Breastfeeding and Body Piercings

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Pierced nipples do not usually cause any complications with breastfeeding. In general, piercings in the nipple will not affect your breast milk supply or your ability to make breast milk. You may notice that your breast milk leaks through the holes of your piercing, but that's OK and not a cause for concern. 

Pierced Nipples and Infection

If you've had an infection related to your piercing at some point in the past, it could cause some issues with breastfeeding. Infections can leave behind scarring. Scarring can close up the tiny holes in your nipples or your milk ducts which can block the flow of breast milk.

Piercings on Other Areas of Your Breast

While pierced nipples don't typically cause any problems, a piercing on your areola, the dark area around the nipple, or the surrounding breast tissue, could be an issue. If the piercing cuts into the milk ducts, it could get in the way of the flow of breast milk out of your breasts. 

If your milk isn't able to flow out of a particular area of your breast, you may experience plugged milk ducts in that spot. And, if the piercing affects the nerves around the nipple and areola, it could interfere with your let-down reflex.

A nipple ring or any type of breast jewelry that can go into your baby's mouth while you're breastfeeding can pose two problems:

  • A piece of jewelry left in place on the breast can be dangerous. If it comes off in your baby's mouth while you're breastfeeding, your child could choke.
  • It could also hurt your baby's mouth or get in the way of his ability to latch on to your breast.

Breastfeeding Tips

While you're pregnant, talk to your doctor and be sure to let her know about any piercings you may have on your breasts or nipples. If you have ever had an infection at the site of the piercing, tell her that, as well. Your doctor can examine your breasts and your piercings to see if there's any reason they may interfere with successful breastfeeding. 

Before your baby is born, remove your nipple ring or any other jewelry from your nipples or breasts and keep them out while you're breastfeeding. If breast milk leaks out of your piercing site once you remove the jewelry, you can wear nursing pads in your bra to help soak up the leaking breast milk. 


While you're pregnant or after your baby is born, you may have questions or concerns about your piercings, your baby's latch, leaking breast milk, or your milk supply. You can always reach out to your doctor, a lactation consultant, or a local La Leche group for help or more information.

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  1. Lee B, Vangipuram R, Petersen E, Tyring SK. Complications associated with intimate body piercings. Dermatol Online J. 2018;24(7)

Additional Reading
  • American Academy of Pediatrics. New Mother’s Guide To Breastfeeding. Bantam Books. New York. 2011.
  • Cadwell, Karin, Turner-Maffei, Cynthia, O'Connor, Barbara, Cadwell Blair, Anna, Arnold, Lois D.W., and Blair Elyse M. (2006). Maternal and Infant Assessment for Breastfeeding and Human Lactation A Guide for the Practitioner Second Edition. Jones and Bartlett Publishers.
  • Murray, Sharon Smith, and Emily Slone McKinney. Foundations of maternal-newborn and women's health nursing. Elsevier Health Sciences, 2014.