Is It Safe To Get A Tattoo When You Are Breastfeeding?

Is It Safe To Get A Tattoo When You Are Breastfeeding?

1 Jul 2022 | 4 min Read

Sayani Basu

Author | 511 Articles

People get tattoos for several reasons – as a form of self-expression, for artistic or spiritual purposes, to honour someone they’ve lost, or to sanctify a special relationship. Many mums get tattoos to etch the newborn’s memories on the body.

But the question is, can breastfeeding mums get a tattoo? Is it safe for them to get inked?

Tattoos are designed using a machine that has ink-coated needles. These pierce the skin at a rate of hundreds of times a minute to create a design. These needles only penetrate to a few millimetres in the top layer of the skin and deposit ink just below the skin’s surface.

While there is no study with regards to the dangers of getting a tattoo during breastfeeding, there are some precautions that should be kept in mind. Here’s everything you need to know.

Risks Of Getting A Tattoo While Breastfeeding

There are some risks of getting inked while breastfeeding. Some of these are:

  • Although rare, sometimes, nursing mums might have an allergic reaction to the pigments and ink used for making a tattoo. Such an infection can cause a temporary halt in breastfeeding.
is it dangerous to get a tattoo while breastfeeding?
Unsterilized tattoo equipment transmits infections like hepatitis and HIV. | Image Source: pexels
  • Since tattooing involves the piercing of a needle through the skin, infections like hepatitis and HIV can be passed on from the mum to the baby through breast milk. Usually, unsterilised tattoo equipment transmits these infections.

The only way to prevent this is to approach a reputed tattoo artist and make sure that proper hygienic procedures are followed.

  • A tattoo might also cause more localised problems like bumps, scars or granulomas. While these infections pose no threat to the baby, the new mum might need to visit a doctor and have them treated.
  • MIR complications arise due to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) which includes burning or swelling in the prone areas. However, such complications are rare and do not last long.

Although the above-mentioned factors do not affect the quality of breast milk, they might impair the mum’s ability to breastfeed. Plus, the trauma of getting the tattoo done may reduce the milk supply too.

Getting a tattoo on your hand can be a bit difficult as you need to hold your baby while breastfeeding. | Image Source: pexels

Precautions to Keep In Mind

Some of the precautions that are to be considered while getting a tattoo during breastfeeding are:

  • You need to be mindful of the placement of your tattoo. Your tattoo will take a few weeks or longer to heal and you might feel the pain all the more if you get a tattoo in certain spots of your body while you’re breastfeeding.

You can think about how you hold the baby when breastfeeding and whether the baby will rub against the tattoo site.

  • Try to keep your tattoo site clean while it heals. You can wash the area with soap and water, and protect the tattoo when you’re in the sun.
  • You can also use safe pain-relieving medicines after consulting a doctor. Acetaminophen is usually considered safe while breastfeeding and can reduce pain.
  • It is advisable to talk to your doctor if you have certain health conditions and are seeking a tattoo while breastfeeding. Some of these conditions include blood clotting, heart, and autoimmune conditions.

Dr Pooja Marathe, Community Expert – Lactation & Nutrition says, “There are no regulations against breastfeeding with tattoos, even if they’re on your breasts. The tattoo ink doesn’t get into your milk supply as the ink is sealed under the first layer of your skin. However, some organisations advise against getting a tattoo when breastfeeding due to how tattooing is done.”

Can You Remove A Tattoo While Breastfeeding?

Lasers remove tattoos over several sessions by breaking down the ink in the dermal layer of the skin into small particles. Your immune system sweeps these broken-down particles to your liver and your liver then filters them out of your body.

Although there are no studies on whether those particles can enter your milk supply and be passed to the baby, it is advisable to remove your tattoos until you’re no longer breastfeeding.

There are no studies that stand against getting a tattoo while breastfeeding. Plus, the molecular structure of the ink is too large to pass into breast milk. However, it is still advisable to postpone the plan till the baby is a year old.

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