Hey there new mamas and mamas-to-be! Congratulations on your little bundle(s) of joy! As you prepare for your new role as a breastfeeding superhero, you may have come across some questions like ‘Can you breastfeed with nipple piercings?’ If it sounds like you, then we’ve got you covered.
Whether you’ve had your nipple piercings for a while or have recently joined the club, it’s natural to wonder if your nipple bling will affect your ability to breastfeed. Don’t worry, we’re here to answer your questions and give you the lowdown on all things nipple piercing and breastfeeding.
We’ll look at the potential risks and benefits of breastfeeding with nipple piercings and give you some tips and tricks to ensuring your breastfeeding journey is as good as it can be. So, sit back, relax, and let’s get to it!
Can I breastfeed with nipple piercings?
Yes! It’s completely possible to still rock your nipple piercings while breastfeeding your little one, but before you get too excited, there are a few things you should know. Firstly, piercing holes may make latching trickier for your baby, and these piercing holes could lead to a faster milk flow that is harder for your baby to manage, potentially increasing the risk of Colic.
Is it safe to breastfeed with nipple piercings?
It can be safe to breastfeed with pieced nipples, however you may face some challenges along the way, including:
Unless you’ve got an infected nipple then your milk supply should be A-OK! That’s because the magic happens in the mammary glands and not in the nipple itself. But before you go ahead and start breastfeeding, you may want to bear in mind that lactation experts have noticed that getting your little one to latch properly can be a bit of a challenge due to a nipple piercing being in their way!
With a piercing in their way, you might notice some messy habits from your little one, like slurping, gagging, and spitting milk out. If this sounds like you, don’t worry! You have options – you can either remove your nipple bling altogether or get some help from a lactation consultant to ensure you’re feeding your baby safely and comfortably.
Baby’s ability to latch properly
Believe it or not, your nipple piercing could be giving your little one some trouble during feeding time. That’s right – those shiny studs can really throw off your baby’s ability to latch, making it tough for them to get a quality feed.
In some cases, your piercings can actually speed up your milk flow, which can be tough for little mouths. Luckily, there are solutions – you can try laidback or side breastfeeding positions, just don’t forget to grab some nursing pads to catch those pesky leaks!
Unfortunately, piercings can easily become loose and end up in your baby’s mouth, which is not ideal for obvious reasons (hello, choking hazard!). Plus, the sharp edges could damage your baby’s delicate gums, tongue, or palate.
But it’s not just baby who’s at risk here, no. There’s also risks to your nipple too. Piercings can cause nerve damage, mastitis, abscesses, and scarring, which can all impact your milk supply and your own boob health.
For these reasons it’s recommended that you completely remove your nipple piercings for the duration of your breastfeeding journey to avoid any potential risks. Trust us, your boobs (and your baby) will thank you for it!
How to breastfeed safely with nipple piercings
We know those nipple piercings are great and all, but they can be a breeding ground for infections. In fact, research has shown that infections occur in up to 20 per cent of nipple piercings, so it’s important to keep your piercing clean to prevent infection. To avoid any infections, make sure you’re washing your hands and cleaning your jewellery regularly with a saline solution.
But let’s be real here for a moment – all that cleaning and sterilising can be a pain in the backside! So, if you’re worried about forgetting to take your bling out before nursing, it might be best to remove it altogether.
If you do decide to keep your piercing in to nurse, you want to make sure it’s nice and tight before attaching your baby to the boob and keep a close eye on their feeding behaviour to prevent any choking or cuts.
Before your baby latches, it’s always a good idea to try and express some milk just so that you can be sure there’s no dirt or debris hanging around on your jewellery and so everyone has the best chance of having a good experience!
What precautions should I take while breastfeeding with pierced nipples?
Choose Jewellery that’s specifically designed for nipples – don’t try and get creative by using an earring or another piece of jewellery that’s not for a nipple – trust us, it won’t end well. By selecting the right jewellery for your nips, you can ensure that they won’t just look good, but it can help to prevent scarring and potential issues with breastfeeding down the line.
Don’t breastfeed until your nipple is healed – If you’ve not had your piercing long, you might want to wait some more time to breastfeed. Pierced nipples can take a long time to fully heal – we’re talking up to 18 months in some cases! So, if you’re planning to get pregnant or have recently become pregnant and want to breastfeed, make sure it’s healed first. You’ll know your piercing is fully healed when there’s no redness, swelling, tenderness or discharge.
Remove your nipple bling before feeding – experts say that removing your nipple jewellery can make the breastfeeding experience more comfortable for both you and your little one and also reduce the risk of choking. Plus, it’s good practice to just leave the nipple piercing out while nursing. Don’t worry – your piercing won’t disappear forever – you can always put the jewellery back in once you’re done feeding.
Consider using a piercing retainer – If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of removing and replacing your nipple jewellery every time you need to feed your little one, then a piercing retainer could just be the option you’ve been searching for! This handy little piece of plastic or nylon fits snugly into your piercing hole, allowing you to keep it open without the need for jewellery. When it’s time to feed, just simply remove the retainer and begin nursing. Just remember – even with the retainer in place, it does need to be removed before feeding your baby. But trust us, it’s a lot quicker and easier than fumbling around with your nipple ring of stud!
Don’t exclusively feed on the non-pierced nipple – if you only have one nipple pierced, it can be tempting to stick to the one that’s not pierced when nursing your baby, but trust us, it’s not a good idea! Both of your breasts produce milk, so only using one for feeding can lead to a whole host of issues such as breast engorgement, clogged milk ducts, and even mastitis so make sure to switch things up and use both breasts for feeding. And don’t forget to remove your nipple jewellery before feeding.
Following these simple precautions can help ensure that your nipple piercings don’t interfere with your breastfeeding journey.
If you do notice any redness, swelling, or pain around your piercing while breastfeeding it may be time to call your doctor.
When do I need to speak to the doctor about my nipple piercing?
While most of the time, your piercing won’t cause any issues, there are some instances when you should pause breastfeeding and give your doctor a call. Here are a few signs to watch out for:
If you notice bleeding from your piercing – if you notice any bleeding from your pierced nipple, there are a couple of things that could be going on. It could be that the constant nursing has caused the piercing to dry out and blister, or it could be that your baby has chomped down a bit too hard while feeding (ouch!). Either way, it’s time to take a break from nursing on that breast and give your doctor a call. They can help you figure out the best course of action to prevent any further complications and get you back to nursing like a pro!
If your piercing closes and causes problems – if you spend too much time without a piercing in, it’s naturally going to close up. In the majority of cases, this won’t cause any complications, but if you start noticing any issues with your milk flow or production, it’s time to connect with your doctor or a lactation consultant. They can help you figure out what’s going on and make sure your little one is getting all the nourishment they need!
If you notice pus or liquid oozing from the piercing – if you notice any fluids leaking out of your piercings, it’s time to give your doctor a call. This kind of situation is more likely to happen if you start nursing before your nipple has had time to heal properly, so make sure you give your nipple piercing a good amount of time to recover before you begin your breastfeeding journey.
Remember, your body is an amazing machine but sometimes it may need a little help. Don’t be scared to reach out for assistance if you notice anything out of the ordinary.
Can you get a nipple piercing while breastfeeding or pregnant?
If you’re thinking about getting your nipples pierced while pregnant or breastfeeding, hold that thought. Most reputable piercers won’t do it, and it’s not because they don’t want to – it’s because of safety and hygiene.
Piercing during pregnancy and breastfeeding can increase the risk of bacteria getting into your freshly pierced nipples, and your hormones can affect its healing process. It’s recommended that mother’s wait at least 6 months after finishing their breastfeeding journey before getting nipple piercings as hormonal changes can affect the healing process.
Nipples can be pierced in a variety of ways – from horizontal to vertical and everything in between! You can even get both done at once if you’re feeling adventurous enough! The most common types of jewellery used are metals like gold, silver and stainless steel and proper placement and sizing of jewellery is important if you want to avoid any complications or infections.
Once pierced, nipples can take up to 12 months to heal. Some ladies even experience extra irritation and flare ups during their period, and this is why it’s not typically recommended if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding as the risk of infection is high.
How to take care of your breasts while breastfeeding
When it comes to taking care of your breasts, it’s pretty easy. Just keep things clean and keep an eye out for any changes that require attention. As you start producing milk, it’s likely your breasts will feel a little swollen and tender, and you may even leak! But don’t worry too much – it’s all a part of the process! To keep everything feeling good and to lower your risk of infection, you need to make sure you’re taking good care of your breasts. That means keeping the skin balanced (ensuring it’s not too dry or too moist) and avoiding any discomfort. Some additional tips:
Practice Good Hygiene
Before touching your breasts, make sure your hands are squeaky clean! Keep your breasts fresh by washing them every day with some warm water in the shower or bath. And listen up, friend: when you’re scrubbing away, steer clear of the soap! It can leave your nipples feeling dry, itchy, and irritated plus it gets rid of the natural oils that your glands make to keep your nipples hydrated.
Wear a supportive bra
When it comes to selecting a nursing bra, comfort is key! You want to find a bra that offers enough support without squeezing you too tight. A supportive nursing bra or a well-fitted regular bra should suffice, just make sure to choose one made from breathable material like cotton so that your skin can breathe.
Treat sore nipples
After baby is done with their meal, show your nips some love with a soothing nipple cream. Let your breasts breathe and soak up the healing benefits. If you’re feeling extra tender, talk to your doctor or a lactation consultant about using purified lanolin or hydrogel pads to help soothe sore breasts and give some extra TLC.
Avoid any skincare products that might be hiding harmful ingredients as some products can affect your little one, clog your milk ducts and even irritate your skin.
Frequently asked questions about breastfeedingwith nipple piercings
Can I keep my jewellery in while nursing?
It’s not typically recommended to keep your nipple bling in while breastfeeding as they can pose a choking hazard to your little one but if you really want to keep the jewellery in then you can. As long as they don’t cause you any discomfort or irritation then you can keep them in. But, if your breasts start to feel sore or if your nipples start to show any signs of infection as they grow, it’s time to switch things up. Consider swapping your jewellery for a piercing retainer made from polytetrafluoroethylene.
How quickly do nipple piercings close?
If you’ve decided to part ways with your nipple jewellery while breastfeeding, you may be wondering how long it’ll take before they close completely. Truth is, it’s a bit of a mystery and it all depends on how long you’ve had your nipples pierced. Some people who haven’t had their piercings a long time may heal in just a few weeks, while others could take months!
Can I prevent infections?
We all know that those first few weeks of breastfeeding can be a wild ride. Between all the feedings and nappy changes, who has time to shower let alone clean their nipple jewellery?! And if you’re exclusively breastfeeding, taking your jewellery in and out each time your nurse just isn’t feasible. If you’re determined to keep your bling in, you need to take good care of them. That means being extra careful with hygiene and cleanliness. Before you remove your jewellery, make sure your hands are clean. And while your jewellery is out, give it a clean in saline solution. Taking these steps will help prevent your nipples from any nasty infections!
Breastfeeding with nipple piercings can be a little tricky, but with the right precautions, it’s definitely doable! Remember to prioritise your baby’s health and safety, and don’t hesitate to reach out to your health visitor, GP, or local lactation consultant if you have any concerns.
Breastfeeding is a beautiful journey, and nipple piercings shouldn’t stop you from experiencing it. So go ahead, rock those piercings, and cherish those special moments with your little one.
If you’re looking for more tips and advice on breastfeeding or parenting in general, be sure to check out some of our other blog posts for more helpful information on parenting, health, and wellness. Whether you’re a new parent or an experienced one, there’s always something new to learn and discover!