Anyone Have Luck Continuing Breastfeeding with Raynaud's Phenomenon?

Updated on May 10, 2008
A.D. asks from Minneapolis, MN
4 answers

My sister has a 5 week old & has been told that she has Raynaud's phenomenon. This explains the painful nursing and blanching of the nipples a little after the baby is done feeding. We've heard only about 1% of moms have this and she does want to continue nursing. Anyone been through this or have any suggestions? Thanks!

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answers from Minneapolis on

I have Raynaud's and I am at 11 months of successful breastfeeding and still going. It was painful at first and my nipples were very sensitive, which was even worse because of a few bouts of thrush early on...but I stuck with it and after the first few months it got significantly better. Right now I very rarely feel any of the nipple symptoms (and haven't noticed any blanching for months). I don't have any suggestions that are different from the other posts but just wanted to pass along some encouragement. If she feels strongly about continuing to nurse then she should keep at it and hopefully it will get easier over time.



answers from Minneapolis on

I stopped nursing my daughter after 16 weeks. It was just too painful. So, IF after pursuing all options, advice, consultants, hot showers, cold showers, creams, ice cubes, no bras, special bras, pumping, not pumping, every nursing position imaginable she's still experiencing pain, and nothing improves, tell her it's OKAY to stop. I didn't want my daughter to feel me wince and shrink back from her whenever she wanted to feed. I felt that being a mom-not-in-pain was better than one who was feeling desperate and unhappy a lot of the time.



answers from Minneapolis on

I also had this phenomenon and nursing was very painful (I was also overproducing and have a baby that likes to clamp down, so this contributed to the pain,too). My son is now 3 months and the pain is finally better and I am still nursing.

I used the lactation consultants at the Infant Feeding Center at Abbott Hospital and had a great experience. They were extremely helpful & supportive--and very logical in their approach. To help with the Raynaud's, I put warm washcloths on my nipples after nursing. The lactation nurse also prescribed me an all-purpose nipple ointment which was way better than lanolin (which only made my nipples more irritated and was painful to apply probably because of the Raynaud's).

My last advice with Raynaud's is that anytime you can NOT wear a bra or tight nursing tank, go for it. The restriction of wearing something tight fitting only aggrivated the Raynaud's for me. I'm guessing this is because it only further restricted blood flow. I know this is hard when your breasts are so heavy & all you want is something to support and hold them up, but it really helped make the pain subside for me.

I hope this info helps--sorry it got a little wordy. I know how hard it is to "push through the pain" as everyone likes to say & I'm sure you've heard a million times.



answers from Minneapolis on

If she isn't already working with a lactation consultant, she should check out La Leche League at She can locate a lactation specialist in her area, or at the very least, find a support group. Most support group leaders are trained in lactation, and could probably help her directly,or connect her to resources and even one-on-one help if necessary.

She can also find books, and information on special needs children and breastfeeding at this site. Just check under the section where they sell books, pamphlets, and videos for moms and lactation consultants. I know the La Leche League has published several books aimed at nursing mothers with special needs children and on situations involving a sick mom and/or child with nursing problems. I'm certain at the very least, she could find a good resource to get her some help in the interim of getting a lactation consultant.

I hope this helps.

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