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Body modifications have become a form of self expression, but when it comes to the post-partum experience, how do they affect a mother’s ability to breastfeed? In this blog we answer all of your questions on breastfeeding with nipple piercings and implants, along with some tips and tricks to help you and your baby have an amazing breastfeeding experience.
Women are generally advised to not get new piercings during pregnancy or breastfeeding, and most piercers will not pierce a pregnant woman knowingly. Your immune system is compromised while breastfeeding, which means your body may be more susceptible to infection. Nipple piercings can take up to a year to heal, which means during that time you would need to follow a strict care regimen.
You can breastfeed with pierced nipples, but there are some factors to keep in mind. Nipple piercings generally do not affect your milk supply or production, but they can affect your milk flow. This can happen if a piercing is blocking a milk duct, or damaged it in the past. Using different breastfeeding positions to encourage milk flow can help address this problem.
Because both your tummy and your breasts expand and change during pregnancy and breastfeeding, it can often be good practice to remove any belly or nipple piercings. While pre-existing piercings do not raise any health risk for you or your baby, you may find that it’s simply more comfortable to take them out.
Because nipple piercings are foreign objects, they can potentially cause choking or damage to a baby’s mouth. Nipple piercings are also more prone to infection, especially if they are new, and can lead to conditions like mastitis. Piercing holes can also cause milk leakage, but if there is some scar tissue build up, milk flow may decrease.
While there are issues that arise with piercings and breastfeeding, it’s important to remember that every mama is different. If you want to breastfeed with nipple piercings, you can do it! Be aware of the potential issues, and take the necessary precautions to keep you and your baby healthy and safe.
Even after a nipple piercing heals, there are still essential steps you can take to ensure that your breastfeeding goes smoothly.
Because nipple piercings are in a highly sensitive and delicate area, keeping the area and the jewelry clean helps to eliminate any risk of infection. The piercing site is another gateway for bacteria to enter your body and cause infection, so be mindful of how often you touch the area, and how often you wash your piercings.
Wash your hands before and after washing the piercing. Gently wash the piercing with warm water and a mild, unscented soap. Let the jewelry piece completely dry before reinserting.
Simply removing jewelry before breastfeeding is one way to minimize the risk of infection. If you want to reinsert jewelry after feeding, remember to follow a strict cleaning regimen every time you feed. Or, you can remove your piercing for the entire time you plan to breastfeed. We know the risk of your piercings closing up isn’t ideal, but this is often best practice for keeping both you and your baby safe.
Nipple piercings can cause milk to flow more quickly from some positions, and more slowly from others. Because of this, choosing an effective feeding position ensures that you are still feeding your baby with ease. Try leaning forward if your milk flow slows down, or lean back if it’s too much for your baby to handle at once.
Because your body changes so rapidly during pregnancy and breastfeeding, it’s recommended that new mamas wait 3-4 months after a baby is weaned to get their first nipple piercing.
Nipple piercings will not negatively affect future nursing, but the most common recommendation is to wait at least until the piercing heals to breastfeed. As always, be mindful of the issues that come with breastfeeding with pierced nipples.
If you’ve gotten breast implants in the past, this will not affect your ability to breastfeed in the future. Breast implant surgery does not directly affect your milk ducts or mammary glands. Because of this, breastfeeding will not ruin your implants or affect the quality of your milk supply. You’re good to go, mama!
Whether you choose to breastfeed with nipple piercings, or wait to get that dream piercing once your baby is done feeding, the choice is up to you!
Visit the Willow Blog to learn more about how to make your nursing experience a great one. From combination feeding to exclusive pumping schedules, we’ve got you covered. Welcome to the community, mama!
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