Hey there! Wholesomealive is reader-supported. We may earn a small commission from affiliate links at no extra cost to you. Your support helps us create great content. Thank you!

Can You Get a Tattoo While Breastfeeding

The arrival of a newborn is certainly something worth celebrating. So it’s reasonable that you’d want to mark this remarkable event in style. Probably there are plenty of ideas running your mind on how you’re going to do it.

How about getting a tattoo of your new baby on your body? Sounds great? But how safe is it, especially now you are breastfeeding. While it all seems simple, the study in this field is lacking.

That said, there are a number of reasons why you might want to give it a second thought before you hit your local tattoo parlor.

Table of Content

Tattoo While Breastfeeding

I remember back in 2013 when I got a tattoo while breastfeeding. My doctor advised me to wait until I was done nursing, but I couldn’t hold the excitement of my firstborn for any longer.

By the time she was nine months, I had my entire half sleeve had finished. My artists’ wife was actually breastfeeding too. I didn’t understand the science behind my doctors’ advice.

Now that my daughter is grown and healthy, I did my research and learned a few great things.

Tattoo While Breastfeeding

Safety of Getting a Tattoo While Breastfeeding

Many research centers have raised little concerns about getting tattoos and piercings while breastfeeding. However, many concerns prevail on the issue. You understand there are many dos and don’ts during the lactation period. Avoid alcoholic drinks, eat healthily, and take enough rest, for instance. All these are meant to keep your newborn healthy and safe. But what about tattoos or piercings?

Strangely enough, there is little research in this area, and much of the information is purely theoretical. Even scientists are backing the side of caution because there is a chance something could happen. There are quite a lot of myths in this field, but facts are crucial.

The right information will help you make the right decision.

Tattoos are created using a device containing needles coated with ink. These needles pierce and penetrate a few millimeters of the skin layer faster to create a design. This raises the question of the impact of the ink contamination on the blood vessels in the breasts.

Transmission of Toxins

You probably got worried about the ink contaminating your breast milk and eventually affecting your baby. This should be of less concern as the ink molecules are too large to transmit into your breasts. According to the American College of Nurse-Midwives, the ink molecules won’t make it to the mother’s blood plasma and contaminate the milk. Whether your tattoo is fresh or established, there is no risk of transmission of toxins.

Understanding Ink Safety

The ink itself is a significant concern while nursing. At this point, things can get a bit complicated. First, the ink is injected into your body in the dermal layer of your skin. While the US Food and Drug Administration approves tattoo inks, the same cannot be said when injecting them. Most of the inks used in tattooing are industrial-grade colors fit for car paint or printing.

Well, this raises issues when nursing, as some additives are not suitable for skin contact. The red pigment is the most toxic, according to the FDA, since it contains lead and mercury elements. Still, the risk is usually low, depending on the pigment and brand.

What Are The Risks of Getting a Tattoo While Breastfeeding?

  1. Infections

The risk of infections is similar to whether breastfeeding or not. Even if you adhere to all aftercare guidelines, there are still chances of getting an infection. The reason is that you are penetrating the first layer of protection in your body’s complex defense mechanism. You are again exposing yourself at risk, even with extreme care.

Both local and systemic infections are a significant concern at this point. Local infections can be a result of not attending follow-up sessions after getting the tattoos. Systemic diseases come as a result of low precautions by your local tattoo artist. This can range from HIV, Hepatitis, and more.

While there are no documented cases of infection transmission, human milk banks do not take breast milk donations from a lactating mother who got a tattoo in the last year. This is due to the potential risk of infections through needle contamination.

Despite the risk being small, its real. Therefore, getting a tattoo while breastfeeding exposes you and your child to the potential risk of infections. This explains why a court of law in Australia banned a mother from breastfeeding her newborn any longer after getting a tattoo.

I hope those asking whether you can get a tattoo while breastfeeding Australia have the right answer now.

  1. MIR complications

This comes as a result of magnetic resonance imaging. The effects can range from swelling to burning in the lying areas. Despite these complications being rare, they are real. Its good to understand that these conditions have no direct effect on the safety of breast milk. However, they still affect your ability to nurse. The trauma of a tattoo itself can significantly impair the supply of milk. Still, there is little evidence to support this. So, you would instead choose to ignore the risks and get a tattoo?

  1. Allergy

Depending on your skin response, allergic reactions are a potential risk. This, too, can disrupt breastfeeding.

  1. Scars

Getting or removing a tattoo can result in unwanted scars. Our skins respond differently, and tattooing may lead to granulomas.

Tattoo Placement vs. Baby Comfort

It will take an average of 3-4 weeks for a tattoo to heal fully. Basically, there is ink on your arm, wrist, shoulder, or breast- areas where the baby is expected to rest on.

How long will it take that wound to heal completely? Is it going to be easy? I don’t think so. The wound gets hurt or rubbed by the baby or any covering used when breastfeeding in public, particularly shoulder tattoos. Frequent friction increases the possibility of infections and even the need to have the tattoo repeated.

Redoing makes no difference if the newborn is still as challenging. It’s in your best interest to avoid such areas when getting a tattoo. If you must get it done on these body parts, go for small breasting tattooing designs that demand less time to heal.

Tattoo Placement vs. Baby Comfort

credit: pexels.com

Your Body Is Still Changing

I personally gained more than 30 pounds during my pregnancy period. It took me more than a year to drop that weight off again. This, too, happens for any average woman. While one is likely to drop a good chunk of extra weight after pregnancy, there are chances you won’t go back to the original shape. This raises big concerns about what happens if you get a tattoo while breastfeeding.

Imagine what will happen if you are lucky or unlucky to lose weight fat. As we all know, the skin takes time to contract at the same pace with sudden weight loss. As a result, the skin drops its stretch and begins to sag. Your tattoo no longer appears tight and distinct like before.

To mitigate this, it’s recommended to shed weight at a relaxed and healthier pace. You can as well wait until the body gains a stable speed before you can get a tattoo while breastfeeding the UK.

However, don’t be discouraged as there are lots of success stories of little tattoo distortion after significant weight loss.  Only get intricate breastfeeding tattoo designs if you’re sure you’re unlikely to lose excess weight too quickly.

Eyebrow Tattoo While Breastfeeding

Eyebrows are indispensable because they emphasize the eyes and shape of the face and play a central role in how you communicate yourself.  You may use a pencil to make them look temporarily thick. If you are looking for a permanent solution, the tattooing can work best.  However, can you get an eyebrow tattoo while breastfeeding?

I recently spoke to an expert at Ulmer Dermatology, who says there is a risk of infection though rare. Nursing moms should weight the risks and also inform the tattoo artist about their state. Once an artist finds out a mother is nursing, there are high chances they won’t perform it.

The reason is that eyebrow tattooing is permanent and therefore and can destroy the thermal layer of your skin. It’s always better to hold a little until you are done breastfeeding. The best part is that tattooing eyebrows do not affect the quality or supply of milk.

Safety Measures

If you insist on getting a tattoo while breastfeeding, it’s essential to take the following safety measures.

Do research

You probably admired that beautiful tattoo design on your nursing friend. Now you are thinking of copying the same. My advice is simple, do not follow blindly.

Visit a registered specialist and ensure your local artist observes top hygiene levels. You can ask for referrals and recommendations on the best places. Check whether the artist is using sterilized equipment, new gloves, clean containers, etc.

Certified tattooists observe universal precautions like washing hands using sanitizer, autoclaving of tattooing gun, single-use of needles, gloves, and more.

Follow after-tattoo guidelines

Adhere to all guidelines provided by your artist both after and before the process. Such instructions include:

  • Avoid alcohol during the healing process
  • Do not expose the tattooed area to direct sunlight
  • Proper skin care to avoid the risk of infections
  • Avoid picking the skin layer
  • Clean the tattoo using water

Be Mindful of Where You Place a Tattoo

Like I said, a tattoo takes 4 weeks or more to heal completely. There are certain spots you are likely to feel more pain while breastfeeding. How are you planning to hold your baby? Can you get a tattoo on your chest while breasting? Will your baby rub against the tattoo spot? If yes, then consider a less exposed spot

Ask Your Doctor

Consult a physician if you have underlying medical conditions before getting a tattoo. Conditions such as heart problems, blood clotting, autoimmune complications may affect escalate, especially when you get a tattoo while nursing.

To reduce pain while breastfeeding, use only approved pain-relieving medicines, for instance, Acetaminophen.

Why Can’t You Get a Tattoo While Breastfeeding?

You need ample time to heal. The human body naturally needs between 9-12 months to heal after childbirth completely. There is also a significant possibility of an allergic reaction after birth. Since no one knows how the ink rejection is going to affect your milk, it’s essential to consider not getting a tattoo. The choice is yours.

Alternatives for Tattooing

Can you get a henna tattoo while breastfeeding? Unlike ink pigment, henna is natural and has been in use for many years to create contemporary designs. It’s used for making temporary tattoos as well as coloring hair. If you are craving for tattooing your newborn memories on your body without exposing your body to any risks, henna does the magic. But, avoid artificial black henna and stick to the natural one available in red, orange, and brown colors.

Can You Get a Tattoo Removed While Breastfeeding?

Tattoo removal requires laser treatment. Lasers help remove tattoos by emitting energy leading to the breakdown of tattoo pigment in the skin into smaller particles. The immune system then filters the fragments to the liver. Then the liver finally sweeps them out of the body.

The removal process takes a period of 4-8 weeks, with an average of 8 sessions. While the process got no virtually side effects, it sometimes can be painful and cause blisters. You just have to take precautions about laser removal you do when tattooing. There is always a possibility of an infection or allergy due to improper care.

Therefore, the procedure is safe for breastfeeding moms. There is no scientific data to show the release of ink pigments into the mother’s body or breast milk. The laser removal process also does not affect the supply of milk. To avoid the unknown, I would advise nursing moms to wait until weaning before thinking of tattoo removal.

Woman with Tattoo Carrying Baby

Effects of Breastfeeding on Tattoos

You may be wondering what happens if you breastfeed on tattoos. These are tattoos you probably got prior to nursing. Chances are the tattoos that will change in terms of appearance due to pregnancy. The body undergoes through many changes, thus may stretch and discolor your tattoos.  Breastfeeding is likely to swell up your breasts, especially if you are engorged. This, in turn, causes momentary distortion of tattoos located on the breast.

The FAQS About Get a Tattoo While Breastfeeding

Q. When can I get a tattoo while breastfeeding?

Answer: Most tattoo artists are unlikely to perform a tattoo on a breastfeeding woman. This is not only for legal responsibility on the local artist part, but also to avoid complications that may arise during the lactation period. Also, it helps give the mother enough time to heal. Its, therefore, recommended for nursing moms to wait for at least 12 months before considering getting a tattoo. After the period elapses, the baby will no longer be breastfeeding. Reliable tattooists may require the client to sign a contract for legal purposes.

Q. Can you get permanent makeup while breastfeeding?

Answer: While busy moms mostly prefer permanent makeup artists, the question remains, can you get cosmetic tattoos while breastfeeding? Pregnant and nursing moms should avoid permanent makeup due to potential risks to their newborns. Permanent makeup involves the violation of the veracity of skin. Since pregnant women tend to have sensitive skin, this is likely to cause acute pain and even premature labor. Other complications caused by permanent makeup include:

  • There is also the possibility of bleeding
  • Possibility of lactation disturbance due to pain
  • Allergic reactions due to hormonal imbalance
  • Use of anesthesia during the process causes prenatal complications

For the above reasons, pregnant and breastfeeding women should not even think about applying permanent makeup.

Q. What foods should moms avoid when breastfeeding

Answer: While Nursing moms are recommended a nutritious diet, there are specific foods and beverages one should limit. Such foods include:

  • Fish- fish contains two omega-3 fatty acids that are essential for brain development. However, specific types of fish contain high mercury that is toxic. They include tilefish, shark, big-eyed tuna, and marlin. Mercury poisoning may lead to permanent damage to the central nervous system hence growth impairments.
  • Herbal supplements- while some herbs and spices are safe for use during nursing, several herbal supplements and tea are contaminated and pose a danger to mothers.
  • Alcohol drinks- The amount of alcohol in your breast milk depends on how much and when you consumed it. If you can’t avoid alcohol at all, the CDC recommends a single standard drink a day.
  • Caffeine- common sources of caffeine include tea, coffee, soda, and more. Too much consumption of caffeine may end up in breast milk, thus affecting your baby.
  • Highly processed foods- these kinds of foods contain high amounts of sugar, calories, and unhealthy fats.

Q. Can I breastfeed if I had my nipples pierced?

Answer:  Yes! A piercing on your nipples won’t affect your ability to breastfeed. However, you should only breastfeed when you’re piercing is fully healed. Also, nipple piercing doesn’t affect the production of milk. In some cases, these piercings may affect the smooth flow of milk since they damage the nipple ducts.

Final Thought

If you got a tattoo while breastfeeding, don’t be hard on yourself. There is not practical evidence to suggest something will happen to you or your baby.

However, that doesn’t mean it won’t. The risk of infection is real and looms larger while nursing. Consider natural henna tattoos until your baby is 12 months old. Your newborn got a place in your heart, if not yet, your skin!

Related Reading for Breastfeeding Mom:

  1. Gain Weight While Breastfeeding
  2. Losing Weight After Stopping Breastfeeding
  3. Meal Replacement Shakes While Breastfeeding
  4. Apple Cider Vinegar While Breastfeeding
  5. Can You Take Pre-workout While Breastfeeding?

Wholesomealive.com -a blog about Healthy Living