I was so excited about this long weekend. I was going to get so much done and catch up on sleep and maybe even get a few posts up on the old blog... not so much it appears. I'm still running to catch up around here but I though I would contribute to internet by talking about treating 'our' thrush with gentian violet.
I love breast feeding. But I don't love that, for me, it has meant regular bouts of pain for one reason or another. Certainly, the early days were awful. I saw someone somewhere comapare breastfeeding to getting your toenails ripped off. That seems accurate to me. But even after healing up from the beginning, pain has never been too far off. I know that breastfeeding shouldn't hurt, but I also think it's *normal* for it to hurt.
When my nipples started hurting in early October I blamed it on the cold weather and my thin nursing undergarments leading to some chapped skin and put up with it for that reason. Why it didn't alarm me that the skin was peeling off my nipples is beyond me, but again, I have come to expect pain. It was nearly two weeks later when the pediatrician spotted thrush in Michael's mouth that I realized that I'd been ignoring the obvious.
I got oral nystatin for Michael and some nystatin cream for me and I felt instant relief when I put that cream on so I was optimistic that it would work. And both of us were taking probiotics too. But several weeks later we were still fighting it. Then some more nystatin was called in for each of us. More pain of course. And I'll tell you, it surprises the hell out of me that some fungus can cause that much hurt. It felt like he was biting me at every nursing session.
But after about a month of fighting it, I was sick and tired and ready to try the internet recommended remedy Gentian Violet. But I wasn't really sure how to use it. I was afraid because I'd heard how messy it is. I read a couple of websites and then just did my own thing and it seems to have worked. So here's what I did in case anyone's interested.
I got a bottle of 1% USP Gentian Violet from the pharmacy. I used it at night before bed only. I laid out a paper towel to protect the vanity and pressed a clean cotton ball up against the bottle to get a good amount on the cotton ball (don't mess with the dip stick, you'll be up all night trying to paint it on with that). Then I applied it to my nipples. I got a good solid coating. Do not try to apply to the whole areola, that would make a big mess, just the nipple and the base of the nipple. Then I got a new cotton ball and did it to the other side. I let my breast dry for a minute (it dries really quickly). Then I put on an old t-shirt.
Then it was time to put Michael to bed. I dressed him in dark colored night shirt. I nursed him like normal. He got a purple mouth from the gentian violet. Theoretically was treating him too.
Did it get all over his face? Yeah, pretty much. This is what my baby looked like in the morning. I wouldn't really recommend taking your baby out like this unless you want stares. I did it after Michael's tube surgery since he was staying home those days.
Most of it came off by bedtime the next night. Another day later and he would be back to normal coloring. I saw very, very few purple spots on anything (mostly just clothes). I wouldn't recommend this if your baby likes to chew on your white couch, but I didn't really have any messy problems.
We did this for four nights. I'm hesitant to declare victory because you are never really without yeast, but I haven't had any pain from thrush since about 24 hours after the first application and that was more than a week ago.
So a month of unsuccessful nystatin compared to 4 nights of gentian violet... I think the violet wins. It's cheaper, easier, quicker, and not nearly as messy as I had heard. I know there is some concern about carcinogenic effects but I don't think that amount I used to treat thrush would pose a danger to either of us... and the alternative was constantly pushing nystatin in Michael's mouth and rubbing cream on me and that doesn't seem too great either.