Nipple Vasospasm

Nipple vasospasm happens when the blood get shut off from your nipple.  Sometimes it's because your baby isn't latching on well, and sometimes it's just that you have really sensitive nerve in your breast.

Here is a great video showing you what it looks like so you can tell if this is what is causing your sore nipples:

Basically, some mothers nipples are more sensitive than others and the nerves in them cause the blood to stop flowing to the nipple when the baby is sucking.

How you know you might have this:

  • You get sore breasts or nipples during and after a breastfeed but not much between feeds unless you're exposed to the cold
  • Your nipple goes white for a period of time after a breastfeed - make sure you look, many mothers don't check their nipple after a feed even if it's painful
  • You may have a history of cold feet and hands, poor circulation, white looking fingers and toes when you're cold
  • A history of Raynaud's phenomenon in your family or yourself

Some things to do include:

  • Check your baby's latch - if they latch poorly it will irritate your nerves more
  • Keep yourself warm - getting cold also slows down the blood flow and can give you sore breasts even when not nursing, so keep yourself warm. Even an hour of cold exposure can make a difference for the next 24 hours
  • Try gentle massage after a feed
  • Keep good breastfeeding posture - the nerve that are the cause of this come from your upper back so looking after your posture will help
  • If it's debilitating see you doctor - they can prescribe a drug which will help you not to vasoconstrictor/shut off the blood flow

Back to Sore Breasts from Nipple Vasospasm

Back to Breastfeeding Babies Home Page


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