Can You Breastfeed With Nipple Piercings?

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Mamas come in all shapes and sizes, in every colour of the rainbow, and many have beautiful tats and piercings that make them totally badass. While every mother should feel comfortable expressing herself however she chooses, it can be problematic to breastfeed with nipple piercings, says Dr Lauren Hanley, an ob-gyn and certified lactation consultant. “It is not recommended to breastfeed with anything in the nipple that could come out into the baby’s mouth during nursing,” she explains. “Therefore, all piercings should be removed prior to breastfeeding for the safety of the baby.” Apparently, there are other issues that can occur for mums who try to breastfeed with nipple piercings, too.

Do nipple piercings affect milk supply?

Unfortunately, yes. “They can cause some blockage of the ducts right at their exit through the nipple, and this can cause low supply over time if the breasts cannot be emptied effectively,” says Dr Hanley. That being said, most women are able to successfully breastfeed once the piercings are removed; however, it’s a good idea to discuss the issue with your healthcare provider during your pregnancy, she adds.

Is it okay to get a nipple piercing while breastfeeding?

Any piercings come with the risk of infection. If you get a nipple piercing and it becomes infected, the infection could be transmitted to the baby during breastfeeding, says Dr Hanley. “In addition, I would not recommend getting a piercing while breastfeeding, especially because the jewellery must remain in the nipple during the healing process and you don’t want the baby breastfeeding when you have a piercing in,” she adds. Wait until your baby has been weaned before getting new piercings.

Are certain pieces of jewellery more safe than others?

Nope. According to Dr Hanley, all jewellery for a nipple piercing is considered unsafe while breastfeeding since the baby or toddler could choke if it falls out into his mouth. And again, there’s always the risk of infection simply by having a piercing, she adds.

At the end of the day, you need to decide what’s more important to you: the nipple piercing, or the health of your baby. While breastfeeding can be done by removing your piercings, it’s not the safest choice, and you probably don’t want to get any new piercings until your breastfeeding days are over.

More for breastfeeding mums:

Image: Getty