Why Do My Nipples Turn Purple When I Pump?

nipple turn purple when i pump

Do your nipples turn purple after pumping? If this is the case, there could be a variety of reasons for it. Read the article below to find out what these reasons are and how you can bring them back to normal.

Reasons For Purple Nipples After Pumping

Many mothers worry that their breasts get purple and painful after pumping. This section will explore the potential causes of that uneasy sensation.

1. Pumping For A Long Period Of Time

The primary reason for nipple discoloration and pain is overexertion and prolonged pumping. It limits the amount of blood in this area, which is the cause. This overstimulation will eventually lead supply to exceed demand.

15 minutes for each breast is a decent amount of time for each pumping session. If your breasts are still milky, you can pump for an additional minute or two, but no more than five.

2. Using The Incorrect Flange Size

The portion of the breast pump that covers your breast and nipple is called the flange. Unfortunately, the majority of women utilize the standard flange size that is provided with the breast pump and is unaware that flanges are not universally sized like many of the pants on the market.

There are several manufacturers that provide various flange sizes, and each one’s website also has a sizing chart. As a result, measure your nipples and get a different flange size that will suit your breasts precisely.

If you choose to get a larger size, it will be useless since there will be an excessive gap and the suction won’t work well enough. On the other hand, if you wind up with a smaller flange size, nipples will end up rubbing on the sides of the inner pump rather than being sucked into the inner funnel, which can surely cause nipple discoloration and pain.

3. Incorrect Placement Of The Breast Pump

The breast pump must then be appropriately mounted to your breasts once the flange size is set. Your nipple should be in the center of the flange, that is, not to the left or to the right, but in the center.

Incorrect placement of the breast pump can result in bruises to the nipple and areola as well as uncomfortable nipples and even nipple damage.

4. Using High Speed And Maximum Suction Level

You wouldn’t be more mistaken if you believed that by maintaining the suction and speed levels high, your breast milk supply will flow out swiftly and you would be finished in a matter of seconds.

When starting, keep the suction and speed levels low and gradually raise them. You should prepare a bottle for your infant instead of pumping if you need 3 oz in less than 5 minutes because you cannot speed up the pumping process. As a result, schedule your day properly.

Attempt to recreate your baby’s nursing environment so that the milk will flow more effortlessly. In addition to making your nipples painful, using too much suction and speed will also cause less milk to be produced.

5. Breast Engorgement

Breast Engorgement may also be the cause of your nipples becoming purple during pumping. Simply put, this condition explains how painfully engorged breasts may be. You will notice that this portion is firmer and warmer than normal when you touch it.

The causes of this illness are several. First, after giving delivery, the body will produce too much milk. Second, emptying more frequently requires more effort.

Fortunately, you may reduce severe pain by using a cold or warm compress. You may feel better after getting a breast massage or taking a hot bath. Backpressure softening is another technique you may employ to facilitate lactation. Gently push the nipple by wrapping the tip of your finger around it.

6. Vasospasms

There is a potential that you may get nipple vasospasms if you have a family history of Raynaud’s phenomenon or experience chilly feet and hands due to poor blood circulation.

Vasospasms can happen in every blood artery in the body, including the hands, eyes, brain, heart, and brain. It happens because the reduced blood flow causes that area of the body to turn white. You could also feel intense nipple discomfort like burning or throbbing in addition to nipple discoloration. Your nipple discomfort might range from minor to severe.

Even white or bright red might appear before returning to the normal shade in your nipple. If you do have any symptoms, speak with your doctor or lactation consultant.

Tips To Treat Purple Nipples

nipple turn purple when pump

Your areola and nipples might have been injured if you have properly operated the breast pump and resized the flanges but are still experiencing discomfort. To alleviate the problem, apply a few of the techniques listed below.

1. Stay Warm

Vasospasm episodes typically happen when moist nipples are exposed to the chilly air. Therefore, especially during cold weather, you shouldn’t let the areola air dry. Instead, wrap this area with a warm towel to keep any chilly air out.

To be warm, you should also put on a wool bra or another layer of clothes. It’s also advisable to nurse while sitting in a hot chair or using a heating pad to keep your hands warm.

2. Use Supplements

A mother’s breasts are significantly impacted by her daily diet and food intake.

The first thing you should remember is to avoid birth control tablets that contain estrogen, caffeine, and nicotine. This medication should not be used during nursing since it will reduce the supply.

Additionally, consume 100 mg of vitamin B6 twice a day in addition to a calcium-magnesium supplement. Use them up till the ache disappears.

3. Take Care of Your Skin

Try any of these solutions if pumping is causing your nipples to swell or turn purple:

  • To the affected area, apply a soothing lotion. The finest liquid for relieving pain is olive oil. Each time, you simply need to apply a very small amount on your fingertips.
  • In a solution of equal parts water and salt, soak your nipples several times a day for a few minutes each time.
  • Apply breast milk to the nipples after pumping to relieve skin irritation. Breast milk volume has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory qualities that benefit the areola.


You need to do everything perfectly, such as having a correct latch, utilizing the ideal flange size, and putting your breasts correctly into breast pumps when pumping for an easier session, whether you’re exclusive pumping or doing both.

If you use the incorrect flange size, pump for significantly longer than is advised, or exceed the appropriate levels of suction and speed, you will experience nipple pain, and your nipples may even change color as a result.

However, if you’re still in discomfort after adjusting the flange size, fixing your poor latch, or maintaining the suction level as low as possible, call your doctor or lactation specialist right away.