Body modification is becoming a popular form of self-expression, with a variety of piercings, tattoos, and scarification being seen by healthcare providers in the birthing population. The reputations of tattoo parlors and piercing salons vary widely, which requires that those wanting to participate in body modification do their research for safe and sterile practices and the rationale for obtaining the particular form of modification they are seeking. Regulations for these parlors and salons vary from state to state, country to country.
Beal (2018) reports on being able to distinguish between body modification and a mental health disorder called Non-suicidal Self-injury Syndrome (NSSI). Because we as lactation providers see many ages and stages of women in the birthing and breastfeeding population, it is important for us to assess for types of modification and their impact on lactation.
In general, tattoos or scarification on the breast does not impact lactation capability, unless there is an infection present. On the other hand, piercing of the nipple has been shown to cause internal scarring that can impede milk flow and present the possibility for mastitis or galactoceles from milk stasis in the lobes of the breast not draining effectively. Other negative outcomes are reported by Martin as, "...HIV, hepatitis, infection, scar tissue, keloids, plugged ducts, mastitis, and hyperprolactinemia”, (p 319). Think about, also, when the piercing occurred, since it may take up to 18 months for a pierced nipple to heal. Roche-Paul (2009) says, "If [the mother-to-be] should consider planning the piercing at least 12-18 months before getting pregnant...this allows the piercing time to heal and create a fistula or channel before the bodily and hormonal changes that accompany pregnancy occur...and the removal of the jewelry during breastfeeding without the worry of the channel closing up”, (p 5). Nipples can experience hyper- or hypo-sensitivity following a piercing, making the achievement of an effective latch more challenging.
Roch-Paul (2009) addresses tattooing of the breast, saying "Tattoos are a permanent form of artwork etched into the flesh and are not without risk. As with piercings, local and systemic infection are the most prevalent risks of tattooing. Local infections can occur when the recommended aftercare regimen is not followed...Systemic infections occur when universal precautions are not followed by the tattoo artist and can include such diseases as hepatitis B and C and other infectious diseases,” (p 6). She also reports information from a conversation with Frank Nice, RPh that "the possibility of the ink migrating into the mother's blood plasma and then into the milk-making cells of the breast is negligible.” It is, however, possible to have allergic reactions to the tattoo inks...there is always a chance that the tattoo could have an adverse effect on the mother's immune system and that that would be transmitted to the baby”, (p 6).
As in all things lactation, the impact of any type of body modification on breastfeeding must be assessed on an individual basis.
Kathy Parkes, MSN-Ed, RN, IBCLC, FILCA
Professional Development Educator
American Academy of Pediatrics. (2017). AAP announces its 1st recommendations on tattoos, piercings, and body modifications in youth. Retrieved from https://wwwoaap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/Pages/AAP-Announces-Recommendations-on-Tattoos-Piercings-and-Body-Modifications.aspx.
Beal, J.A. (2018). Tattoos and Piercings: Increasingly Accepted but Still Risky. MCN: The American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing; 43 (2): 112.
Martin, J. (2004). Is nipple piercing compatible with breastfeeding? J Hum Lactation; 20(3): 319,
Roche-Paul, R. (2009). Body modification and breastfeeding: What you need to know. New Beginnings; 29(4): 4.
When you visit the Site, we automatically collect certain information about your device, including information about your web browser, IP address, time zone, and some of the cookies that are installed on your device. Additionally, as you browse the Site, we collect information about the individual web pages or products that you view, what websites or search terms referred you to the Site, and information about how you interact with the Site. We refer to this automatically-collected information as Device Information."
We collect Device Information using the following technologies:
Additionally when you make a purchase or attempt to make a purchase through the Site, we collect certain information from you, including your name, billing address, shipping address, payment information (including credit card numbers), email address, and phone number. We refer to this information as "Order Information."
We use the Order Information that we collect generally to fulfill any orders placed through the Site (including processing your payment information, arranging for shipping, and providing you with invoices and/or order confirmations). Additionally, we use this Order Information to:
We use Student Access Information to provide accurate tracking to Users and Clients on completion and use of the courses, as well as for analysis on how to improve our services.
We use the Device Information that we collect to help us screen for potential risk and fraud (in particular, your IP address), and more generally to improve and optimize our Site (for example, by generating analytics about how our customers browse and interact with the Site, and to assess the success of our marketing and advertising campaigns).
We share your Personal Information with third parties to help us use your Personal Information, as described above. For example, with your employer who needs to verify your completion or progress of your studies. We also use Google Analytics to help us understand how our customers use the Site--you can read more about how Google uses your Personal Information here: https://www.google.com/intl/en/policies/privacy/. You can also opt-out of Google Analytics here: https://tools.google.com/dlpage/gaoptout.
Finally, we may also share your Personal Information to comply with applicable laws and regulations, to respond to a subpoena, search warrant or other lawful request for information we receive, or to otherwise protect our rights.
As described above, we use your Personal Information to provide you with targeted advertisements or marketing communications we believe may be of interest to you. For more information about how targeted advertising works, you can visit the Network Advertising Initiative's ("NAI") educational page at https://www.networkadvertising.org/understanding-online-advertising/how-does-it-work.
You can opt out of targeted advertising by:
Additionally, you can opt out of some of these services by visiting the Digital Advertising Alliance's opt-out portal at: http://optout.aboutads.info.
Please note that we do not alter our Site's data collection and use practices when we see a Do Not Track signal from your browser.
If you are a European resident, you have the right to access personal information we hold about you and to ask that your personal information be corrected, updated, or deleted. If you would like to exercise this right, please contact us through the contact information below.
Additionally, if you are a European resident we note that we are processing your information in order to fulfill contracts we might have with you (for example if you make an order through the Site), or otherwise to pursue our legitimate business interests listed above. Additionally, please note that your information will be transferred outside of Europe, including to Canada and the United States.
When you place an order through the Site, we will maintain your Order Information and Student Access Information for our records unless and until you ask us to delete this information. We are required to keep course completion records for at least 5 years in order to comply with certain accreditation requirements.
For more information about our privacy practices, if you have questions, or if you would like to make a complaint, please contact us by e-mail at email@example.com or by mail using the details provided below:
5890 Monkland Avenue, #16, Montreal, QC, H4A 1G2, Canada
Last Updated: September 2018