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The Day Someone Threw Me a Rope

The Day Someone Threw Me a Rope
The Day Someone Threw Me A Rope | I can still remember where I sat on the floor in the room, the Southern California light pouring in that way it does, diagonally through the plate glass windows and bending through the blinds. There were about twelve of us sitting in a circle, leaning back against folding cushions, our knees popped up in front of us. Each of us held a fairly new babe in arms -- some nursing, some sleeping, some lying on our legs trying hard to keep their eyes open or to produce an effective burp. The mothers surrounding me were different ages and different shapes and sizes, but all of us shared a common quality: a wild look in our eyes, perhaps a button askew on our shirts, hair thrown up in messy buns or that lay rumpled on our shoulders -- the hallmarks of sleep deprivation and the exhaustion of new motherhood that soaked our very bones. Continue reading

Plugged Ducts & Mastitis

Plugged Ducts & Mastitis

What is a Plugged Milk Duct?

A plugged milk duct or clogged milk duct usually feels like a hard, tender swelling in the breast which can vary in size from a pea to a peach and may feel painful while breastfeeding. The skin over the affected area may be red and the area around the plug may feel full even after a feeding. Sometimes a small

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Why is Breastfeeding Important?

Why is Breastfeeding Important?

The benefits of breastfeeding have been well documented. Though it is most apparent during infancy, these benefits have enduring effects that promote optimal health throughout the life of the breastfed baby and his mother. Human milk is a complex, living substance with numerous disease-fighting and health-promoting ingredients; it is a complete infant support-system that provides both nutrition and protection. Breast milk contains immune molecules called antibodies that destroy germs. The mother's immune system makes these antibodies and they constantly adapt. When a baby or mother is exposed to a new germ, the mother's immune cells are activated and manufacture antibodies to combat that specific germ. These antibodies and disease-fighting cells will quickly appear in the milk and the mother will pass them to her baby at the next feeding. There are hundreds of human milk components that interact synergistically to both nourish and protect infants and young children. On the other hand, infant formula provides nutrition only: it has no benefit to the baby beyond basic nutrition.

Breastfeeding benefits women as well. Some of the benefits are long lasting and appear to remain with mothers for years after they have weaned their last child.

Benefits for Baby
  • Breastfed babies have fewer colds, respiratory infections, ear infections, and occurrences of influenza.
  • Breastfeeding is good for the digestive tract. Babies who are formula-fed are sixteen times more likely to have diarrhea than breastfed babies. Breastfeeding may protect against Crohn's disease, irritable bowel syndrome, colitis, and celiac disease.
  • Exclusively breastfeeding for at least three months reduces the risk of juvenile diabetes (Type I) by up to 30%. It also reduces the risk of developing late onset or Type II diabetes.
  • Evidence suggests breastfed babies are less likely to develop high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and cardiovascular disease as adults.
  • Breastfed infants have fewer childhood cancers and baby girls will have less chance of contracting breast and ovarian cancer as adults.
  • Because breastfed babies get sick less often, there will be fewer doctor and hospital visits and less money spent on antibiotics and other medications.
  • Breastfeeding for more than four months reduces the risk of hospitalization for a respiratory infection by 72%.
  • Even when a breastfed baby gets sick, the illness is usually less severe and lasts a shorter time than the same illness in a baby not receiving mother's milk.
  • Exclusive breastfeeding lowers the risk of food allergies, asthma, eczema, and skin rashes.
  • Breast milk contains high levels of certain fats that are required to support brain and nerve growth. Breastfed children have higher IQs, better developed neurological systems, and sharper vision.
  • Breastfeeding promotes strong attachment. The act of breastfeeding insures that a baby will be in his mother's arms many times every day; in fact a breastfed baby is touched and held almost twice as much as a formula-fed infant. Attachment is not a parenting style, but a biological necessity for normal mental health and optimal brain development.
  • Breastfed babies are less likely to develop adult obesity. The longer the baby is breastfed the lower the obesity risk. Breastfed infants regulate their intake according to their caloric needs and actually control their mothers' milk production.
  • Breastfeeding reduces the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) by 38%. One theory suggests that because breastfed babies sleep less deeply, they are more likely to arouse if having breathing difficulty. Breastfeeding's protection from infection may also help lower the risk of SIDS.
  • Breastfeeding results in earlier development of an infant's immune system.
  • Breastfeeding helps to develop mouth and facial muscles.

Benefits for Mother

  • Breastfeeding enhances attachment. Every time a mom nurses her baby, she releases the hormone oxytocin. This hormone not only causes a mother to release her milk (the milk ejection or let-down reflex), but it makes her fall in love with her baby. It has been dubbed the "mothering" hormone.
  • Oxytocin also provides another of breastfeeding's great benefits: protecting women's mental health. Oxytocin down-regulates stress. The effects of constantly lowering stress during breastfeeding persist long past weaning.
  • Breastfeeding reduces the risk of breast and ovarian cancer. Breast cancer risk is reduced by 4.3 % for each year that a woman breastfeeds, and each additional pregnancy reduces the risk by 7 %-a decrease of as much as 60%. This benefit is dose-related and cumulative: the longer a mother breastfeeds, the lower her risk of developing breast cancer. The reasons for this reduced cancer risk are still unclear and complex, but new evidence points to the cycling history of mammary cells. The cycle of pregnancy, breastfeeding, and weaning may be important for the health of the breast. Weaning completes the cycle. Lower estrogen levels during breastfeeding may contribute to the decreased risk of both breast and ovarian cancer. Women who do not breast feed have a 1.5-fold increased risk of developing ovarian cancer.
  • Breastfeeding reduces the risk of osteoporosis. New mothers experience a loss in bone density during the early months of breastfeeding; but as their fertility returns, their bones act like sponges, absorbing extra calcium. This results in greater bone density and stronger bones. Women who do not breastfeed have a four times higher risk of developing osteoporosis.
  • Breastfeeding helps mothers lose weight. Making milk for one baby requires approximately 500 hundred calories a day. Weight loss during the first year after birth is significantly greater in women who breastfeed as compared to those women who do not. The greatest weight loss takes place between three and six months post partum.
  • Women who breastfeed have a lowered risk of developing metabolic syndrome which is characterized by diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and cardiovascular disease. A recent theory suggests that breastfeeding reverses changes that occur in a woman's body during pregnancy. These changes are increased fat stores, elevated blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides, and increased insulin resistance. In other words, during pregnancy women develop mild metabolic syndrome. Breastfeeding can actually reset these changes.
  • Exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months can delay the return of ovulation and reduce the chance of conception.
  • Breastfeeding moms experience improved sleep and relaxation. Evidence shows that breastfeeding women fall asleep more quickly and actually get more sleep.
  • Breastfeeding encourages normal uterine contractions that not only control post partum bleeding, but return the uterus to the pre-pregnant state more rapidly than in non-breastfeeding mothers.
  • Breastfeeding saves time. It is readily available, just the right temperature, and won't be contaminated or improperly mixed.
  • Breastfeeding mothers will miss fewer workdays because their babies are less likely to be sick.

Benefits for Dad

  • Breastfeeding is cheaper. The cost of formula is $1,200-$1,800 a year. Other costs of not breastfeeding are:
    • More doctors office visit and more hospitalizations.
    • More need for antibiotics and other medication.
  • Dads do not have to get up at night-although help is very appreciated, especially in the early weeks.
  • Breastfed babies' stools are less offensive than formula stools.
  • Dads feel satisfied knowing their baby is receiving the best possible food that will enable their children to achieve optimal health.

Benefits for the World

Breastfeeding is Green. Increased breastfeeding would decrease health care costs worldwide. The US could save $13 billion each year on medical costs if 90% of women nursed their infants exclusively for the first six months. This estimate is based solely on the decreased cost of the care of babies, and does not include savings for the decreased health care costs of the nursing mothers.

Essential Breastfeeding Support and Baby Care Items
The Pump Station & Nurtury® has decades of experience providing new families with outstanding educational, breastfeeding and baby care support, including products and classes which can make all the difference to you and your baby. To see a list of some of the essential products that our Lactation Professionals have recommended, click Essential Breastfeeding and Baby Care Products

 


See Other Breastfeeding and Baby Care Help Topics

 

Copyright© 2013 by The Pump Station & Nurtury®. All rights reserved. No part of this handout may be reproduced in any form without permission from The Pump Station & Nurtury®. This article has not been prepared by a physician, is not intended as medical advice, and is not a substitute for regular medical care. Consult with a physician if medical symptoms or problems occur.

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Overactive Let-Down

Overactive Let-Down

The ability to produce enough milk is a common concern among breastfeeding mothers. The lack of proper education, no role models, and the loss of breastfeeding as a cultural norm, have contributed to the myth that women might have insufficient milk supplies. When, in fact, almost all women are capable of producing adequate volumes of milk for their babies. But how much is too much? And what should you do if you have overactive let-down!

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Low Milk Supply

Low Milk Supply

In the United States, concern about low milk supply is the most common reason given by women for supplementation and early weaning. Why do so many women in our culture lack confidence in their ability to adequately nourish their babies? Sociologists believe, that during the last century, the decline in breastfeeding contributed to the loss of knowledge about how breastfeeding really works, and how breastfed babies behave.

What Mothers Need to Know:
  • It is normal for women to feel that they don't have milk in their breasts the first days after birth. Frequent breastfeeding during this time will meet the new baby's need and cause the milk supply to increase rapidly.
  • A good milk supply is encouraged by frequent sucking and effective removal of milk. If milk is not being removed from the breast, the supply will not increase, but instead drop. If a baby needs more milk he will usually nurse more frequently which causes the hormone Prolactin to rise and the milk supply to increase.
  • New research shows that although almost all women can produce plenty of milk, some women need to nurse more often than others in order to meet their baby's caloric need.
  • A baby needs to be latched deeply onto the areola, not just the nipple, to effectively remove milk.
  • Human milk passes through the baby's stomach in 48-90 minutes. The breastfed newborn needs to nurse 8-12 times/24 hours, while the formula fed baby feeds only 6-8 times/24 hours. If a breastfeeding mother tries to feed her baby on a bottle schedule, her baby may not get enough food.
  • A baby will often need to be held, rocked, jiggled and bounced (just as in the womb) even after a good feed. Babies cry for reasons other than hunger. Don't worry about "spoiling" a newborn by holding him too much. If a baby's needs are met, trust is built and good self-esteem and independence will follow.
  • Young babies have a 3-hour wakeful stretch every day, during which they want to be at their mothers' breast the majority of the time (the marathon feed). This usually occurs in late afternoon/evening and is normal.
Possible Causes of Low Milk Supply:
  • Difficult or poor latch-on that leads to poor milk removal. If a baby cannot sustain attachment to the breast for more than a few sucks or if he is only on the nipple, he cannot remove milk and is not nursing well.
  • Early introduction of a bottle. If given formula, the baby won't need to breastfeed often and decreased breast stimulation will generally result in a decreased milk supply. If your doctor advises supplementing your baby, check with a lactation consultant for extra guidance in protecting and maximizing your milk supply.
  • Babies set their own schedule and some need to eat more often than others. Research indicates that a mother needs to be responsive to her particular baby's lead and not adhere to a rigid plan.
  • A sleepy, non-demanding baby. Make sure the baby is coming to the breast 8-12 times in 24 hours. Once weight gain is established, relax and follow the baby's lead.
  • Anything that keeps a baby from nursing vigorously (jaundice, prematurity, illness).
  • Augmentation and reduction breast surgery are both possible risks for a low milk supply. A lactation consultant can help devise a plan to maximize milk supply.
  • A woman who has absolutely no breast changes during pregnancy or during the first week after birth may be at risk for a low supply. Seek extra advice from a consultant.
  • Reduced breast stimulation as a result of: (next li Long Sleep... should be nested)
    • Long sleep stretches by the baby
    • A mother's busy lifestyle
    • Insufficient rest due to a mother's return to the workplace
    • Introduction of alternate baby foods
  • Hormonal contraception. Even the "mini" pill causes some women's milk supply to drop dramatically.
  • Pregnancy
  • Excessive exercise and/or dieting
Ways to Increase Milk Supply:
  • Improve the baby's latch.
  • Increase breast stimulation:
    • Add more feedings and/or nurse longer. Wake the baby for feeds if necessary. Unwrap and undress to help waken.
    • Use a good quality breast pump (hospital grade) and follow most breastfeeds with a 15-minute pumping session. Be patient, it may take a few days or longer to see results.
    • While nursing on the second side, pump the breast the baby just finished (third breast pumping). This effective technique saves a lot of time.
    • Switch sides. When the baby gets sleepy, remove from the breast, burp and switch to the other side. Repeat until the baby won't nurse anymore.
  • Try herbal supplements: Mothers Milk tea, Fenugreek capsules (3 capsules 3 times daily), and Fennel seeds (crushed and made into tea, or just chewed). The effectiveness of these remedies is anecdotal, not research-based, but many mothers find it very helpful.
  • Eat a well balanced diet with lots of whole grains and increase your fluid intake.
  • Ask your OB/GYN to help you choose a non-hormonal contraceptive method.
  • See a lactation consultant for an in-depth evaluation and strategies for improving your milk supply.
  • Ask your doctor to prescribe Reglan or Domperidone (Motillium). These medications are usually used for gastric problems but have a side effect of raising the level of the hormone that increases milk supply. Domperidone must be made by a compounding pharmacy.
Essential Breastfeeding Support and Baby Care Items
The Pump Station & Nurtury® has decades of experience providing new families with outstanding educational, breastfeeding and baby care support, including products and classes which can make all the difference to you and your baby. To see a list of some of the essential products that our Lactation Professionals have recommended, click Essential Breastfeeding and Baby Care Products

Products to help increase milk


See Other Breastfeeding and Baby Care Help Topics

Copyright©2017 by The Pump Station & Nurtury®. All rights reserved. No part of this handout may be reproduced in any form without permission from The Pump Station. This article has not been prepared by a physician, is not intended as medical advice, and is not a substitute for regular medical care. Consult with a physician if medical symptoms or problems occur. Revised 01/06

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Biting and Teething

Biting and Teething

Most breastfeeding babies will at some point attempt biting. Usually, but not always, biting happens during teething. This can be painful for the mother, but it is a behavior that can be stopped if the mother is persistent.

Why do babies bite?
  • Colds or ear infections can lead babies to bite because it is difficult for them to suck when their noses are congested or their ears hurt. If your baby has difficulty nursing because of nasal congestion, you can try suctioning the nose with a bulb aspirator (or a Nosefrida). Soften the secretions before suctioning by putting a drop or two of breast milk or saline in the baby's nose. Try nursing with your baby's head higher than his or her chest. Walking while nursing is one effective way of doing this with a sick baby. Upright nursing can also help with ear pain. Using a humidifier while your baby is sleeping can also help clear congestion. If your infant is still having difficulty, check with your pediatrician about other treatment options.

     

  • Distraction during nursing. Often an older baby, or one who isn't hungry, can get distracted while nursing. A wriggling, pushing, or rolling baby is difficult to nurse and may clamp down on a mother's nipple in order to look at something across the room or to interact with the mother. To prevent a distracted baby from biting, look for signs of distraction or boredom. Try to end the nursing session before your baby gets bored, or at the first signs of boredom. If your baby is wriggling in your lap and pushing away from your breast, this is the time to end the nursing session. Other tactics are to nurse your baby in a dimly-lit, quiet room, or trying to nurse while lying down in bed, rocking, bouncing, or walking.

     

  • Attention. Some older babies will bite to get their mother's attention if she is not focusing on them during a nursing session. Paying closer attention might help to prevent the biting and will make you aware of when your baby is about to bite.

     

  • Teething is the most common cause of biting. As babies experience discomfort in their gums, they may find sucking uncomfortable. Additionally, they may find it difficult to latch correctly as new teeth cut through the gums. If your baby is biting while nursing, the first thing to do is to make sure that your infant is latched-on correctly. You can also offer a cold washcloth or teether when biting starts. This helps the baby with pain and also sends the message that the nipple is not for biting. Another effective method for dealing with biting is simply to stop the nursing session. Take the baby off of the breast; calmly say "No biting. That hurts mama," and stop the feeding. If the baby is still hungry, you may restart the session after a few minutes. Offering the baby a teether during this break can be helpful. Finally, if baby bites down on the nipple and won't let go, you should bring the baby very close to your body. This action gently forces the baby to open his or her mouth in order to breathe.
How do I know if my baby is teething?

On average, babies will get their first tooth at around six months. Common teething signs include:

  • Fussiness
  • Night waking
  • Swollen or red gums
  • Drooling and coughing
  • Drool rash on chin, chest, or neck
  • Diarrhea/diaper rash
  • Low-grade fever (under 101°)
  • Biting
Teething remedies
  • Frozen or refrigerated wet washcloth
  • Teether toys (cold or room temperature)
  • Homeopathic teething tablets or gels
  • Ice, frozen breast milk or chamomile tea cubes inside a mesh feeder
  • Acetaminophen or ibuprofen (check with your pediatrician before administering these)
  • Over-the-counter numbing gels (not recommended for use prior to breastfeeding as they numb a baby's gums and tongue; this can make latching and sucking difficult)
Does teething mean I have to wean?

While many babies bite at some point during the teething process, it is usually a temporary issue that soon goes away. If your baby is latching correctly, you should not be able to feel your baby's teeth (since the tongue covers the lower teeth and gums). It isn't physically possible for a baby to suck and bite at the same time. Teething is not a cue for a mother to wean her baby. In fact, it is possible to continue nursing a baby with teeth for many months.

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Thrush and Breastfeeding

Thrush and Breastfeeding

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What is Thrush and How Does it Affect Breastfeeding?

Thrush is an irritating yeast infection caused by the fungus Candida albicans. Although this fungus occurs naturally in all human bodies, certain conditions allow it to grow unchecked, which leads to a thrush infection. These conditions include treatment of the mother and/or infant with antibiotics, cracked nipples, use of oral contraceptives and diabetes. It is most commonly seen in the mouth of newborns and babies less than six months of age; it also causes diaper rash, sore nipples and vaginal yeast infections.

Symptoms
Infants normally have a white coating on their tongue, particularly after feedings. But with thrush an infant will have creamy white dots or patches that appear inside the cheeks, on the gums, tongue and lips. These patches look like "spit-up," but it does not wipe or scrape away easily without causing bleeding. In addition, the baby may have a fiery red diaper rash that does not respond to OTC diaper rash remedies. The baby may be excessively gassy, repeatedly pulling off the breast during feedings. The baby may even refuse to nurse altogether because his mouth is sore.

The mother may experience a sudden onset of acute nipple pain during feedings, which may continue even after the feeding is finished. The pain is often described as "burning" and does not improve with better latch or positioning techniques. Shooting pain deep within the breast may also occur and sometimes radiate into the back, shoulder or armpit. Nipples may appear shiny or flaky, and may have a rash of tiny blisters extending onto the areola. There may also be apparent cracks in the nipple, particularly where the nipple and areola meet. Occasionally there are no apparent symptoms. A mother could also be experiencing a vaginal yeast infection.

Treatment
Call both your OB and your Pediatrician for assessment and treatment. If thrush is diagnosed, both mother and baby must be treated with medication prescribed by their health care providers. It is important to note that even if either mother or baby has no visible symptoms; both must be treated simultaneously to prevent reinfection. Treatment must be continued for at least 14 days even if symptoms disappear earlier.

We Offer Virtual Breastfeeding Classes, Consultations & Support Groups if You Need Extra Help.

Infant:
  • Most pediatricians treat thrush with oral Nystatin suspension which must be applied to all affected areas. Do not put the medicine dropper in the baby's mouth; instead place the dose in a small, washable dish and use a Q-tip to apply.
  • Gently wipe out the infant's mouth with a moistened gauze pad after each feeding and before applying the medication.
  • Boil all pacifiers, bottle nipples, and pump parts for 10 minutes each day, or use a Medela Quick Clean Microwave Steam Bags.
  • Wash the baby's hands often, particularly if the hands are in the mouth.
  • For a diaper rash yeast infection, wash baby's bottom with warm, mild soapy (not antibacterial) water, and then rinse with a vinegar and water solution (1 tbsp white vinegar/1 cup of water). Pat dry or use a hair dryer on a low setting to dry the area. Apply an antifungal cream such as Mycolog, Lotrimin, or Motherlove Diaper Balm before diapering. Your pediatrician can prescribe a treatment.
    • Expose baby's bottom to the air several times a day.
  • An alternative remedy to the antifungal medication is to prepare a paste of baking soda and water (1 tbsp baking soda with 3 tbsp water). Apply this solution to the affected areas in the baby's mouth with a Q-tip. This remedy may also be used on the mother's nipples or the baby's bottom.
Mother:
  • Many physicians treat nipple thrush with a prescriptive Nystatin cream. However, other OTC (over the counter) medications may be more effective. Mycolog ointment or vaginal yeast medication such as, Monistat 7, Lotrimin AF, or Micatin are all good options.
  • Another treatment choice is All Purpose Nipple Ointment (APNO). It combines an antifungal, an antibiotic, and a calming steroid. A pharmacist can compound it with a prescription from your doctor. You can provide your physician with the ingredients listed below at the bottom of this handout.*
  • You can also use OTC medication to make APNO yourself. This mixture may not be as effective as the prescriptive APNO. Mix:
    • Antibiotic: Bacitracin or Polysporin (not Neosporin)
    • Anti-fungal: Lotrimin AF (clotriamzole) or Monistat (miconazole)
    • Anti-inflammatory: Hydrocortisone 1%

    Apply an equal amount of each ingredient to the tip of a clean finger. Mix together and apply to nipple and areola four times a day after the feeding. The correct amount of cream will make the nipple and areola appear glossy or shiny. Gently wipe nipple area with a cotton ball dipped in olive oil to remove any remaining cream before nursing.
  • Whichever medication you use, apply medication after each feeding and remove before feeding again. Use a cotton ball soaked in olive oil to remove the medication.
  • After nursing, rinse your nipples in a solution of 1 cup water mixed with 1 tbsp of white vinegar or baking soda. Pat dry and apply antifungal cream.
  • Instead of a topical cream your doctor may prescribe an oral antifungal medication such as Diflucan (Fluconazole) to be taken daily for 14 days.
  • To help relieve nipple pain mix an equal amount of 1% hydrocortisone cream (OTC) with the topical antifungal cream and apply to your nipples and areola.
  • Wear wide-based, hard, Medela nipple shells to prevent your bra from sticking to your sore nipples; or use soft, disposable nursing pads changed at every feeding.
  • Wash your hands frequently. Use paper towels for drying
  • Change bra daily.
  • Reducing consumption of dairy products, heavily sweetened foods and processed carbohydrate foods can be helpful.
  • Probiotics can build good bacteria in the digestive track and help clear the body of the overgrowth of yeast. A reliable brand is Healthy Trinity by Natren; take as directed or follow the directions on the bottle.
    • There are safe probiotics available for babies too.
    • Another immune system booster is Echinacea. Buy a quality brand such as Nature's Way and take 3 to 4 capsules a day.
  • Because freezing does not kill yeast, any milk frozen during the infection will need to be boiled before being given to the baby. It could also be used later when the baby's immune system is stronger. Milk pumped during the infection, but not frozen, can be fed to the baby within 24 hours of pumping.

Alternative Treatment/Gentian Violet
Gentian Violet is an antifungal that is a very old treatment for thrush. Dr. Jack Newman, a Canadian Pediatrician and breastfeeding expert, states it can be very effective when used in conjunction with All Purpose Nipple Cream.
Please be aware: In the US the solution sold is often a 2% solution which is too strong, and probably accounts for the mouth ulcers that some babies get after being treated with it. The pharmacist should dilute it for you.

To learn how to use Gentian Violet go to: https://www.breastfeedinginc.ca/informations/using-gentian-violet/
Revised by Edith Kernerman, IBCLC, and Jack Newman, MD, FRCPC© 2009

*Prescriptive All Purpose Nipple Cream
The ingredients are as follows:

  • 100,000 units/ml Nystatin (15 grams)
  • 0.1% Betamethasone (15 grams)
  • 2% Mupirocin ointment (15 grams)
  • 10% Clotrimazole (vaginal ointment) (15 grams)
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Copyright© 2013 The Pump Station & Nurtury®. All rights reserved. No part of this handout may be reproduced in any form without permission from The Pump Station & Nurtury®. This article has not been prepared by a physician, is not intended as medical advice, and is not a substitute for regular medical care.
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Raynaud's Phenomenon (Vasospasm of the Nipple)

Raynaud's Phenomenon (Vasospasm of the Nipple)

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Raynaud's phenomenon is a term used to describe intermittent loss of blood flow to some extremities due to a spasm in the blood vessels (vasospasm). The most commonly affected areas are the fingers and toes, but it can affect the nipples as well. The constriction of blood flow causes a loss of color and severe pain. Raynaud's phenomenon is known to occur in up to 22% of otherwise healthy women of childbearing age, and is now recognized by many lactation experts as a treatable cause of painful breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding women with Raynaud’s phenomenon experience debilitating nipple pain that usually follows the feeding (although it can occur during the feeding) and may last for hours. When the warm mouth of the baby comes off the breast, the face of the nipple, or part of the nipple, will blanch white and burning pain begins. The nipple can go through several color changes (white, blue, red) and the entire breast may throb. Poor positioning and poor latch may cause nipple damage, nipple blanching and pain, and are thought by some to trigger the problem. However, the symptoms of Raynaud’s phenomenon can occur even without improper breastfeeding techniques and nipple damage. Not all nipple vasospasm is Raynaud's Phenomenon and may fully resolve if the latch can be improved and the damage healed. Exposure to cold is also a known trigger in Raynaud’s phenomenon.

Treatment Options include the following:
  • If your nipples are sore and damaged, make an appointment to see a lactation professional who can evaluate your latch technique and help you to improve it.
    Lactation Consultations are offered at The Pump Station & Nurtury®
  • Prevent or decrease any cold exposure to your breasts. Heat will usually stop the vasospasm, which will increase blood flow to the nipples and help alleviate the pain.
    • Cover breasts and keep them warm. Even your warm hands can help.
    • While nursing, keep the opposite breast covered and warm.
    • Wear hand warmers inside your bra when going out into cold air.
    • Use dry heat when experiencing pain. Try a hair dryer or heating pad to warm breasts. Wet, warm compresses will help during use, but when removed, evaporation will occur causing cooling, and the pain can start again.
    • Massage olive oil, warmed between your fingers, into the nipple when it is burning. Press forward from the base of the nipple which helps blood flow forward into the nipple.
  • Don't smoke. Nicotine is a vasoconstrictor and can increase episodes.
  • Avoid caffeine and other stimulants. Check labels to make sure soft drinks don't contain caffeine.
  • Avoid vibration. Use a good quality breast pump that has a smooth, comfortable action.
  • Reduce stess. Try a post partum yoga class, a few minutes of meditation or a little nap when the baby is sleeping. Let others help with cooking and chores if at all possible.
Medication:
  • Nifedipine. (one 30 mg., long-acting tablet/daily). This prescriptive medication is a calcium channel blocker and vasodilator used in the treatment of high blood pressure. It has been shown to be very effective in quickly relieving the pain of Raynaud's phenomenon and might be the best course of treatment. Very little of this medication enters the milk so it is considered by the American Academy of Pediatrics to be a safe option for breastfeeding women. Call your primary care physician or your obstetrician to discuss. Try Nifedipine for two weeks; if the pain returns you can go back on the medication.
  • Vitamin B6. Take 100-200 mg daily for 4 days, then 25 mg/day from then on. If pain free for 2 weeks, try weaning off altogether.
  • Fish Oil has been helpful to some women. A recent study suggests that a higher than usual dose (perhaps 12 g daily) is required to get results. Check with your physician.

Essential Breastfeeding Support and Baby Care Items
The Pump Station & Nurtury® has decades of experience providing new families with outstanding educational, breastfeeding and baby care support, including products and classes which can make all the difference to you and your baby. To see a list of some of the essential products that our Lactation Professionals have recommended, click Essential Breastfeeding and Baby Care Products
Items Our Team Recommends
breast pain relief cold compress Lansinoh Breast Therapy
Lansinoh 3-1 Breast Therapy
soothe sore breasts with warm booby tubes
Earth Mama Booby Tubes
Easier pumping with Medela Breast Pump
Medela Breast Pumps
deep latch help with nursing pillow
Luna Lullaby Nursing Pillow
better deep-latch with back pillow
The Pump Station Back Pillow
get deep latch using adjustable stool
My Brest Friend Adjustable Stool

Copyright© 2014 by The Pump Station & Nurtury®. All rights reserved. No part of this handout may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, without permission in writing from The Pump Station & Nurtury®. This article has not been prepared by a physician, is not intended as medical advice, and is not a substitute for regular medical care. Consult with a physician if medical symptoms or problems occur. Revised 01/06
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