Have you ever wondered what one of the most common questions piercers usually get about nipple piercings?
Well, it probably won’t surprise you to know that the top concern is breastfeeding. Can you still breastfeed with nipple piercings?
Do nipple piercings damage your nipples and prevent you from breastfeeding? If you can breastfeed, what do you need to do to make it safe?
These are just a few of the questions piercers get asked, and if you’re considering a nipple piercing yourself, these questions are probably swirling around your head, too.
Ready to learn more? Stick with us to explore how nipple piercings can affect breastfeeding, and what to know before you get them pierced.
Can You Breastfeed With Nipple Piercings?
The short answer is yes, you can. In most cases, those who have had their nipples pierced can still continue to breastfeed.
If your nipples are pierced correctly, they will not have an impact on breastfeeding, however, some experts believe that your piercings may make it harder for your baby to latch on.
Is It Safe To Breastfeed With Nipple Piercings?
Here’s the real question, though – is it safe to breastfeed with nipple piercings?
Although you can breastfeed with these piercings, there are a few concerns, including:
- Nerve damage that can impact milk ejection
- Risk of choking for your baby
- Damage to the tissue inside your baby’s mouth
- Faster milk flow can be harder to manage
Although research is quite limited in this area, people who breastfeed are more prone to issues such as mastitis when they have nipple piercings.
In some cases, your piercing may have even caused nerve damage or scarring which could affect your milk flow, making it extremely hard to breastfeed your baby.
Although not everyone with nipple piercings will experience these issues, it’s important to be aware of the risks.
There’s also another risk we haven’t discussed yet: infection. Like any piercing, nipple piercings also come with the risk of infection.
However, nipple piercings come with an even higher risk of infection.
These risks are elevated even before you start breastfeeding, but when you do start, your piercing holes will be exposed to the bacteria in your baby’s mouth and your milk, which drastically increases your risk of infection.
Can You Get Your Nipples Pierced While You’re Breastfeeding?
The short answer is no – any experienced piercer will NOT want to pierce your nipples if you’re breastfeeding.
When you’re actively breastfeeding, there’s a much higher risk of infection, especially as your piercing can already take up to a whole year to heal completely.
Whether you’re pre or post-natal, you’re also likely to be more susceptible to infection due to either sleep deprivation or pregnancy, so if you do get an infection, it will be much harder for your body to fight off.
If you’re set on getting your nipples pierced, wait until you’re done with breastfeeding, and NEVER trust a piercer that would knowingly pierce your nipples when you’re breastfeeding.
What About When You’re Pregnant?
The same rules apply when you’re pregnant. Any reputable piercer will not pierce your nipples if you’re pregnant, as you may be up to 20% more likely to develop an infected piercing.
You’re better off waiting until after your pregnancy and your breastfeeding until you get your nipples pierced.
How To Breastfeed With A Nipple Piercing
If you already had your nipples pierced before you started breastfeeding, you’ll probably find that you have a LOT to learn about breastfeeding.
Before we walk you through how to breastfeed with pierced nipples, let us just say: the longer your nipples have been pierced BEFORE you start breastfeeding, the better.
Ideally, you’ll want your piercing to be completely healed before breastfeeding, which can take just over a year.
Unless you’ve experienced an infection before, or your piercer has damaged your nipple during the piercing process, you should be able to breastfeed comfortably, but it may take some practice.
Here’s how to breastfeed with nipple piercings:
Remove Your Jewelry Before Feeding
No matter what jewelry you have in your nipples, it should be removed before feeding your baby. Your jewelry can present a significant choking risk and could even damage their mouth tissue.
If you think you may forget to remove your jewelry before feeding, it’s best to remove it altogether, Never breastfeed with your jewelry in place.
Clean Your Piercing
Regularly clean your nipples after each clean to avoid infection. We’d recommend cleaning your nipples with warm soapy water or salt water.
If you’re taking your jewelry in and out between feeds, be sure to keep cleaning it and remove any old discharge from both your piercings and your nipples.
Find The Right Position
Finding the right position to breastfeed your baby in can involve a lot of trial and error.
Your piercing will cause your milk to flow differently, so you’ll need to adjust yourself to find the right position for you and your baby.
If your baby is struggling to latch on or take enough milk, try learning back or lying on your side. Keep testing different positions until you feel comfortable with how your baby is feeding.
If you’re breastfeeding, you’ll be feeding your newborn between eight to twelve times a day. This means you’ll be putting your piercings in and out as many as twenty-four times a day!
Many breastfeeding parents will choose to remove their piercings completely while breastfeeding to avoid this inconvenience.
The Bottom Line
Although breastfeeding with nipple piercings is possible, it’s not always safe. If your piercings are new, the risks to you and your baby can be even higher.
We’d recommend taking your piercings out for the duration of your breastfeeding period to protect both you and your baby, and remember: never breastfeed with your jewelry in, as you could put your baby at serious risk of choking or tissue damage.