Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Sarah v. yeast - the neverending battle

Ugh. When Cooper was a month or so old I started having a lot of pain when I was breastfeeding, except I'd already been having pain, so I didn't realize there was a problem right away. Over the next couple weeks I started dreading showers because the water felt like razors, crying every time he latched on, and having shooting pains through my whole breast after each feeding. It was a yeast infection & by the time I got medication for it I was putting ice on my breast before & after each feeding just to tolerate the pain. Cooper didn't show any signs of thrush (a yeast infection in his mouth), but he was treated too, of course. Within a couple days he had thrush & even had to be put oral medication instead of topical because he managed to spread it to his hand by sucking on his fingers (because he had blisters from clenching his fists all the time). It was really one of the worst experiences of my life. We finally got over it, but then a month later it was back again. Fortunately, I knew what it was right away so it didn't get nearly as bad the second time around.
A while ago, Cooper had an ear infection & had to be put on antibiotics. I happened to be on antibiotics at the same time, so I was sure the yeast would be back again, but I didn' t get it & Cooper didn't get thrush. Cooper did get a terrible diaper rash that became a yeast infection though. I felt so bad for him & I wished I had gotten it instead of him. We got medication for him, started using disposable diapers instead of cloth for a while, & it went away pretty quickly. I washed his cloth diapers in hot water & vinegar several times to get rid of the yeast, but when we started using the cloth again it came back! I felt awful! There wasn't a whole lot I could have done the first time, but I felt terrible that the diapers I put on him caused it to come back. We went back to disposables & it went away without medication.
I researched on the internet & found several suggestions on how to rid diapers of yeast, so I chose the most complicated & thorough one I could find. It involved several separate hot washes with vinegar, Oxiclean, and baking soda, tons of cold rinses, sunning the diapers, & drying them on high in the dryer. So I did all the washes, all the rinses, & hung the diapers out in the backyard.

But, Cooper's still in disposables. I just can't bring myself to put a cloth diaper on him - I'm terrified I'm going to infect him again! I think I'm going to have to do all the washes, rinses, hanging, & drying again, maybe several times, & then maybe I'll feel okay with tyring them out again. So if anyone has any suggestions for getting yeast out of cloth diapers, let me know!


Anonymous said...

The yeast is not harbored in the cloth diapers- it is the moisture that the cloth diapers hold against the skin that encourages the yeast to grow. When kids reach Cooper's age they have a significantly increased output of waste which keeps the groin skin very moist and macerated, and the yeast (candida) that is on his skin as a normal colonizer in small numbers grows out of control. The cloth diapers don't do a great job of wicking that moisture away from the skin like the disposables. The only way to go back to cloth diapers at this point is to change them very frequently- pretty much as soon as they get wet- and to use them in conjunction with a good barrier creaem that is fungistatic, like zinc oxide paste (desitin, balmex, etc.). However, in doing so, you are generating a lot of wash which uses a lot of soap and puts polluting phosphates into the water- this is less environmentally friendly than your disposables in the landfill. Yuck!

Karen said...

...from the above post, it sounds like you need to go back to disposables.....aren't there environment friendly disposable diapers? I wonder who "anonymous" is....that was some good info.....

The Ben Show said...

Can you do acidophilus supplements? Or really increase your yogurt intake? Can Cooper eat YoBaby yogurt? These are all things that really help with yeast infestations... also cutting out sugars and bread, pasta (you know, the good stuff) from your diet!

Good luck!

Sarah said...

Wow, popular topic! Thanks for all the feedback everybody.
I do take acidophilus supplements & Cooper eats cereal with probiotics. I try to go easy on sugar & bread & stuff, but it's really difficult for me, & Cooper hardly gets any sugar (basically just what's in Cheerios), but does eat bread & pasta.
I don't really know much of anything about yeast, just what I've read. La Leche League says yeast can survive on dry household or fabric surfaces & then reactivates with moisture (http://www.llli.org/llleaderweb/LV/LVOctNov98p91.html) so that's why I'm concerned about it; Cooper was in the cloth diapers until I realized it was a yeast infection so it would have been present on at least some of the diapers. Thanks for the advice on a fungistatic diaper cream - I'll definitely have to make sure I try that.
As to the environmental stuff, they do make environmentally friendly disposables, but they're more expensive than the regular disposables. For our cloth diapers we use Charlie's Soap, which contains no lye, bleach, brighteners, dyes, softeners, petroleum, perfume, or phosphates, so hopefully it's not too harmful. They advertise it as being environmentally friendly & claim it contains the purest, most biodegradable, natural ingredients. I use it because it seems that every cloth diaper website recommends it because it gets the diapers clean without ruining them. I don't really know if cloth diapers are better or worse for the environment (I know there have been studies with conflicting results), but we don't use cloth for the environment. We switched to cloth when Cooper was about 6 months 'cause it's cheaper, especially if we continue to use cloth with future children because we've already paid for them.
Thanks for the advice & comments! It's nice to know people are reading the blog. :)

Kathleen said...

I love that last picture