Can I Nurse If I've Had Nipple Rings?

Kathleen Tackett's picture

QUESTION

Dear Lactation Consultant,
I'm wondering if you can tell me if I can still breastfeed after I had nipple rings? I took them out a long time ago (2 years) but they seemed to leave permanent holes. I'm scared they might have caused damage, where no milk will come out or too much milk. Thanks for your time.

Leeann

ANSWER

Hi Leeann,
There is no evidence that pierced nipples will affect your ability to breastfeed. Your breasts will still produce adequate milk for your baby, and unless your body rejected the piercing right after you had it done, there is no reason to anticipate any additional problems with infection.

It is unlikely that the holes that are left in your nipple will cause a problem. Each nipple has 15-20 tiny nipple pores that the milk comes out of, so even if some were damaged, there should be plenty left for nursing. Breast surgery often damages the milk ducts inside the breast, and this can definitely create problems. The situation with nipple piercing is very different.

Pierced nipples may be more sensitive than unpierced nipples, so you may experience a little more soreness than most nursing mothers. Other than that, I wouldn't expect you to have any significant problems.

-- Anne, IBCLC