Let’s be honest, nipple piercings look great. However, now that you’re about to be a mom who wants to breastfeed, you may be having some concerns regarding breastfeeding. Can you breastfeed with nipple piercings? Is it safe? Here is what we know.
Can You Breastfeed with Nipple Piercings?
According to What to Expect, experts have agreed that nipple piercings don’t usually have an impact on breastfeeding. However, the research surrounding this is limited.
If you’re wondering if you’ll be able to produce and express milk, the answer is yes. Usually, a nipple piercing doesn’t have any impact on your ability to produce milk or feed your baby.
However, not everybody’s experience is the same.
There are some issues you may run into trying to breastfeed with a nipple piercing such as:
- Mastitis – Mastitis is an infection in the breast tissue. What to Expect said people who are breastfeeding with a piercing have a higher chance of developing mastitis.
- Interrupted Milk Flow – In some instances, the piercing may interrupt the milk flow. According to Healthline, if the “piercing blocks or causes damage to ducts in the nipple”, then the milk may not flow as easily.
- Closed Milk Ducts – According to the Very Well Family, if your piercing was infected in the past, it could cause your milk ducts to be blocked. That’s due to scarring that may happen after an infection. However, nursing or pumping regularly may help.
- Impaired Milk Ejection Reflex – La Leche League International claims that nerve damage from a nipple piercing may impair your milk ejection reflex.
Do You Have to Take Nipple Jewelry Out When You Breastfeed?
Taking out the nipple jewelry is important for the safety of the baby. What to Expect states that even if you feel that the jewelry is secure, it can still pose a choking hazard. In addition to that, the piercing may cause cuts in the baby’s mouth.
People who breastfeed sometimes take out the jewelry for the whole breastfeeding period or just for individual feeds. Very Well Family recommends keeping the jewelry out for the entirety of the breastfeeding period.
What to Expect echoes the same sentiment and says, “If there’s any chance that you might forget, you’re better off removing the jewelry altogether — at least during the first several months when you’re likely to be nursing around the clock.”
There is also a chance the jewelry could affect the baby’s ability to get a proper latch.
If you’re taking out the jewelry for individual feeds, you should make sure you wash your hands before and after.
What Are Some Tips for Breast Feeding With a Nipple Piercing?
Besides removing the jewelry, What to Expect suggests washing your nipple beforehand. That way, you can remove old skin cells and discharge them before feeding time.
Even if you wash, there could still be old skin cells and discharge so What to Expect suggests expressing your milk for about two minutes before feeding the baby. That way your baby doesn’t swallow any gunk.
Finally, pay attention to how your baby is feeding. Since milk can come out faster when the nipples are pierced, you may need to experiment with positions. That way the baby can be fed at a convenient pace for them.
Can You Get a Nipple Piercing While Breastfeeding?
According to La Leche League International, it’s not recommended. As a matter of fact, many piercers won’t do it or will just have you sign a waiver. The reasoning behind their decision is that piercings come with certain risks such as a chance of getting an infection.
What To Expect says that nipple piercings are up to 20% more likely to become infected. Breastfeeding while having an infected piercing, is of course, never ideal.
In addition to that, the article states that there are bacteria in your baby’s mouth that may increase your risk of infections such as mastitis.
It’s also important to note that nipple piercings can take up to a year to heal.
How Long After Breastfeeding Can You Pierce Your Nipples?
You’ll need to wait a couple of months after you stop breastfeeding to pierce your nipple.
According to La Leche League International, “It is suggested that mothers wait until 3-4 months after weaning before getting nipple piercings as hormonal changes during breastfeeding can affect the healing process.
Can You Get a Nipple Piercing While Pregnant?
If you’re pregnant right now, it’s best to hold off on the nipple piercing and tattoos. Some piercers won’t pierce your nipples while you’re pregnant either.
Piercings come with some risks and it’s advised to not take on these risks while pregnant. What to Expect says that your piercing may be “more prone to infection during pregnancy”. That’s due to your immune system being weaker and having a harder time keeping infections at bay.
If you do decide to go ahead with the piercing, make sure you find a professional piercer in a clean shop. In addition to that, make sure you keep up with aftercare to reduce the possibility of infection. But remember, getting the piercing is not recommended.
Can you breastfeed with nipple piercings? Yes, you can. Most people won’t have any issues. However, if you’re having issues talk to a lactation consultant or your regular doctor. The most important tip is to remove the jewelry before feeding so the baby isn’t harmed.
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