Raynaud’s is a disease that causes specific parts of your body to feel pain/ discomfort in response to stress and/or cold temperatures. This happens typically in extremities, but can also occur in your nipples. What happens is the arteries in those areas are constricting so tightly that there is severe decreased blood flow, so there is a lack of oxygen getting to the tissue.
What does it look like?
The color of the affected area will change drastically. First turning waxy white, then typically to a blue color. When the area is warmed it will change to a light pick. You may feel throbbing or the “pins and needles” tingling sensation.
How does this affect Breastfeeding?
Raynaud’s can occur in the nipples which will cause severe pain since they are such sensitive areas. If they baby is directly latching, or if the mother is pumping, the nipples will become wet and if there is a chill in the room it can trigger the vasoconstriction.
Some non medical remedies may be to apply a warm compress, like a warm facecloth or warm towel, to your breasts to help the the blood vessels dilate (open) faster. There are some medical routes to treating Raynaud’s. Talk to your care provider about them.