Has your nipple looked white after feeding or pumping? The blood vessels have gone into spasm and are not letting blood through. When the nipple gets pinched, the arteries spasm and stop letting blood through. As the pinch is released, blood starts to flow, and it results in pain. Some say it feels like fire or ice. Others describe it as a burning, slicing, or pins and needles. It often gets misdiagnosed as thrush but will not respond to medications.
It can be caused by a bad latch, but also from undiagnosed tongue tie and using a pump flange that’s too big. For people prone to vasospasm, the repetitive act of feeding or pumping in combination with the abrupt drop in temperature when baby unlatches or the pump stops is enough to trigger a spasm.
🌻Watch for a deep latch every time
🌻Have baby assessed for tongue tie
🌻Check your flange size. If you’re maxing our the suction on the pump, your flange is too big. When too much areola is drawn into the tunnel, the areola swells shut around the nipple and causes the spasm.
🤲🏼Gently massaging, rubbing, or pinching the nipple helps. Immediately cover your nipples with your shirt/bra/nursing pad, then gently rub or massage them through the fabric.
🔥 Use dry heat like a lavender pillow, microwaveable rice/barley/flax pack, hand warmer/Hot Hands immediately after baby unlatches or you stop pumping. Leave heat on for a few minutes until the pain subsides.
🌸Limit or avoid caffeine
🌸Some research indicates hormonal birth control pills increase the risk of vasospasm.
🌸The main supplement that seems to help with vasospasm is vitamin B6. Dr Jack Newman suggests 100 mg of B6 twice day, as part of a B vitamin complex.
🌸Calcium plays an important role in blood vessel dilation. Magnesium helps in calcium regulation. Taking cal/mag often helps with vasospasm.
🌸For chronic, painful vasospasm that does not respond to other strategies, some doctors may prescribe a short course of the rx Nifedipine.