Question: Can you breastfeed with nipple piercings?
Answer: Yes, so long as you have the piercing removed prior to breastfeeding.
Getting your nipples pierced is something most often done when you’re a young woman. Nipple piercing breastfeeding questions were not even close to being top of mind. You probably weren’t even thinking of having a baby! Let alone entertaining thoughts such as “Am I going to breastfeed when I have my first baby?” or “Hmm. Does nipple piercing affect breastfeeding in the future?”All you were thinking about is just how amazing your new nipple bar or ring would look–and why not. But now that you’re expecting a baby, how does one go through breastfeeding after a nipple piercing?
It’s so important to remove your jewellery
Wearing your nipple piercing regardless of nipple jewellery style – be it a bar or ring, is a choking hazard. It can also affect how the baby latches, and even damage the baby’s mouth. It is recommended that the nipple piercing is removed completely by the 6th month of pregnancy. Taking it on and off when breastfeeding will make your nipples susceptible to infection and tenderness.
What if I had my nipples pierced long ago?
If you have previously had your nipples pierced, there is no reason why you can’t breastfeed. You’ll probably notice some leaking where the piercing used to be, but that’s totally normal. You may also find some sensitive areas on the areola or the nipple itself. This is something you’ll eventually get used to in your breastfeeding journey.
Do nipple piercings affect breast feeding if I’ve had an infected nipple?
A woman’s nipples and areolas are packed with nerves that send messages to the brain that a baby is latching and it’s now time for the milk ducts to produce milk. The only cause of concern of a nipple piercing that has been infected is the scarring it might have caused. Scarring causes milk duct blockage and this can significantly affect your milk supply.
If you’ve noticed some numbing around your nipple area after you’ve gotten your nipple pierced, you may have some nerve damage. This can lessen or completely diminish your milk supply. Do keep in mind though,that should there be significant nerve damage on one nipple, you can always breastfeed from the other! It is always best to consult with your doctor.
Here are some tips to make breastfeeding work for you and your baby:
- Make sure your doctor is informed about the piercing. They are the best person to inform you of the next steps to make. It is advised that a complete assessment of your breasts and milk supply is done so that you both can talk about what needs to be done.
- Do not wear the piercing while breastfeeding. Again, this may cause harm to the baby.
- Keep washable or disposable nursing pads at arm’s reach. These will come in handy when leaking from the piercing occurs.
- Breastfeed early and often. This will help stimulate any ducts that might have been affected by the piercing.
- If you plan to have a nipple piercing in the future after breastfeeding, it is recommended to do so 3 months after weaning. This way your nipples have had enough time to heal from the effects of pregnancy and breastfeeding.
If you’ve had a nipple piercing or would like a nipple piercing, rest assured there are ways make breastfeeding successful for you! It’s all about making sure your healthcare team is informed, you are aware of the risks, and you follow the advice of your doctor.
Malia, M. (2017). Will My Nipple Piercing Screw Up My Chances of Breastfeeding?. Retrieved from: https://tonic.vice.com/en_us/article/paang9/will-my-nipple-piercing-screw-up-my-chances-of-breast-feeding
n.a. (2017). Can you breastfeed with pierced nipples?. Retrieved from: https://www.motherlove.com/blog/view/can-you-breastfeed-with-pierced-nipples
Sheen, F. (2018). Can you breastfed with nipple piercings?. Retrieved from: https://www.practicalparenting.com.au/can-you-breastfeed-with-nipple-piercings