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Nipples turn white after nursing??

Posts: 4223
8/19/07 7:47 P

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Are you sure he's latched on properly? If he isn't he could be stopping the blood flow to your nipples.

If you are sure, then it is probably Raynauds (you need a Dr to diagnose this). I have had Raynauds in my hands and feet most of my life and been getting it in my nipples since I started breastfeeding and it has gotten worse in my hands - I also get it in my mouth!

I'm not sure of a permanent fix or how to get the blood flowing again without the hair dryer! Try putting a new breastpad in each time (so that the milk in the old one doesn't hurt from being cold) as it will protect from your bra and try rubbing your nipples through your bra to generate heat. Also, as soon as he is off, move him away. I used to find that the first I knew about her being off was that she breathed on me and that really hurt!

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Posts: 7972
8/19/07 10:39 A

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I use to have this and sometimes still do but not as bad a befor. here is some info i found on

4. Treatments for Raynaud's phenomenon (blanching of the nipple)
Raynaudís phenomenon is due to spasm of blood vessels preventing blood from getting to a particular area of the body. It occurs in response to a drop in temperature. Most commonly, Raynaudís phenomenon will occur in the fingers, typically when someone goes outside from a warm house on a cool day. The fingers will turn white and the lack of blood getting to the tips of the fingers will cause pain. Raynaudís phenomenon occurs more commonly in women than men, and is often associated with illnesses such as rheumatoid arthritis.

Raynaudís phenomenon can also occur in nipples. In fact, it is much more common than generally believed. It can occur along with any cause of sore nipples, is, in fact, probably a result of damage, but it may also, on occasion, occur without any other kind of nipple pain at all.

Typically, Raynaudís phenomenon occurs after the feeding is over, once the baby is already off the breast. Presumably, the outside air is cooler than the inside of the babyís mouth. When the baby comes off the breast, the nipple is its usual colour, but soon, within minutes or even seconds, the nipple will start to turn white. Mothers generally describe a burning pain when the nipple turns white. After turning white for a while, the nipple may actually turn back to its normal colour (as blood starts to flow back to the nipple), and the mother will notice a throbbing pain. The nipple may go back and forth between colours (and types of pain) for several minutes or even an hour or two.

The treatment for Raynaudís phenomenon is to fix the original cause of the pain (poor latch, Candida etc). Almost always, as the nipple soreness from another cause is getting better, so will the pain from Raynaudís phenomenon, but more slowly. Fixing the original cause of the pain (improving the latch, treating Candida etc) should be the focus of treatment. However, some mothers no longer have pain during the feeding, or never had it at all. Indeed, some start having Raynaudís phenomenon during the pregnancy. If the pain is mild, there may be no reason to treat, and reassurance is all that is necessary. However, in some cases it is worth treating, especially if severe, and especially if the pain during the feeding does not improve, as severe restriction of blood supply to the nipple may delay healing.

The first choice for treatment is:

Vitamin B6. This has shown to work by trial and error, but it does seem to work. There is no scientific evidence that it works, but it does nevertheless. It is safe and will do no harm. The dose is 150-200 mg once a day for four days, followed by 25 mg/day once a day. The mother continues it until she is pain free for a few weeks. It can be restarted if necessary. If the pain resolves with the larger dose but returns with the smaller dose, you can go back to the higher dose. If you have been pain free for a week or two, try going off the vitamin B6. If vitamin B6 does not work within a few days, it probably wonít. It is then useful to try:
Nifedipine. This is a drug used for hypertension. One 30 mg tablet of the slow release formulation once a day often takes away the pain of Raynaudís phenomenon. After two weeks, stop the medication. If pain returns (about 10% of mothers), start it again. After two weeks, stop the medication. If pain returns (a very small number of mothers), start it again. No mothers I am aware of took more than three, two week courses. Side effects are uncommon, but headache may occur. It is a prescription drug. The dose can be increased if 1 tablet is insufficient.
Nitroglycerin paste. We no longer recommend it, as severe headache associated with its use is fairly common. It also does not work more than about 50% of the time.

good luck i found that heat and for me pressure seemed to help alot mie went away after a few months but it was very painful in the meantime

BabyFit Community Team
Posts: 5084
8/18/07 2:55 P

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ARTEMIS-75's Photo
This is very common as our nipples adjust to having a new function.

I find warm (almost hot) moist compresses really help. I use face cloths soaked in hot water. It's the suction of nursing that temporarily prevents proper blood flow - it's not related specifically to clogged ducts.

That said, even without the compresses I am finding the longer I'm nursing (Kali is 4 weeks old tomorrow) the the less frequently it happens, the less it is uncomfortable and the faster it goes away.


~*~ Erika ~*~
Posts: 34
8/18/07 10:18 A

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Both my nipples turn white after DS finishes nursing and it hurts. Sometimes my nipples will turn white even when he isn't nursing. My milk flow seems fine so I don't think it is a clogged duct. I have noticed that if I blow dry them on a low heat setting, it turns them back to pink and makes them feel better. But a few hours later (even if I haven't nursed), they are back to hurting and being white.

I am also wearing breast shells so my nipples can get air throughout the day. It hasnt helped the whiteness but it is much more comfortable since it's less irritation.

Anyone else have other suggestions on what to do? I don't always have a hair dryer around to give me relief!!

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