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Thread: Need help with nipple pain during pumping

  1. #1

    Default Need help with nipple pain during pumping

    My son is now 6 weeks old and I have been pumping exclusively ever since he was born. I have tried several things to relieve my sore nipples and think I may be a lost cause, but hopefully I can get someone's input. I am using the medela pump in style double breast pump. The original breast shields were too big as a great amount of my areola was being pulled into the breast shield during pumping so I got the personal fit connects in a smaller size (21mm) and an insert for the regular size breast shield that makes it smaller. I found that the personal fit breast shield hurts a lot more than the insert. I put lanolin on my nipple and the breast shield inside and slightly outside the tunnel. I have taken ibuprofen 30 minutes before pumping sessions. I have tried the hydrogel pads. I allow my nipples to air dry with expressed breastmilk on them. I then put for lanolin on before I put my bra back on. I actually try to keep my shirt and bra off as long as I can so no irritation occurs. When I do put on a bra, I put breast pads underneath it. I have put cold compresses on my nipples after pumping. I only clean them with water. I've tried doing shorter pumping sessions over a shorter period of time, either 5 minutes every hour, or about 8-10 minutes every two hours instead of the regular 15 minutes every three hours. I notice I can't really stand pumping for more than 8 minutes before my nipple really start to hurt. While the extra nipple pain during pumping is recent, probably over the past week, I have had nipple soreness since my first breastfeeding when I delivered. I've been told it would go away, but it has not after 6 weeks. My nipples don't look infected or anything. Only a small portion of my areola gets pulled into the flange now, and that part is pink. I'm not sure what else I can do. Someone please help!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    21,236

    Default Re: Need help with nipple pain during pumping

    Welcome to the forum!

    Can you describe the pain a bit more? Is it a burning sensation, or more of a pinching? Does the nipple ever appear to blanch (turn white) at the tip, or perhaps blanch and then turn bluish-purple?
    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!"

  3. #3

    Default Re: Need help with nipple pain during pumping

    They don't blanch, but they do turn purple. I do keep my pump at its lowest setting. The pain is a sharp pain, but as soon as I feel that I immediately stop pumping. I don't feel the sharp pain after I stop the pump, my nipples then go back to the tender/ sore feeling.

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Need help with nipple pain during pumping

    did you have antibiotics recently, including delivery? any signs of yeast or thrush in you or baby (vaginal, diaper area, baby's mouth, your armpits)?
    DS1 6/7/11
    DS2 10/29/13

    Nursing, pumping, cloth-diapering, babywearing, working professor mama with the awesomest SAHD ever.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Need help with nipple pain during pumping

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*auderey View Post
    did you have antibiotics recently, including delivery? any signs of yeast or thrush in you or baby (vaginal, diaper area, baby's mouth, your armpits)?
    No I haven't taken antibiotics, nor does it seems there's any sign of yeast or thrush anywhere, however, Now that I've tried to be more aware after pumping I do notice a faint burning sensation in my breast.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Need help with nipple pain during pumping

    Turning purple and a burning pain suggests vasospasms: http://kellymom.com/bf/concerns/moth...ple-blanching/ If vasospasms are the source of the problem, changing your shield size (yes, again! ) may help, since vasospasms are often caused by compression of the nipple.

    Do you start your pump out on the highest level, or the lowest?
    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!"

  7. #7

    Default Re: Need help with nipple pain during pumping

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*mommal View Post
    Turning purple and a burning pain suggests vasospasms: http://kellymom.com/bf/concerns/moth...ple-blanching/ If vasospasms are the source of the problem, changing your shield size (yes, again! ) may help, since vasospasms are often caused by compression of the nipple.

    Do you start your pump out on the highest level, or the lowest?
    I'm assuming. I should change the breast shield back to the medium size then? Although with the small sized breast shield my nipples still aren't touching or rubbing against the sides of the tunnel. I have only used my pump at its lowest setting, I have never started or ended it out a higher level because my extreme tenderness. Unfortunately I have to brace myself before each pumping session because I know it'll hurt. I'm so miserable with this issue the worst thing is that I had my 6 week check up at my ob/gym and told him of my issues and he didn't even seem concerned, he made it seem as though it was normal and basically told me that it's okay to just formula feed. While I know it's okay to formula feed, I would prefer giving my baby breastmilk, not to mention the high cost of buying formula all the time just isn't something I want to do. I just don't know where I can go to get the proper care to ensure my needs are met concerning this issue.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Need help with nipple pain during pumping

    Maybe go see your family doc- and bring your pump with you so that you ca demonstrate what's going on. Nipples that turn purple sounds more like Raynaud's of the nipple than simple vasospasm, and there is a treatment for Raynaud's- a drug called Nifedipine.

    If your nipples aren't rubbing agains the sides of the shield, then I don't know if you need to go up a size. It's one of those things that you try, and if it helps, good, and if it doesn't you go back to doing what you were doing before.

    I totally understand why breastfeeding is important to you. You want your bAby to get your milk, and the many side of the equation is no joke! I remember being astonished at how fast my newborn daughter went through those $20 cans of formula, and they were only being used to supplement.
    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!"

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Need help with nipple pain during pumping

    i would actually go see an IBCLC before a family doc for this pumping issue. make sure to call her ahead and confirm that she has experience with pumping.

    and yes, keep experimenting with shield sizes - sometimes they change over time.
    DS1 6/7/11
    DS2 10/29/13

    Nursing, pumping, cloth-diapering, babywearing, working professor mama with the awesomest SAHD ever.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Need help with nipple pain during pumping

    Auderey makes a good point. If a LC, preferably an IBCLC, is available, that would be the best first stop.
    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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