Raynauds + Breastfeeding
Do you suffer from cold hands and feet? Do your nipples change to white or purple after a feed? You may have Raynaud’s.
So what is Raynaud’s? It is when blood moves away from the nipples. Blood vessels tighten and go into spasm and the blood doesn't flow properly. It is usually associated with nipple colour change to a white or purple colour. You may experience a burning, stabbing or throbbing pain. Pain can also occur when stepping out of a warm shower or when going outside on a cold day. Interestingly the pain is often between feeds but it can be during breastfeeds too. Nipple colour can vary from red to white and purple. Some mums may experience delayed healing of nipple damage too due to lack of blood flow.
Something to be aware of is that it is not uncommon for mums with Raynaud’s is to be mistakenly diagnosed with thrush. Nipples can turn white after a feeding if blood flow is restricted from a poor latch and this doesn’t mean you have Raynaud’s. The best way to avoid this is to ensure you are getting a good latch.
Try these tips to get some relief if you do suffer from Raynaud’s:
● Correct the latch - see a LC if needed
● Avoid air drying the nipples as this can exacerbate the issue
● Use wool breast pads to keep your nipples warm
● Try cutting back on your caffeine intake as this can make symptoms worse.
● Massage warmed olive oil into nipples post feeds
● Take a Vitamin B6 Supplement - 100mg B6 twice a day
● Take a Magnesium supplement- 250-300mg twice a day
● If the pain isn’t settling - see your GP to discuss Nifidipeine 30mg slow release. This is a medication that causes relaxation of the blood vessels.
If you need more help see a Lactation Consultant.