect this is what happened.
Olive leaf extract is mostly seen as a natural, non-toxic substance, but studies have not proven or denied its safety for breastfeeding mothers. Many do recommend it for its natural antibiotic properties.
I, myself, am a firm believer in Olive leaf extract and am using it at the moment while breastfeeding. (I have the flu). It has never let me down. I try to keep to a dose of 30 drops every three hours (while sick) and use 10 drops three times per day when I feel something coming along.
Have you considered taking garlic? You could eat it as is, or get a garlic tincture at your nearest herbal shop. Garlic can boost your immune system, and this will help fight off any fungus infection.
Garlic has antibacterial/ antibiotic properties to it. Garlic is also antiviral, antifungal; it is a natural antioxidant and is often used to fight ear and nose infections. Garlic is safe while breastfeeding and is known to increase baby’s appetite and encourages more extended nursing sessions (they like the taste of the garlic in the milk)
The rash on your baby’s face could be the result of many things. It could be that the amount of olive leaf extract is too high. It could be a new soap or new washing powder you are using. It could be that while you are breastfeeding, the skin gets irritated from friction or a new perfume you are using?
The rash could also be a result of something in your breast milk, something new to your diet, or something new in Baby’s diet.
Hope this helps, and please keep me updated."
Apr 18, 2013
"Thank you so much for your reply. It helps me a lot.
Today I definitely noticed that his rash occurs right after I breastfeed. He shows no symptoms except a bright red rash that fades away several hours later, though not entirely.
Would it work for me to wait a certain length of time after taking the olive leaf so that less of it is in my breast milk?
How long would I need to wait?
I put a little olive tea on his arm to see if it caused a reaction and it did not. However, I don't know if that is very telling of anything.
I read that the olive leaf has not been proven safe or unsafe. I figured our goats eat it and their milk is safe to give a baby.
I actually am surprised he may be having an adverse reaction to it. I considered it so much safer than taking an antibiotic.
I went to the Dr. today, and she prescribed me an antibiotic. I really do not want to take it. I do not think it is good for the baby and my own gut is damaged enough.
I already cannot eat gluten or dairy. I also think this is fungal or viral. The olive leaf has been helping me since I increased the dose and I am so discouraged that it may be causing the baby a problem.
I will try the garlic. Thank you for the advice about yeast too. Maybe I can tell if that is the problem. The only other food I am eating that is something new is the increased amount of apple vinegar.
Would that be harmful? Thank you so much for being patient with all of my questions and for trying to help me."
Apr 19, 2013
"I’m happy to hear that the information has helped.
Yes, you could take the Olive leaf extract immediately after breastfeeding, this will give your system a chance to metabolize it before your baby breastfeeds again.
I cannot tell you what to do, but I, myself, do not take antibiotics, I believe that they should only be used in real emergencies and the doctors are too quick to prescribe them.
If I were you, I would continue to take the Olive leaf extract and then the garlic. You can also try eating more fruits, especially fruits that are rich in Vitamin C such as strawberries, papaya, kiwi, guava and such.
You mentioned that your gut is damaged; this could also be a sign of yeast infection, especially if you are struggling with diarrhea, bloating, gas or any irritable bowel syndrome symptoms. Remember that if you do get treated for yeast infection, you will need to get baby treated too, this will prevent the two of you reinfecting each other later.
I don’t think the apple cider vinegar would cause problems, but then this is also one of those items that are unknown for safety during breastfeeding. You could stop taking it for a week and see if the problem persists.
I hope for your sake that the infection clears up soon."
Apr 19, 2013
"Thanks again especially since you have the flu!
I hope you are feeling better. Has the olive leaf helped you much? I agree with you about antibiotics, and I have not taken it yet.
I stopped the olive leaf late yesterday afternoon and did not use it again until around noon today. During that time period my symptoms got worse, and by noon I was desperate to use it again.
Right before using it, I breastfed the baby. His cheeks got red. I then put some olive leaf puree that I made on one cheek to see what would happen. It almost immediately made his cheek less red and seemed to soothe it.
This told me he is not allergic to the olive leaf itself. Made me think this is yeast like you said.
I then ate the puree and drank some tea and immediately started feeling better too. My cheek is very swollen from infected salivary glands. Don't know why I have that problem. The olive leaf relieves that also. I decided to treat this sinus infection like it is a fungal/yeast infection.
Long story short, the pharmacy here said they never use yeast medications for sinus infections, only antibiotics. My husband was still able to get fluconazole. He did not need a prescription for it.
I read, on the internet, this is ok to take while breastfeeding. Do you think this is a good way to treat this infection?
I plan to keep doing the olive leaf too, and I will start the garlic (husband forgot it). I also started a probiotic. Do you know how I would also treat the baby for this?
Doctors here are no help to me because it is as if they never heard of a sinus infection being caused by fungus. I read that a sinus infection caused by yeast can be fatal if left untreated and that antibiotics make it worse!
I am hoping this info and experiment will somehow help someone else who may have a similar problem. Thank you again for taking the time while you are sick with the flu."
Apr 20, 2013
Yes, I actually only had the flu symptoms for that one day and the next day I was fine, which is terrific because before, without the olive leaf extract, I would get sick for 4 to 5 days at a time.
You can ask your doctor or pharmacist for a safe topical antifungal cream for baby’s rash. Try the fluconazole, it might just work. Then you will know what’s been causing the problem.
The medications will mostly treat the symptoms. It is essential that you rebuild your baby’s, and your natural immunity to yeast by correcting any imbalance that allowed the yeast to grow in the first place.
You should try to avoid the following foods that cause yeast growth…Mushrooms, Pickled vegetables, Deep fried foods, Monosodium glutamate, Smoked fish and meat, Dried fruits, Yeast products like bread, Dairy products, Sweets, Beer, wine and sodas.
Other natural remedies for fighting yeast infection include taking cod liver and fish oil and eating virgin coconut oil. (which are wonderful for overall health as well)
Washing your nasal cavities out with a solution of salt and room temperature purified water can also help clear the sinuses.
Let me know how it goes. ;-)"
I wrote to you months ago and had been meaning to get back to you for a long time to let you know the outcome of my problems.
I had been suffering for many months with a sinus infection. My baby had a rash on his face after breastfeeding.
Your first word back to me was YEAST. I had never thought about that, and neither had the doctors. You nailed it. I have spent several months trying to get on the right candida diet for me. Just started a very strict diet where all I eat are eggs, spices, and some vegetables. I am drinking strong olive leaf tea, taking garlic several times a day, trying to eat lots of oregano, and taking coconut (which seems to be helping the most). I also take a strong dose of a probiotic. I am having what I think to be strong die-off symptoms. I have a metal- like taste in my mouth, upset stomach, weak/ lack of energy.
My questions are 1. Do you think any of the things I am taking to get rid of the yeast in my body would be harmful while breastfeeding? How much oregano would be too much? I know I can not take oil of oregano, but I have been putting extra dried oregano in all my food...maybe like 1/2 to 3/4 a tablespoon per meal. 2. I read yeast releases over 80 toxins some being alcohol, formaldehyde, and ammonia. I am worried during all this die off that these toxins are getting into my breast milk. Do you know anything about this? 3. What is your suggestion to me, to keep breastfeeding or to stop?
My son loves to breastfeed so I really would find it very hard to stop; however, I do not want to harm him.
Thank you so much for your help. I am so thankful I found this website."
Jun 30, 2013
It's so lovely to hear from you again, sorry for taking so long to reply.
I can’t believe that you are still struggling with this problem!
Oregano is safe while breastfeeding, the other things shouldn't have an adverse effect. Have you noticed any changes in your baby such as fussiness or over-sleepiness, drowsiness, changes in stool??
It is always recommended to continue breastfeeding while you have a yeast infection, the benefits of breast milk far outweigh any danger of toxins released during a yeast infection...unless you start seeing negative reactions in your child.
So my recommendation is that you definitely carry on breastfeeding and therefore continue to give Baby the best source of nutrition possible.
I really hope this problem gets sorted out soon, I would suggest you see a specialist or herbalist...but make sure that they are knowledgeable about yeast infections and that they are "breastfeeding friendly."
All the best!