Can I Breastfeed With Pierced Nipples?


Body modifications are forms of self-expression. Nipple piercing is one way to modify your body and express yourself. But, most times, body modification can affect your future in one way or another. Nursing might not have factored into your choice when you got your nipples pierced. Still, these days, you may be wondering whether those studs or rings will make it harder to breastfeed— or potentially prevent you from breastfeeding altogether. Even though a nipple piercing can have some effect on your milk flow, in most cases pierced moms can breastfeed without an issue. But if you’re wondering, “Will my piercings affect milk production? Should I remove the jewelry every time I breastfeed? How do I safely breastfeed with a nipple piercing?” Continue reading to find out more.

Is It Possible To Breastfeed With Pierced Nipples?

Yes, it is possible to breastfeed with pierced nipples. It won’t affect breastfeeding, but mothers are advised to breastfeed when the piercing heals fully. Piercings do not also affect breast milk production. However, there are risks involved in having pierced nipples.

Risks Of Breastfeeding with Nipple Piercings

Nursing with nipple piercings

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According to La Leche League International, breastfeeding with nipple piercings depends on whether or not you have jewelry in place. Nipple piercing can affect both the mom and baby. However, not all moms experience these issues. Some common problems include;

  • Nerve damage– This can affect the milk ejection reflex.
  • Scarring– Sometimes, you may experience scarring which is not visible. It occurs mostly in women with more than one piercing in one nipple. Scarring blocks milk flow which affects milk production.
  • Mastitis– This is an infection that occurs due to a blocked milk duct. Another cause of mastitis is a bacterial infection. Its symptoms include redness, soreness, and swelling.
  • Difficult latching– Piercing can make it difficult for the baby to latch on the breast correctly.
  • Choking hazard– Breastfeeding with jewelry can make it loose and dislodge. The jewelry will cause soft tissue damage in the infant’s mouth.
  • Fast milk flow– Piercings can cause huge holes, which cause fast milk flow making infants struggle. Mothers deal with this by using extra nursing pads and laid-back breastfeeding positions.

Should You Get A Nipple Piercing While Pregnant Or Breastfeeding?

How to nurse with piercings

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If you are a body mod fan (body modification), it is hard to resist getting nipple piercings. However, body mod fans that are pregnant or breastfeeding have to tame their urges and wait. Why?

According to Healthline, Nipple piercings take twelve to twenty-four months to heal. During this time, there is a high probability of getting an infection due to several reasons; improper care during and after the nipple piercing process.

If you are pregnant and want to get a nipple piercing, it is best to wait until you are done with breastfeeding. On the other hand, if you are not pregnant, wait 12 to 18 months to get pregnant. It gives your nipples time to recover before pregnancy changes begin to occur.

It also allows you to remove your piercing when breastfeeding without worrying about the piercing closing up. Even professionals do not agree with piercing a pregnant woman or breastfeeding due to the multiple risks involved.

What If You Are Pregnant And Have A Nipple Piercing?

Are you pregnant and have nipple piercing? Not to worry! Remove the jewelry before you reach six months. Nipple piercing can cause nipple stimulation and premature contractions.

How to Safely Breastfeed With Nipple Piercing

Breastfeeding is a learning curve for mothers with or without piercing. What To Expect says that pierced moms should remember the following tips and precautions while breastfeeding;

  • Remove piercing jewelry before breastfeeding- There are a lot of risks involved with breastfeeding with jewelry. It is a choking hazard for your child and can cause soft tissue damage in their mouth. Soft tissue damage will affect your baby’s milk intake and latching. So, if you think you will always forget to remove the jewelry every time you breastfeed, remove it altogether. The first few months require the mother to breastfeed on demand. It is better to remove it then and wear it when your child is not at your breast all the time.
  • Maintain high levels of hygiene- Nipple piercing comes with the risk of infection. Wash the areola with soap and water to eliminate dead skin and discharge build-up before breastfeeding.
  • Express breast milk- Consider expressing milk for one minute before nursing to eliminate skin cells or discharge. You can use your hands or pump. Either way, it will eliminate debris so that your child does not ingest it.
  • Change breastfeeding position- Nipple piercing can fasten milk flow making your baby struggle. To slow down milk let down, lean back, or use the side-lying position while nursing your baby. Do this if you notice that your baby is having trouble keeping up with milk flow.
  • Ask for help- If you are experiencing other challenges that you can’t handle, you should visit a lactation consultant. Additionally, if you suspect an infection, call your doctor right away.

Sources: Healthline, La Leche League International, What To Expect,

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