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Do Nipple Piercings Really Affect Breastfeeding? A Specialist Answers

If you’ve had your nipples pierced in the past or currently have nipple piercings, you’re probably wondering… “Can I breastfeed with a (current or past) pierced nipple?”.

Many with pierced nipples have successfully breastfed their babies without significant complications.

However, there are some potential challenges that you should be aware of, and the decision to breastfeed with pierced nipples should be approached with consideration.

Do pierced nipples affect milk production?

No, pierced nipples will not affect your milk production!

Breastmilk is produced in the mammary glands, in the breast tissue behind your nipple.

Your body begins to prepare for breastfeeding during pregnancy! The hormones prolactin and estrogen will increase, and you will even start to create colostrum before your baby is born.

Whether you have had your nipples pierced or not, your mammary glands will produce milk (unless there is a medical reason they can’t).

Can nipple piercings impact milk flow?

With that being said, milk ejection is what determines how much milk your body continues to make. Think of your milk supply like this: today’s meal determines tomorrow’s menu.

Your body will continue to make the same amount of milk being ejected. If milk isn’t being removed, your body will slow production because it thinks you no longer need it.

While (healed) pierced nipples may not impact your milk production, there is a slight chance it could impact your milk flow. As with every body piercing, there is always the potential for scarring or nerve damage.

Scarring on your nipple, in particular, can block the milk ducts and obstruct milk flow. The severity of damage will vary, depending on your unique situation. For example, if you have multiple piercings in your nipple, you will likely have more scarring. Scarring can increase the likelihood of blocked milk ducts.

If your piercing has damaged or blocked your milk ducts, this can affect milk flow and lead to more significant issues like mastitis. Remember that pierced nipples are not the only thing that can cause milk flow issues, but it is something to be aware of.

Blocked ducts are very common, but they can be treated!

Related: How to Massage and Clear Your Clogged Milk Duct

Do nipple piercings cause fast milk flows?

Conversely, piercings can cause additional holes in your nipple for milk to come out of! This can cause your milk to be ejected much faster, which some babies may struggle to keep up with.

A fast, forceful letdown can make it hard for your little one to latch on and drink effectively. If you are in this situation, try pumping some milk out before feeding to lessen the flow.

One breastfeeding position that can help if you have a fast flow is the laid-back method. This position can help slow the flow and allow your baby to get a better latch!

Is it safe to breastfeed with a nipple piercing?

If your nipples are currently pierced, it is best practice to remove the jewelry while feeding. You will need to do this for the entire duration of your breastfeeding journey.

Breastfeeding your baby with your nipple piercing can be a choking hazard and cause pain – for both you and the baby! When the jewelry is in their mouth, getting an effective latch will likely make it uncomfortable and challenging.

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Plus, you won’t be comfortable with them biting down or pulling on it.

Another safety concern is infections. Because saliva contains bacteria, waiting until the piercing is fully healed (around 6-12 months) before breastfeeding is best. If your nipple is not fully healed, you risk getting an infection, which could negatively impact your breastfeeding journey.

So, if you are pregnant or hoping to become pregnant soon, it might be best to wait on getting a new nipple piercing until after you are done breastfeeding!

Can I get my nipple re-pierced after I finish breastfeeding?

If you plan to have more children and breastfeed in the future, you may want to consider the timing of the re-piercing carefully. If your breastfeeding journey has ended, then by all means! It is perfectly fine to get your nipples pierced again.

Remember that breastfeeding can cause nipple sensitivity and breast changes, so you want to be fully healed before re-piercing.

Before getting re-pierced, it’s a good idea to have your nipples examined by a professional piercer or a healthcare provider. They can assess the condition of your nipples and determine if re-piercing is suitable for you.

Final thoughts on breastfeeding and nipple piercings

Remember, not everybody will encounter breastfeeding issues with a pierced nipple; if you do, it may only be temporary!

If you have pierced nipples and are planning on breastfeeding, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional or a lactation consultant. They can assess your situation and provide personalized advice based on your goals.

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