Piercings, Tattoos, and Other Things That Could Affect Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is natural — we all know that. Your cat does it (times five or six) without having to take a special class or hire a lactation consultant. But when it comes our own ability to nurse, there’s so much information out there, it can be overwhelming. Hey mama, don’t stress. We talked to Jennifer Jordan, director of mom and baby at Aeroflow Breastpumps, about body modifications, habits, and even our own anatomy, and how they might affect women’s ability to breastfeed.
1. Piercings: Body jewelry doesn’t preclude you from nursing your baby, but Jordan suggests, “If you have a piercing, be sure to remove the jewelry before breastfeeding.” She goes on to add, “You won’t really know how this will affect your milk flow until you start nursing, so be sure to keep an eye on baby’s weight gain the first few weeks.” And of course, “If you notice that baby is struggling to nurse, call a lactation consultant so you can figure out a healthy breastfeeding plan that works for you.”
2. Tattoos: That ink you got way back in college really has nothing to do with your ability to breastfeed, but you might be wondering whether you can get a new tattoo while breastfeeding. Aside from the obvious (getting a tattoo on your breast itself will make the process a bit uncomfortable), you really don’t have much to fear. Jordan notes, “Getting a tattoo while you’re breastfeeding is generally safe because it’s understood that ink molecules are too large to pass into breastmilk.”
3. Implants: When you got your implants, you may not have been thinking about your ability to breastfeed — but now that the day is nearing, it’s a different story. “While every pregnancy is different, it is extremely unlikely that breastfeeding with implants would affect your child or hinder your ability to breastfeed,” says Jordan. She adds, “You can also safely use a breast pump if you have implants.”
4. Smoking: Smoking is never a good idea. It’s bad for your health, and there are second-hand smoke risks for your baby. Just don’t do it. When it comes to breastfeeding, Jordan says, “Smoking can lower your milk supply and lead to earlier weaning. Smoking also heightens your baby’s risk of getting a respiratory infection, colic, or pneumonia.”
5. Breast Size: Many women with smaller breasts worry about their ability to breastfeed. Whether your A-cups grew to Ds or they stayed the same size, starting out with small breasts doesn’t mean you can’t make enough milk to feed your baby. Women with all kinds of different breast sizes and shapes successfully nurse their kiddos.
6. Work: There are plenty of working mamas out there, and they still manage to breastfeed. No, you can’t actually nurse while you’re at work unless you’re lucky enough to work somewhere that has an on-site daycare. But you can pump and save bottles of breastmilk to tide baby over until EOD.
What’s your best breastfeeding tip? Share yours and tweet us @BritandCo!
(Photo via Getty)