Tattoos and Breastfeeding

Is Breastfeeding OK?

Yes. Breastfeeding will not cause any problems with your tattoos. While there have been no studies done on breastfeeding mothers with tattoos, many mothers breastfeed successfully with tattoos. Ink from established tattoos will not cross into breastmilk.

What are the risks for me?

As with piercings, the most common risks of tattoos are local or systemic infections. Local infections usually occur due to not following aftercare instructions. Systemic infections include Hepatitis B/C or HIV and generally are a result of the tattoo artist not following universal precautions. Some people can have an allergic reaction to the ink used, especially the color red.

What are the risks for my baby?

There are very few risks to your baby from tattoos. The most common risks are infections passed from mother to baby from dirty needles and possible heavy metal exposure from some of the inks used. Tattoo inks are not regulated.

Is it safe to have laser removal of a tattoo while breastfeeding?

Yes. While there are no studies on the safety of tattoo removal, many women have had tattoos removed while breastfeeding successfully. The ink is broken into small particles to be destroyed by the body’s immune system. The major risks are from local infection or allergic reaction to the ‘free’ ink circulating in the mother’s body. The ink particles are too big to cross into breastmilk.

 

Tattoos and Breastfeeding: Recommendations

Plan before getting a tattoo

Plan to have any tattoos placed before you become pregnant. Tattoo artists will not tattoo a pregnant woman and many will refuse to tattoo a breastfeeding mother. Tattoos take a 1-3 weeks to heal completely.

Follow all universal precautions and aftercare instructions

Be sure to go to a reputable tattoo artist who follows universal precautions. Follow all aftercare instructions to prevent infection.

Wait until baby is older or weaned

If you want to get a tattoo while currently breastfeeding it is best to wait until your baby is older (9-12 months) or weaned to lessen the risk of any potential infections or heavy metal exposure and to allow your body time to heal the tattoo fully.

Contact your HCP or IBCLC

If you have any problems with breastfeeding be sure to contact your HCP or IBCLC without delay. Be sure to mention that you have tattoos.

Keep breastfeeding!

© 2009-2014 Robyn Roche-Paull, RN, BSN, IBCLC. This information is general and should not serve as a substitute for the advice of a health care provider

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