Does your nipple piercing affect your ability to breastfeed your baby?
That’s a question often asked by breastfeeding mums. But nipple piercings rarely cause complications. There are plenty of ways to ensure it works for you and your baby but you should be mindful of issues with leaking milk from piercing holes, mastitis and scar tissue. However, the good news is that it’s usually not a cause for concern.
Here we answer some of the concerns mums have
Can I still make breast milk if have a piercing?
Yes! Pierced nipples and nipple jewellery don’t usually cause any complications for breastfeeding mums. The piercing – a nipple bar or a nipple ring – won’t affect your ability to make your baby’s breast milk. While you may notice that breastmilk leaks out of the hole in your piercing, that’s not a huge problem. If you have a piercing somewhere else on the breast, away from your nipple, it may be affect the breast milk supply from the breastmilk ducts and it could cause mastitis if it plugs the duct. It’s best to get a doctor to check this out if you’re concerned of the placement of the piercing.
Should I feed my baby with the nipple jewellery still on my breast?
This can cause two issues.
- Any nipple jewellery left on your breast or nipple can be dangerous. If it comes off in your baby’s mouth while you’re breastfeeding, then your baby could choke.
- It could also hurt your baby’s sensitive mouth while they’re feeding and prevent them from latching on properly.
As a result, it’s usually best to remove your nipple piercing, whether it’s a bar or a ring, before the birth of your baby.
My nipple piercing caused an infection when I first got it, will that cause a problem with breastfeeding?
If you’ve had any infection related to your breast piercing, it could cause a few concerns. Infections can cause scarring and scarring can leave small holes in your nipples which could block the flow of milk. It’s best to consult your doctor or midwife to see if there will be any complications.
What do I do if milk leaks out of the hole of my piercing?
Just use a breast pad or nursing pad in your bra to help soak up the excess milk.
Could I pierce my nipples while breastfeeding?
It’s strongly recommended that you don’t pierce your breasts or nipples while you’re breastfeeding a baby. The safest time is around a year before you fall pregnant as piercings can take up to six months to heal. Always make sure you go to a reputable piercer and if you think you have any scar tissue, tell your doctor. Allergies to certain metals in the ring or bar of the nipple piercing aren’t uncommon. Gold that is nickel free, Platinum, Niobium or surgical Stainless steel are the safest metals to use for body piercing jewelry.
Will breastfeeding feel different?
Every mum's experience of breastfeeding is different but it shouldn't. A nipple piercing can change the sensitivity of your nipple - with by increasing or decreasing it but it shouldn't be any different to another mum's experience.
Always consult your doctor or health practitioner if you have any queries.
Frances Sheen has been a magazine and website journalist & editor for the last 20 years - both in Australia and the UK. She's appeared on countless TV and radio shows to discuss parenting and launched her own social media parenting brand. She's the mum of two little girls and juggles that with a busy working life.