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The Dreadful Truth About Nipple Piercings: Do nipple piercings affect breastfeeding?

Body piercing has a long history of being recognized as a symbol of beauty and religious expression. Breastfeeding has a long history of being recognized as a symbol of life.

Mothers have breastfed their babies since the beginning of time. The use of baby formula has not always been the fallback for mothers who have trouble with producing milk or latching issues.

Prior to the invention of baby formula, mothers would give their babies to other nursing mothers to breastfeed their babies when nursing was not a possibility for them. This is how they got around the challenges of breastfeeding.

Nipple piercing has recently experienced resurgence in the past twenty years. The practice of nipple piercing, however, has been around since as far back as 1400 BC.

There is no research on how many women of yesteryear pierced their nipples and breastfed their babies successfully, but researchers are beginning to do the research now.

Do nipple piercings affect breastfeeding? Many mothers-to-be are beginning to ask this question in an effort to prepare for the possibilities.

We have done the research and have an answer to help you make a more informed decision on whether or not having a nipple pierced is an option for you.

Can I Breastfeed?

Most mothers look forward to the experience of breastfeeding. You have just created life and now you will produce nutrition to feed that life.

The human body is a miraculous thing. There is no true extent to what we can learn about the human body and its capacity to function.

So, will your decision to pierce your nipples prevent you from breastfeeding? The short answer is most likely not.

There is no medical evidence stating that getting your nipples pierced will definitely prevent you from breastfeeding. Like anything else in life, there are a few instances where you can develop issues with breastfeeding; however, most women go on to breastfeed with no issue despite having a nipple or both of their nipples pierced.

What Are The Risk of Nipple Piercing?

Anytime you enter a foreign object into your body you run the risk of developing problems. Getting your nipples pierced is not exempt from any type of risk.

Reputable piercers know the appropriate placing, depth, diameter, and width to pierce the body in order for the jewelry to be accepted as a natural addition to the body. You can maintain a piercing if it is well taken care of, however, poor hygiene, poor nutrition, stress, and unnecessary manipulation of the jewelry can cause your body to reject the piercing.

Sometimes it is possible to re-pierce the nipple, however, the drawback to this is a re-piercing can damage the nipple and cause problems with breastfeeding.

Infection

Infection is one of the most common risks of nipple piercings. The bright side of this knowledge is infections can be prevented.

Before you allow a piercing artist to pierce any part of your body, it would be a good idea to have them checked out thoroughly first. The United States requires every professional piercer to register with the department of health to ensure they have taken the appropriate precautions to prevent cross contamination and to stay on top of all updated rules and regulations.

You can check with the department of health in your area to see if they are registered.

Milk Duct Damage

Nipple piercing can cause damage to your breast that could hinder your milk production.

Your breast milk flows through your milk ducts. Any type of damage to your milk ducts can affect your ability to produce milk efficiently.

One of the risks of nipple piercing is your milk ducts can become obstructed or damaged. This damage could result in low milk production or no milk production.

Leakage

Any form of piercing is a hole being placed in your body. A nipple piercing is a hole big enough to cause problems with breastfeeding.

Studies show that if you do not remove your nipple jewelry prior to breastfeeding, your baby can experience leakage from the piercing hole. Leaking can cause milk to come out too quickly and your baby can choke.

Other issues you could potentially suffer from are

  • Latching issues
  • Your baby could experience gagging from an excess stream of milk flow
  • Your baby could begin to slurp while eating
  • Your baby could have trouble staying attached to the nipple

Rejection

Our bodies are a lot more delicate than we give them credit for. If we eat something spoiled, the body has a way of rejecting the spoiled food to protect itself.

Our body can do the same when we introduce foreign objects into it. If our body does not agree with a specific object, it will reject it.

A rejection of your nipple piercing can result in an infection or loss of normal sensitivity.

Choking Hazard

This is going to sound silly for us to have to say, but we are going to say it anyway. Your baby could possibly choke if you do not remove your nipple jewelry prior to breastfeeding.

Your baby could suck the jewelry out of the nipple and choke on it or they can injure their mouth. This is why it is best to get your piercing done 18-24 months prior to getting pregnant so the nipple can heal completely.

Important Things to Know

If you are considering getting your nipples pierced, there are a few things you need to consider before doing it. The first thing you need to be fully aware of is the healing time of nipples.

It can take nipples anywhere from six months to a year to heal completely. It is recommended you pierce your nipples 18 to 24 months prior to getting pregnant or 3 months after you have weaned your baby off the breast.

Getting your nipples pierced 18 to 24 months prior to pregnancy gives your nipples a chance to heal completely and it ensures your piercing hole will not close if the jewelry is removed for breastfeeding purposes.

It is not advisable to get your nipples pierced during pregnancy. A reputable body piercer will refuse a pregnant woman service due to the trauma that can be inflicted on the mother's body and the fetus within.

Medically speaking, there is no true evidence that getting your nipples pierce will absolutely hinder you from producing milk and successfully breastfeeding your baby when the time comes. You do, however, want to keep in mind that there are risks like there are risks with everything we do.

Always make sure you enlist the services of a registered, professional piercer to reduce the possibilities of experiencing any complications. Piercers who register with the department of health take classes to learn all the rules and regulations to keep you and all their clients protected.

You can contact your local department of health for referrals of registered, reputable piercers in your area. You want to utilize the services of a piercer who knows how to prevent cross contamination and uses proper sanitation procedures.

The most important tip we feel you should consider is paying attention to the timeline. You want to wait at least 3 months after you wean your baby off of your breast or get your nipple piercing done 18-24 months before you get pregnant.

Remember it takes 6 months to a year, and sometimes longer, for your nipples to heal. You want your nipples to be completely healed before you attempt to breastfeed.

You do not want to run the risk of infection or closure of the piercing hole because you did not give your nipple the chance to heal appropriately. Patience is truly a virtue in this case.

Your body is a miraculous creation. It is capable of creating life and producing nourishment for that life.

Your nipples are an important part of the process of providing your baby nourishment, so you want them to be in the best health possible.

Women have been breastfeeding since the dawn of time. They may not have been piercing their nipples for the same amount of time, but they have been doing it long enough to be able to breastfeed their babies without too many issues to report.

Understanding the risks gives you the opportunity to make more educated decisions on when to get your nipples pierced and by whom.

There is no reason to forego the idea of getting your nipples pierced if you feel the desire to do so. You just need to be clear of the risk and do your due diligence prior to hiring a professional piercer.

No matter what your reasoning for wanting your breast pierced, there is no medical evidence saying it should not be done. Your nipples are naturally sensitive and should remain that way after your piercing.

Conclusion

Do nipple piercings affect breastfeeding? We say no it does not.

There are risks and possible issues that could arise if you do not make sure things are done correctly, however, that is no reason to not do what you have a desire to do.

Hannah Tong
 

Hannah Tong is the founder of Omaby.com, a blog dedicated to providing accurate advice to mothers regarding childcare. She loves taking care of her kids and teaching them the right things. She is also enthusiastic and loves sharing her experiences to teach others about how to care for their families’ health.

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