Killing Candida While Breastfeeding: Expert Tips for Nursing Mothers

Candidiasis, a common fungal infection caused by Candida albicans, can pose a unique challenge for breastfeeding mothers. This condition often manifests in areas like the mouth, throat, gut, and vagina. For nursing mothers, a key concern is managing this infection without affecting breast milk quality or supply. Let’s explore expert-recommended approaches to tackle this issue effectively and safely.

Understanding Candida and Its Impact

Candida is part of the body's natural microbiome, usually harmless unless an overgrowth occurs. This overgrowth, known as candidiasis, can range from mild to severe, potentially leading to conditions like nipple thrush in breastfeeding mothers. A weakened immune system, often experienced postpartum, can exacerbate this condition.

Nipple Thrush: A Common Challenge

Breastfeeding mothers may suffer from nipple thrush, a painful fungal infection. Factors contributing to its prevalence include antibiotics usage, which can disrupt the microbiome, and environmental factors like humidity. Maintaining cleanliness and a balanced diet are crucial preventive measures.

The Role of Diet and Supplements

A key part of managing candidiasis is rebalancing the microbiome. This involves:

  1. Removing mold and toxins from the home environment.
  2. Adhering to a whole-foods diet, rich in gut-healing vegetables, broths, and low in refined sugar.
  3. Rotating herbal supplements with antifungal properties. This rotation helps prevent fungal resistance and effectively combats the infection.

Specific Supplements to Consider

  • Grapefruit Seed Extract: Known for its antifungal properties, it can be used in varying dosages, adjusted to individual tolerance.
  • Caprylic Acid: Found in coconut oil, this has both antifungal properties and can enhance immune benefits in breast milk.
  • Acacia Fiber: Acts as an antimicrobial agent and aids in digestive health.
  • Olive Leaf Extract: Offers potent antifungal benefits, used as an herbal antibiotic.
  • Turmeric: Known for its biofilm-busting, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties, it’s beneficial in various forms including 'Golden Milk'.

Precautions with Supplements

While breastfeeding, caution is necessary when selecting supplements. For instance, oregano oil, though effective against fungal infections, may reduce milk supply and is better used post-breastfeeding.

Diet Modifications for Nursing Mothers

For nursing mothers, a gentler version of the Candida diet is recommended. This includes:

  • Eating low-GI fruits like pears, berries, and green apples.
  • Consuming high-quality carbohydrates such as beans, sweet potatoes, and whole grains.
  • Avoiding added sugars in processed foods.
  • Opting for lean, healthy proteins like fresh cuts of meat and organic eggs.

It's advised to avoid the full Candida cleanse during breastfeeding, as the body requires ample nutrients during this period.

Diagnosis and Treatment

If you suspect thrush in yourself or your baby, consulting a health professional is vital. Symptoms in breastfeeding women include pain in nipples or breasts post-feeding, while babies may show white spots in the mouth or persistent diaper rashes.

Treatment Approach

Thrush in breastfeeding women is usually treated with antifungal creams, while oral thrush in babies can be addressed with antifungal gels or liquids. It’s crucial for both mother and baby to be treated simultaneously to prevent reinfection.


Managing candidiasis while breastfeeding requires a holistic approach, encompassing diet, environmental factors, and appropriate use of supplements. It’s essential to work closely with healthcare professionals to ensure a safe and effective treatment plan, safeguarding both the mother’s and baby’s health. Remember, while these tips

Questions? Email Jack Newman at, or Edith Kernerman at or consult: Dr. Jack Newman’s Guide to Breastfeeding (called The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers in the USA) or our DVD, Dr. Jack Newman’s Visual Guide to Breastfeeding; or The Latch Book and Other Keys to Breastfeeding Success; or L-eat Latch & Transfer Tool, or the GamePlan for Protecting and Supporting Breastfeeding in the First 24 Hours of Life and Beyond.  See our website at  To make an appointment email and respond to the auto reply or call 416-498-0002.


Handout Candida Protocol Revised: May 2008
Written and Revised by Jack Newman, MD, FRCPC 1995-2005
Revised by Edith Kernerman, IBCLC, and Jack Newman, MD, FRCPC © 2008

This handout may be copied and distributed without further permission,
On the condition that it is not used in any context that violates
The International WHO Code on the Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes

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