General Advice For Breastfeeding Mums With Nipple Piercings
Doctors and Body Piercers recommend that a nipple piercing be healed before breastfeeding. Seeing as how it takes between two to four months to heal, most body piercing professionals will refuse to pierce a pregnant woman.
Also, removing your jewellery before putting your nipple in your babies mouth is also a no brainer. You might think the barbell is on tight, or the ring is secure, but one good strong suck could undo your assumptions and choke your little one. If you are not able to undo your jewellery (and sometimes it really can be impossible without correct tools), pay your body piercer a visit. A good piercer, such as The Piercing Shop in Brisbane will give you good aftercare service free of charge.
If you simply must feed before you can remove your jewellery, be aware that you may experience a poor latch as a result of the jewelery filling up your babies mouth and interfering with his or her ability to suck. If you breastfeed while wearing jewellery your baby may end up slurping or gagging, and you both might end up a big ol' milky mess. Also, your jewellery could harm your babies mouth and gums, which would be terrible! Its also good to keep in mind that breastfeeding can really hurt, so perhaps removing the jewellery prior to your first feed or as soon as possible upon developing sensitivity in the area will help you avoid unnecessary touching of the sensitive nipple area.
My Experience Breastfeeding With Pierced Nipples
Both my nipples were pierced when I fell pregnant. My left nipple was pierced when I was 20, and taken out when I was 24. When I was 28 I had both my nipples pierced/repierced, so as you can see I have had experience with both a 'fresh' hole and scar tissue. I took the jewellery out when I was about 6 months pregnant as with the ever expanding bust they began to feel kind of odd, although the holes never healed and to this day I can still push a taper pin through the old site- although I have never tried to put my jewellery back in. Even though I had removed my jewellery, I was still curious to find out how the holes would affect my experience.My piercer had mentioned that scarring as a result of the piercing could affect my ability to breastfeed, however I did not experience any difficulties lactating as a result of my piercing scars.
Turns out it didnt seem to affect my ability to breastfeed at all in terms of producing adequate milk (although my experience of breastfeeding was basically a futile exercise in pain). The holes that were left in my nipple- even the one that had been pierced twice- did not cause a problem, and while I have read on forums of women having three streams of milk, mine just came out normal. If anything my piercings made breastfeeding easier, in that I had previously had small, flatish nipples, and after the piercing they were about 1-2mm taller.
There is a small part of my brain that wonders if my flow was increased as a result of the piercing, and if this increased flow led to my initial difficulties with getting a good latch, as chronicled here. But, I guess I'll never know the answer. I have memories of Hunter almost gagging on my milk the very first suck, but that was while we were still in hospital and could have just been because sucking was as new to him as it was to me.
In terms of healing over, the holes are still there today, and I have a taper pin and a hot shower that says I could get my jewellery back in if I want to...