Can I breastfeed if I have nipple piercings? #I've got a question!#body modification#breastfeeding#pregnancy June 28 | Stephanie Kaloi Offbeat Families runs these advice questions as an opportunity for our readers to share personal experiences and anecdotes. Readers are responsible for doing their own research before following any advice given here... or anywhere else on the web, for that matter. Do nipple piercings and breastfeeding mix? Photo by William Ng, used with Creative Commons license. I'm eight months pregnant and just finally decided to give breastfeeding my child a go. Problem? I had pierced nipples. Well, I still have them, as the holes have not closed up. I was told once by a piercer when I was going to get them double-pierced that the piercings were done semi-low and I might have problems with it in the future. I asked my OB and he said he's not really had any experience with this and that I shouldn't have problems. I wanted to know if any offbeat mamas out there had REAL advice on the subject. Is there something I wouldn't think of I need to do? Or not to do? HELP! -Jacqueline Reporter Name * Reporter Email * Original text Enter the original text here. Edited text* Enter your suggested copyedit here. Notes You can add a note for the editor here. * Required information. Fix Typo Stephanie Kaloi I am the former editor of Offbeat Families, and owner/photographer at Stephanie Kaloi Photography in Portland, OR. PREVIOUS How tubal ligation fits into our family planning NEXT How I'm preparing myself for my daughter's future sex life Toggle comments [ 65 ] Comment navigation Newer Comments → I'm no expert, but I think you might have some trouble with it. I don't know how you could get a nipple piercing without going through where the milk ducts are..but I suppose it's possible? I know a lot of people find they can't breastfeed if they have any kind of breast surgery (my sister managed it despite hers, but had to stop after 6 weeks because the surgery had left her breasts very tender and breastfeeding felt very uncomfortable for her). I'd say it wouldn't hurt to give it a shot- you might be able to breastfeed part time, at least, even if some of the ducts are broken/nonfunctional. 3 agree You would have to piercing through your actual breast to damage the milk ducts. Breast surgery is very different as it would actually affect the entire breast. http://www.emedicinehealth.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=128340&ref=129832 14 agree no problems here – my daughter is nursing just fine on both sides, but i removed mine about 4 years ago for good. 1 agrees You can totally breastfeed. I took my piercing out ~3 mo preggo and the holes never closed up (my nips have been pierced for 6 yrs). I find I tend to leak out of the piercing holes if I get too full, so nursing pads are a must, but other than that, I've been able to successfully breast feed my 4 month old son just fine. 35 agree I had to wear nursing pads the whole time, because my boobs just didn't know when to quit. I think that might just be a problem in general, it's not too bad : ) 6 agree oh, except when you fall asleep naked and wake up all wet! haha! 12 agree I know how you feel lol 2 agree I would get in touch with a lactation consultant. They would probably know more than your OBGYN about nursing-specific matters. 7 agree I had both of mine done and was able to breastfeed my daughter exclusively to 7 months and then as a supplement to meals and for comfort until 23 months. I took them out early in the pregnancy to let them heal up and had no trouble at all. When I'm done having babies I'm going to have them re-done as a gift to myself. Good luck and let us know how it goes! 2 agree I know someone that mom was friends with did this just fine. But I also know that milk would spray out the piercings holes as well so nursing pads would be important, like someone else said. 1 agrees Yes, you should be able to breastfeed with pierced nipples, without any sort of additional discomfort but – at the risk of stating the obvious – you want to take the jewelery out if you haven't already done so. 3 agree Yes, you need to remove the jewelry. And just to be thorough, it's not just because it's a sanitary issue or a choking hazard but it could have an impact on the child's oral anatomy. But yes, it's very unlikely that nipple piercings would prevent you from being able to successfully breastfeed. Still, as a first time breastfeeding mom it would be super helpful to find an IBCLC lactation consultant because you will have plenty of questions 6 agree I had both of my nipples pierced, had the piercings removed more than a year before nursing, my holes still had not closed. I think that may depend on how long you have had the piercings. Anyway, more to the point, one piercing was deeper and one more shallow (done on two different occasions) and I did not have any issues and breastfed for a year! I also have a close gf who had hers pierced, taken out and re-pierced and still didn't have any issues nursing her two sons….so, in my experience, you should be just fine!! 0 agree YES! You can. Just take the jewelry out. and I suggest keeping it out unless you are super careful with sterilization. Breast infections are a real concern while nursing. Your nipples are full of little tiny whole that the milk passes through having an extra set will not cause you any problems (barring you don't have some extreme damage or scar tissue). In my personal experience I have successfully breastfed two children despite have had my nipples pierced and know plenty of other mothers who have as well. Good luck! 5 agree I had no problems with either of the first two, and expect the same with the upcoming third. This is also, though, with some interesting scar tissue on one side – an accident had torn the ring partially out on my left, and while I eventually took it out and had it re-done, the second round of piercing was a horribly botched job and those *both* came out not long after. The scarring has not affected them adversely in either general sensation or in nursing (thankfully!!) although even after several years, they take a great deal of care to keep clean.. they're partially closed, and I need to sort of get the gunk (dry skin, sweat, soap residue, whatnot) out of the still open spaces. It can be done!! In this case, though, the scar tissue just means a bit of extra care under 'usual' circumstances, and to be honest, frequent feedings and the required lanolin made things a little easier. 0 agree I took my piercings out just before giving birth and I've had zero problems breastfeeding. 7 agree Hi! I have had breast augmentation surgery 3 years ago and have one pierced nipple. I took out the jewelry a very long time ago, but the holes are still there as they fill with lymph tissue regularly and I actually have to press it out (I know! yuck!). I was nervous about breastfeeding too, my doula said there really shouldn't be any problems, and recommended that I try to manually extract milk once in a while to check. i was getting nervous until week 37: milk leaked out of both my breasts!! SO, since you are 8 months pregnant, you could try too. But be patient, it took me a good 5 minutes on each side before anything came out. Also, pay close attention since the liquid that will come out is quite clear and not milk looking at all here's for the technique: http://video.about.com/breastfeeding/Hand-Expression-Technique.htm Good luck 0 agree I had two babies, my daughter before my nipple piercings and my son after. I removed my piercings when I was pregnant with my son to give the holes a chance to heal. I did have trouble breastfeeding my son (my milk supply was over-abundant with my daughter), and ultimately had to switch to formula. I've often wondered if my lack of breastfeeding success with my son was due to scar tissue/destroyed milk ducts from the piercings. Good luck to you! 1 agrees You should be able to breastfeed without any problem related to your piercings. At the risk of stating the obvious, you'll want to take your jewelery out before nursing if you haven't already done so. 1 agrees Thank you thank you thank you for asking this. I had both of my nipples double pierced and have had to remove them for other reasons. But once my husband and I started talking about having another child together (we have children from other relationships) I was worried about not being able to breastfeed. I have scaring though so I don't know if the scar tissue has affected the nipple much or not. We'll see if/when that time comes. Good luck to you and yay for breastfeeding! Peace! 3 agree I was able to breastfeed from my right side (not much – I didn't have much milk, but that was unrelated to the piercings!) but had scarring on the left because of a piercing that had gotten infected. I wasn't able to get much at all out of that nipple, unfortunately. 0 agree You most certainly can! Never nurse with any jewelry in the piercing because it can be a choking hazard, but other than that, it shouldn't interfere. Milk may leak out of the piercing when you experience let down, but that's not a problem, just a variation. 0 agree I had both my nipples pierced, and still had the holes in them when I started feeding my little one (and still do now). Although we had latching issues to start with, I don't believe it was caused by the piercing holes as he is now feeding just fine. I agree with Courtney that you can leak out of the holes too, but now my little one is 3 months I don't seem to leak anymore. I do have a friend who didn't take out her nipple piercing until after the bubba was born, and she seemed to have no issues with that. 0 agree The biggest piece of advice I can give you is to be 100% sure that your piercings are healthy and healed before you take them out. Mine were not completely healed when I found out I was pregnant. I took them out, and breastfed comfortably for about five and a half months. But when they started to close up, one of them became swollen and painful. Everyone kept telling me I had a clogged milk duct, not to worry, and kept telling me to take hot showers, squeeze my breast, etc. Nothing worked, and I knew that my piercing was the problem. I finally went to the ER with a gigantic swollen breast and a nipple the size of a quarter. My piercing had become infected and the holes had closed up, trapping the infection inside. I had staph, and I had to stop breastfeeding at once and take a lot of very unpleasant medication. Needless to say, not only was I not ready to give up on breastfeeding, I was also not comfortable for quite some time. 0 agree Some can breastfeed just fine and some have issues. If your piercing healed well then you should have no problem. Sometimes if the nipple does not heal properly or has too much scar tissue it can block your milk ducts and cause blockage. Just be aware of your body and if you feel extra pain see someone immediately. 0 agree Thank you all sooooo much for the help!!! I knew if o could go anywhere for some honest and helpful advice it would be the offbeat mama tribe!!!! 3 agree I had my nipples piercecd and I breastfed just fine. The holes from the piercings didn't affect it at all. You should be just fine 0 agree Just to re-enforce what the other mamas have said- I am nursing my one year old after taking out my nipple rings a couple of years ago. When I was pierced I was told that because there are 8 milk ducts it would be pretty hard or impossible for the piercing to interfere will all of them (unless there was an infection/scar tissue). I had some leakage from the holes, especially at the beginning. The piercer also told me that I could switch to barbells while nursing, but I agree with an earlier comment that it is another thing to keep super clean and with my laziness it wasn't worth worrying about. Good luck- I hope it works out for you. 0 agree I took my nipple rings out when I was pregnant and the holes are still not fully closed (and my daughter is 2!). But It didn't effect my breastfeeding her in any way. Same for several friends of mine, I've never met anyone who had a problem with it 0 agree i took mine out at 8mos pregnant so i could bf, but only so they werent a choking hazard for the baby. The only difference after was the milk *still* comes out the holes of the piercing a year later as well as the top of the nipple.. kind of weird but no preblems 0 agree Absolutely you can! I had my nipples pierced for 9 years prior to getting pregnant. I removed the rings the day of my induction. I had extra flow from the holes where the piercings were. Unless you have scarring you should have no problem, and may even have an easier time. Also, I was happy to find out that after 18 months of nursing I was able to put both rings back in. I had to use a smaller gauge ring at first. I had the piercings for so long that they just felt like part of me. Good luck! 1 agrees I had a hard time with breastfeeding (my story is here: http://offbeatmama.com/2010/02/breastfeeding-was-crazy-hard-but-weaning-is-sad-too), but none of the trouble was from having had my nipples pierced way back when. I wouldn't worry about the piercings, but breastfeeding can still be very hard – you'll just have to try it and see how it goes, and make adjustments as needed. Like everything else in parenting! 2 agree If your holes leak a bunch you should invest in a set of milkies milk catchers… I had a set and I loved that I wasn't wasting any milk by using nursing pads. 1 agrees Comment navigation Newer Comments → Comments are closed.