Paloma Faith and her newborn both have thrush – what causes the condition in new mums and babies?

Marie Claire Dorking
·5-min read
Paloma Faith has revealed she and her newborn baby have thrush, pictured February, 2020 (Getty Images for Mulberry)
Paloma Faith has revealed she and her newborn baby have thrush, pictured February, 2020 (Getty Images for Mulberry)

Paloma Faith has opened up about her challenging month sharing that she and her newborn baby both have thrush.

The singer, 39, welcomed her second child with partner Leyman Lahcine in February and has been documenting her postpartum journey on social media.

As well as discussing the physical realities such as suffering from engorged nipples, Faith has also opened up about her emotional struggles adjusting to parenting two children.

And now she has revealed the latest health battle that is impacting both her and her newborn.

Sharing a sweet snapshot of her newborn's hand, in the accompanying caption Faith described the hurdles the family have faced since the baby's arrival.

"It’s been a month! Obviously nothing is straight forward," she began her post.

"We both have thrush (my nipples, her mouth), have been on Daktarin gel for her and Daktacort for me, plus Fluconodzole 50mg tablet (daily for a week now) and probiotics - and it feels like it’s just getting worse! WHERE IS THE MIRACLE CURE PLEASE?!

"I’m not very patient so all this ‘try this try that’ with newborns is very challenging for me. I like instant solutions!"

Read more: Paloma Faith shares bath selfie as she asks for advice on pregnancy skin tags

To view this content, you'll need to update your privacy settings.
Please click here to do so.

The Lullaby singer also gave an update on how her newborn is coping with everything.

"Bubs is doing well and started to open her eyes and really look now, which is wonderful," she wrote before going on to reveal that her little one is still suffering from reflux.

Watch: Paloma Faith's tough postpartum journey.

Other parents offered Faith their support and advice in the comments section.

"This is all so so familiar. Tongue tie, thrush, mastitis, reflux. The list nobody wants to tick off," one Instagram user wrote. "I think about those first few weeks and honestly feel like a bit of a warrior for making it through. So are you. Keep on, you’re amazing".

"I know this feeling so well. It does get better," another added. "A cliché but soon you’ll be the one saying it to someone, just like I am to you. Keep going."

"We had ductal thrush at three weeks and I had two courses of the meds before it went," another added.

Read more: Jade Holland Cooper opens up about being a new mum during the coronavirus pandemic

To view this content, you'll need to update your privacy settings.
Please click here to do so.

What causes thrush in babies and new mums?

According to the NHS breast and nipple pain in breastfeeding women is sometimes caused by a thrush (candida) infection in the breast.

Breastfed babies can also develop thrush in their mouths.

"Thrush infections sometimes happen when your nipples become cracked or damaged," the site explains. "This means the candida fungus that causes thrush can get into your nipple or breast."

The NHS says thrush infections can also happen after you or your baby have had a course of antibiotics. This is because antibiotics can reduce the number of helpful bacteria in the body and allow the candida fungus that causes thrush to flourish.

Read more: Kate Lawler describes breastfeeding as a 'workout', debates switching to formula in relatable post

According to Dr Sadia Bhatti, consultant obstetrician at The Harley Street Centre For Women, a small amount of Candida fungus lives in the mouth most of the time.

"It exists in our skin and the environment but babies immune system are not as well developed and so when it is slightly weaker they are more prone to infection," she explains. 

"Babies can pass thrush to their mother whilst breastfeeding or sometimes if the mother is on antibiotics they could also develop it."

Dr Tom Micklewright, associate medical director at Push Doctor, says the symptoms of thrush for a breastfeeding mum depend on whether it is a skin or breast infection.

"Thrush affecting the skin causes sore, red nipples which are often cracked," he explains. "Deeper breast infection affects both breasts at the same time and causes severe pain when the baby starts to breastfeed which can improve during the feed and then return shortly after."

He adds that the nipples are often very sensitive to cold and may become bright red immediately after feeding.

"Babies with thrush may be fussy and seem uncomfortable when they feed," Dr Micklewright continues. "Usually there will be white patches in the mouth that do not wipe off easily. Sometimes babies also develop a spotty nappy rash."

Other signs to watch out for in babies include creamy white spots or patches on their tongue, gums, roof of their mouth or inside of their cheeks.

"They may also get the appearance of a white film on their lips which is probably the most identifiable trait of thrush in babies," Dr Bhatti adds.

Treatment for babies is an oral antifungal treatment in a gel or liquid form.

"For mums apply an antifungal cream on the nipples after a feed and on any cracks as this can cause more spread of the infection," Dr Bhatti continues.

"Nipple shields may also be good advice to wear during feed as that can help with the pain and also mothers can be treated with an oral antifungal tablets."

Read more: This beautiful jewellery is made from a mum's breast milk

To view this content, you'll need to update your privacy settings.
Please click here to do so.

If you suspect a thrush infection, it’s important to see your GP straight away and get treatment to prevent spreading the infection elsewhere or to other members of your household.

"You and your baby will need to be treated at the same time but you can continue to breastfeed while being treated," explains pharmacist James O'Loan from Chemist-4-U.

"A thrush infection can make breastfeeding difficult so do seek support from your healthcare worker."

O'Loan says there are a number of things you can do to help the thrush infection clear and prevent further infections in the future.

"Try to keep the nipple area dry, and unless your nipples have become severely dry, cracked, or sore, try to avoid nipple creams or lotions and use nursing pads made from natural fibres that don’t hold in moisture as moisture is a breeding ground for fungi," he suggests.

"Wash your hands regularly and sterilise anything that may come into contact with the thrush infection including clothing, dummies, toys, etc. This will help to keep the infection under control."

Watch: Paloma Faith thinks that having children may have ruined her singing career.