Extreme Painful Breastfeeding Could be Raynauds

Breastfeeding can be a challenge for any new mum, it’s a very steep learning curve that you want to master straight away so that you can feed your darling new baby.    But if it is very very painful, bringing you to tears in pain, then something isn’t right.   Many women unknowingly suffer from a condition called Raynauds, or Chilled Nipple Syndrome, which is only evident when they become a mum and start to breastfeed.    We asked some women on our Facebook page to share their experience of painful breastfeeding which was Raynauds, so that other women can be aware.

We have written another article here: Tips to Help Raynauds Symptoms Right Now   so that if you are suffering pain you can use some of those tips to help you today.       If any doubt or questions, talk to your midwife or doctor.

The following are shared experiences from other mums:

Wool Breast Pads

Yep horrible thing. Nearly saw me give up feeding. Spent the first 3 months gladwrapping which I eventually had to wean off. Also spent the first 3 months showering in a bikini top as it was too painful to get water directly on them, and also the getting out part. There was lots of crying/screaming around shower time. Proud to say that my daughter turned two on Saturday and we are still just feeding, very irregularly but just when she asks, several times a week.

If you’ve ever had toes and fingers that suddenly turn white and numb when exposed to cold, then are super painful as the blood comes back? Then it’s really possible to end up with it in your nipples as well. I didn’t know I got Raynauds in my fingers and toes until i developed it in my nipples, breastfeeding my twins.

I had raynards on my nipples whilst breastfeeding. Was so painful. Never really got on top of it which sadly ended my breastfeeding journey much earlier than planned and actually made several months incredibly difficult.

Boob Gel Heat Packs

I had Raynauds and I used to get numb in my fingers and toes, but when I got pregnant it moved to my nipples. It was so painful even having a shower hurt! My DH bought me possum fur nipple warmers to wear inside my bra which helped a bit. I was so worried about breastfeeding that I went to a lactation consultant to make sure I knew how to do it properly. I was all ready to ask for medication if it hurt when I started breastfeeding, but as soon as I gave birth it disappeared. It’s been 13 years now and it hasn’t come back, not even in my fingers and toes! I’m so lucky!

I’m a GP and didn’t even realise you could get it in your nipples until I did while breastfeeding (but I did know I have Raynaud’s) . There is medication that can be really effective if this very helpful advice isn’t enough.

Yes, I have raynauds of the nipple. So many doctors didn’t know about it… and I know women who couldn’t find out what the problem was and were only recommended to give up.

The first year it was pretty terrible with shooting pains and horrible discomfort for about 10-15min after a feed. The second year was not very noticeable (as I was pregnant and still breastfeeding), the third year (now) I’ve noticed it a bit.

Tips: Cover with your hand immediately after baby releases their latch (the moist nipple attracts cold very quickly).

Use the special raynauds breast padsor merino breastpads. I even found regular breastpads to help when my special ones were in the wash or it was a slightly warmer day.  Cross your arms putting your hands under your arm pits when going outside or in the freezer section of the supermarket.

I bought merino breastpads from you guys when this happened to me with my first baby.

I would put a heatpack on my feet too, which helped with circulation.

I had this with both babies. One appointment with my homeopath and one remedy and it was cured.

Raynauds Breastwarmers

I have had it in my fingers/hands and toes/feet for years but not nipples from breastfeeding. Never knew that was a thing. Eye opening.

this is partly why i didn’t give up bf in between my children because it was incredibly painful in the beginning with my son, my daughter wasn’t too bad, some days are hard and feel like needles in my nipples and others are bearable but i bf for my kids and because the relaxin produced forces me to relax kind of like a natural antidepressant

I had raynauds of the nipples while pregnant and breastfeeding. It was soo painful and made breastfeeding even more challenging. I had never had raynauds of my toes or fingers so it came as a surprise. Taking a Magnesium tablet each day is what fixed it for me. At its worst I needed to have a heat pack on my boobs for relief of the pain and would need to do this before breastfeeding.

One more tip! If the nipple is white, give it a pinch (yes a bit weird!), and this will get the blood circulating again. Sometimes I have to do a couple of different angled pinches.

I only discovered this problem when I was having so much pain breastfeeding but my baby was latching right and gaining weight so no1 was worried. But finally someone heard me and sent me to lactation consultant who told me. My aunt made me some breast wheaties. They were the best. A minute in the microwave and then put on the breast while baby fed would warm up the breast. Made it a lot better for when I had my second in the winter! Knowing also meant I made sure I stayed warm while giving birth the second time and kept myself covered so my nipples couldn’t get cold and first latch would be enjoyable. Lots of woolen breast pads from breastmates so my nipples never got cold, even in summer!


READ our Breastmates Blog for Tips that you can use immediately to help with pain Raynauds Tips