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Thread: White Nipples?

  1. #1

    Default White Nipples?

    I've been exclusively pumping for my daughter for six weeks. She's in the NICU for CDH and doing great. She's getting full feeds of fortified breast milk for her weight, but continuously through a pump; after she's weaned off her morphine, we'll work on bolus feeds. When she's getting her feeds in a shorter amount of time, we'll try offering a bottle and eventually try actually breastfeeding.

    I've had all sorts of problems pumping. I've had mastitis three times, and milk blisters a few times. For the past few weeks, my nipples have been white when wet; not the whole nipple, but most of it. And the white sections peel off. When dry, they look scabbed, and the scabby looking area looks cracked. But they're only sore when I first start pumping. In the past few days, they've also become shaped weird. I'm assuming what they look like is what I've seen referred to on these forums as lipstick shaped.

    My baby has also developed thrush. The doctors aren't real concerned about it; she's on nystatin and it seems to be clearing up. While she hasn't actually eaten BM by mouth (only by NG tube), we do mouth care and dip her pacifier in BM so she gets the taste. Thrush is yeast, right? So maybe I have a yeast infection? I asked my LC about it, but she said she'd never seen the scabbing like I have, especially since it's not painful, and that a yeast infection on nipples appears as pink or red. So what do I have, and how can I treat it?

    Also, milk blisters. I have three right now on my right nipple, and they hurt!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    69

    Default Re: White Nipples?

    What size breast shield are you using with your pump? I had something similar happen while my LO was in the NICU, and had to move to a larger size shield. Could be yours is either too big or too small.

    Also, are you using a good lanolin on your nipples after pumping? I dried out alot when pumping, but once I switched to the lansinoh brand that cleared up. Over-drying could cause your skin to get kind of scabby.
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    20,940

    Default Re: White Nipples?

    with the PP. I'm leaning towards this being a shield issue. A poor fit could cause misshapen nipples, blisters, and vasospasms (which is what I'm guessing is causing the white color you're noticing). It could also be related to the mastitis, since nipple trauma can contribute to plugs and cracked are can provide inlets for bacteria. But that wouldn't rule out thrush- if your baby has thrush, there's a good chance that you have it, too.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  4. #4

    Default Re: White Nipples?

    I think I'm using 34s. I've had a couple of LCs look at my nipples and shields while pumping and the size up is too big and a size down is too small.

    I should clarify about the white color. The vasospams as described in the link sounds like the skin of the nipple turns white. That's not what's happening with my nipples. The skin doesn't turn white before, after, or during pumping, and it doesn't look like lack of blood. Instead, portions of my nipple turn white when they're wet. So I see it right after I'm done pumping and in the shower. And the skin that is white comes off if I rub it gently (and sometimes not so gently). It's dead skin or nearly so. It doesn't hurt when it comes off, unless I rub hard on parts that are not yet completely dead.

    I was taking acidophilous (I am prone to vaginal yeast infections), but ran out a week or two ago and hadn't had time to get anymore. I've used lanolin on and off. I don't use it more often because I was afraid that it might be harmful because of whatever is wrong with my nipples because then my nipples never get air. I spend all my time at the NICU, so I only have a chance to wash it off at night.

    I just went and bought some more acidophilous, and I'm going to start using the lanolin again. When should I use the lanolin? At night when I'm sleeping (the only time I'm not wearing a bra)? After each pumping session? Before a pumping session, so it helps lubricate during the session?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    20,940

    Default Re: White Nipples?

    Hmm, okay, I take back the thing about vasospasms. What you describe now sounds more thrush-y to me. White patches that rub or flake off- that really sounds like thrush.

    If this is thrush, you are right to avoid lanolin, since it's going to seal in moisture and yeastloves moisture. I'd discontinue using it, and use a few drops of olive oil to lubricate your nipples when pumping.

    ETA: maybe something like this would help yonget a better fit with the shields? http://www.amazon.com/Medela-27s-Sof.../dp/B000A88JZ0
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  6. #6

    Default Re: White Nipples?

    Those soft shields look like a good idea; I'm going to pick up a couple and try them. And the olive oil is a great idea!

    So what can I use to treat the thrush? I've heard gentian violet? I'm assuming my LC can prescribe something that is safe for baby?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    20,940

    Default Re: White Nipples?

    Talk to your LC and search the forum for thrush threads. There are a lot of pele with (unfortunately) a lot of experience around here. From what I've read, the first line of treatment for mom and baby is Nystatin, along with good hygiene. If that doesn't work, you may have to try GV or grapefruit seed extract or diflucan.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

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