Navigating Nipple Piercings and Breastfeeding

do nipples piercings affect breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is a beautiful and natural way to nourish your baby, providing them with essential nutrients and a strong bond between mother and child. However, if you have nipple piercings or are considering getting them, you might wonder whether they can impact your ability to breastfeed.

As a new mother myself, I was also curious about the effect that nipple piercings have on breastfeeding so I did some research. Let’s explore the relationship between nipple piercings and breastfeeding, address common concerns, and offer guidance for breastfeeding mothers.

Do Nipple Piercings Affect Breastfeeding?

Nipple piercings can pose initial challenges for breastfeeding, primarily affecting the baby's latch due to the presence of jewelry. Maintaining good hygiene and considering temporary removal of jewelry during nursing sessions can also help ensure a positive breastfeeding experience.

The Anatomy of Nipple Piercings

Understanding the anatomy of nipple piercings is the first step toward comprehending how they may potentially affect breastfeeding. Nipple piercings are a form of body modification that involves creating a small hole through the nipple and inserting jewelry, such as a barbell or hoop.

The decision to get nipple piercings is deeply personal, and it's essential to be well-informed about the process and its implications, especially if you plan to breastfeed in the future.

  1. The Nipple Structure: The nipple itself is a small, sensitive protuberance located at the center of the areola, the darker pigmented area surrounding the nipple. The nipple is not a single structure but rather consists of multiple layers of tissue, including skin, connective tissue, muscle fibers, and mammary ducts.

  2. The Piercing Procedure: Nipple piercings are typically performed by trained professionals using a sterilized hollow needle. This needle creates a channel through the nipple, allowing for the insertion of jewelry. The piercing can be oriented either horizontally or vertically through the nipple, and the choice of jewelry, such as barbells, rings, or studs, is up to personal preference.

  3. Potential Impact on Nipple Sensation: Nipple sensitivity and sensation can vary from person to person. Some individuals report heightened sensitivity after getting nipple piercings, while others may experience temporary discomfort during the healing process.

  4. Healing Time: The healing process for nipple piercings typically ranges from several weeks to a few months. During this time, it's essential to follow strict aftercare procedures to prevent infection and complications. Keeping the pierced area clean and avoiding activities that may tug or irritate the jewelry is crucial for a smooth healing process.

  5. Breastfeeding Considerations: Nipple piercings themselves do not directly affect the milk-producing mammary glands within the breast. However, they can pose potential challenges when it comes to breastfeeding. The presence of jewelry in the nipple may initially make it more challenging for the baby to latch effectively.

  6. Jewelry Choices: The choice of jewelry for nipple piercings is significant. Smooth, properly-sized jewelry with rounded ends is generally recommended for breastfeeding mothers. Sharp or protruding jewelry can cause discomfort or damage to the baby's mouth during latching.

  7. Temporary Removal: Many breastfeeding mothers with nipple piercings choose to temporarily remove their jewelry while nursing to facilitate better latching and reduce the risk of choking. However, the process of removing and reinserting jewelry should be done carefully to avoid complications, and it may require some practice.

Potential Challenges

While the decision to get nipple piercings can be a personal and empowering choice, it's natural to have concerns about how they might impact your breastfeeding journey. Understanding the potential challenges that nipple piercings can pose during breastfeeding is essential for mothers who wish to provide their babies with the nourishment and bonding experience that breastfeeding offers.

Let’s dive into some common concerns and obstacles that breastfeeding mothers with nipple piercings may encounter and offer insights on how to navigate them effectively.

Milk Flow and Latch

One of the primary concerns regarding breastfeeding with nipple piercings is whether they can interfere with the baby's ability to latch onto the breast effectively. While the presence of a piercing may initially pose a minor obstacle, it is often manageable. Some mothers find that their babies may struggle with latching in the early days, but this issue can be resolved with patience, practice, and the guidance of a lactation consultant.

Milk Supply

Another concern is whether nipple piercings can affect milk supply. In most cases, nipple piercings themselves do not significantly impact milk production. Milk is produced within the mammary glands, located deeper within the breast tissue, rather than in the nipple itself. However, if you experience complications from the piercing, such as infection or scarring, these issues could potentially affect your milk supply. It's essential to address any complications promptly and seek medical advice if needed.

Infection Risk

Maintaining proper hygiene around nipple piercings is crucial for all breastfeeding mothers. Infection can pose a risk, as it can lead to discomfort, complications, or even the discontinuation of breastfeeding. Make sure to clean your nipple piercings regularly and consult with a healthcare professional if you notice any signs of infection.

Jewelry Removal

For breastfeeding mothers with nipple piercings, it's advisable to remove the jewelry while nursing. The jewelry could pose a choking hazard for the baby, and it may also interfere with the latch. However, keep in mind that removing and reinserting jewelry can be a bit challenging, so it's essential to do it carefully to avoid damaging your piercings.

Consulting with a Lactation Consultant

If you have nipple piercings and plan to breastfeed or are experiencing difficulties while breastfeeding, consulting with a lactation consultant is a wise choice. Lactation consultants are trained to address various breastfeeding challenges and can provide personalized guidance and support.

  • Personalized Assessment: Lactation consultants are skilled at conducting personalized assessments of your breastfeeding experience. They will consider factors such as your nipple piercings, your baby's latch, milk supply, and any potential complications arising from the piercings.

  • Latch and Positioning: A crucial aspect of breastfeeding with nipple piercings is ensuring that your baby latches effectively. Lactation consultants can guide you on optimal positioning and techniques to help your baby latch onto the breast correctly. They can also offer advice on modifying your breastfeeding positions if needed to accommodate the piercings.

  • Troubleshooting Challenges: If you encounter issues like pain, engorgement, or blocked ducts related to your nipple piercings, a lactation consultant can offer solutions. They can help you manage discomfort and find strategies to maintain your milk supply while keeping the piercings in place.

  • Jewelry Removal and Reinsertion: Lactation consultants can provide step-by-step guidance on safely removing and reinserting your nipple jewelry during breastfeeding sessions. They'll emphasize the importance of maintaining hygiene and ensuring the safety of your baby when removing the jewelry.

  • Emotional Support: Beyond the technical aspects of breastfeeding, lactation consultants also offer emotional support. They understand that the journey can be emotionally challenging, especially when concerns related to nipple piercings arise.

  • Resource Referrals: If you encounter complications from your nipple piercings that require medical attention or specialized care, lactation consultants can refer you to the appropriate healthcare professionals.


In most cases, nipple piercings should not prevent you from breastfeeding successfully. While there may be some initial challenges, with patience, proper hygiene, and expert guidance, you can navigate these hurdles and provide your baby with the nourishment and comfort they need through breastfeeding.

Remember that every woman's experience is unique, so seek professional advice if you encounter any issues during your breastfeeding journey. Ultimately, the decision to keep or remove nipple piercings is a personal one, and it should align with your comfort and breastfeeding goals.

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Author, Founder @ Latch Luxe

Stefanie Statler

Stefanie Statler is an author and the founder of Latch Luxe, with a loving husband and daughter. She is a dedicated advocate for breastfeeding mothers and understands the challenges and joys of motherhood firsthand. Email me at

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