Can You Get a Tattoo While Breastfeeding?

can you get a tattoo while breastfeeding

Getting a tattoo is an exciting and personal experience, but what happens when you’re breastfeeding? Many new mothers are curious about whether it’s safe to get inked while nursing their little ones. This article delves into the safety, risks, and precautions of getting a tattoo while breastfeeding, providing you with all the information you need to make an informed decision. We’ll cover everything from timing and placement considerations to the effects of breastfeeding on existing tattoos. Whether you’re a tattoo enthusiast, a tattoo artist, or a first-timer, read on to find out how you can safely navigate the world of tattoos during this special time in your life.

Key Takeaways:

  • Timing Matters: It’s generally recommended to wait a few months post-birth before getting a tattoo.
  • Safety First: Ensure your tattoo artist follows strict hygiene practices to minimize any risk of infection.
  • Placement Considerations: Choose tattoo locations that won’t interfere with breastfeeding or your baby.
  • Informed Decisions: Understanding the potential risks and how to mitigate them is crucial.
  • Consult Experts: Always consult healthcare providers before making decisions about tattoos during breastfeeding.

Understanding the Safety of Tattoos While Breastfeeding

Before diving into the specifics of getting a tattoo while breastfeeding, it’s crucial to understand the general safety concerns and seek professional advice. Breastfeeding mothers often wonder if the ink, the process, or any potential complications could affect their baby. Here’s what you need to know:

General Safety Concerns

When considering a tattoo while breastfeeding, the primary concern is the risk of infection. Any infection could potentially affect not only the mother but also the baby, as infections can sometimes be passed through breast milk. Additionally, there’s the concern about the ink and other substances used during the tattooing process. However, modern tattoo inks are typically safe and don’t pose a significant risk to breastfed babies.

Medical Opinions and Expert Advice

Medical professionals generally recommend caution. According to healthcare providers, it’s crucial to ensure that the tattoo parlor follows strict sterilization protocols to prevent infections. Experts advise waiting until your body has fully recovered from childbirth before getting a tattoo. This waiting period allows your immune system to be at its best, reducing the risk of complications.

It’s also advisable to consult with your healthcare provider before making the decision. They can provide personalized advice based on your health, the state of your recovery, and any specific concerns you might have regarding breastfeeding.

Getting a Tattoo While Breastfeeding: What You Need to Know

Deciding to get a tattoo while breastfeeding involves more than just finding the right design. It’s about timing, location, and ensuring that you’re taking all necessary precautions to keep both you and your baby safe.

When Is It Safe to Get a Tattoo While Breastfeeding?

Timing is a critical factor. Experts typically recommend waiting until your baby is at least 9-12 months old before getting a tattoo. This waiting period helps ensure that your body has fully recovered from childbirth, and your baby’s primary nutritional needs have been established.

Placement Considerations: Where to Get a Tattoo While Breastfeeding

Choosing the right spot for your tattoo is essential. Avoid areas close to the breasts or any place that might come into contact with your baby. Ideal locations include:

  • Arms
  • Legs
  • Back
  • Thighs

These spots are less likely to interfere with breastfeeding and are generally safer options.

Safety Measures and Precautions

To minimize risks, follow these safety tips:

  • Choose a Reputable Tattoo Artist: Make sure the artist is licensed and practices strict hygiene standards.
  • Ensure Sterility: Check that all needles and equipment are properly sterilized before use.
  • Discuss Your Breastfeeding Status: Inform your tattoo artist that you are breastfeeding so they can take any additional precautions necessary.
  • Monitor for Infections: After getting the tattoo, keep a close eye on the area for signs of infection such as redness, swelling, or pus. Seek medical attention immediately if you notice any of these symptoms.

By taking these precautions, you can significantly reduce the risks associated with getting a tattoo while breastfeeding.

Next, we’ll explore the potential risks of tattooing while breastfeeding and provide insights on how to manage these risks effectively.

Potential Risks of Tattooing While Breastfeeding

Even with the best precautions, there are inherent risks associated with getting a tattoo while breastfeeding. Understanding these risks can help you make an informed decision and take steps to mitigate them.

Can Tattoos Harm Your Breastfed Baby?

One of the primary concerns is whether the ink or other substances used in the tattoo process can harm your baby. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Ink and Chemicals: Modern tattoo inks are generally considered safe and do not pass into breast milk. However, some chemicals or contaminants from poorly regulated inks could pose a risk. Always choose a reputable tattoo artist who uses high-quality, safe inks.
  • Infection: Any infection that you contract during the tattoo process could potentially be passed to your baby. Infections can occur if the tattoo parlor doesn’t follow proper sterilization procedures. Symptoms to watch for include fever, chills, and redness or swelling at the tattoo site.

Can You Donate Breast Milk If You Have Tattoos?

Breast milk donation is a noble cause, but if you have tattoos, you might face certain restrictions:

  • Screening Processes: Most milk banks have strict screening processes to ensure the safety of donated milk. They typically require donors to wait six to twelve months after getting a tattoo before donating.
  • Guidelines and Policies: Each milk bank has its own guidelines. It’s important to check with the specific organization to understand their requirements.

Tattoo Removal While Breastfeeding

Just as with getting a new tattoo, removing an old one while breastfeeding comes with its own set of considerations and risks.

Is It Safe to Have a Tattoo Removed While Breastfeeding?

Tattoo removal usually involves laser treatments, which break down the ink particles in the skin. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Chemical Exposure: While the laser itself is generally safe, the breakdown of ink particles could potentially release chemicals into the bloodstream. The safety of these chemicals for breastfeeding mothers is not well-studied.
  • Professional Advice: Consult with both your healthcare provider and the tattoo removal specialist. They can provide advice based on the latest research and your individual health status.

Risks and Precautions Associated with Tattoo Removal

  • Infection Risks: Similar to getting a tattoo, there is a risk of infection with tattoo removal. Ensure the clinic follows strict sterilization protocols.
  • Healing Time: Your body’s ability to heal post-treatment is crucial. Discuss the appropriate care routines and signs of complications with your specialist.

Effects of Breastfeeding on Existing Tattoos

If you already have tattoos, you might notice some changes during the breastfeeding period. These changes are usually due to fluctuations in skin elasticity and body shape.

Changes in Skin Elasticity

  • Stretching and Fading: Pregnancy and breastfeeding can cause your skin to stretch and change shape, which may affect the appearance of your tattoos. Tattoos on the stomach, breasts, and hips are particularly susceptible to these changes.
  • Maintenance Tips: Keeping your skin moisturized and staying hydrated can help maintain the appearance of your tattoos.

Fading and Stretching Concerns

  • Re-Touching: If your tattoos have faded or stretched significantly, you might consider getting them touched up once you’ve finished breastfeeding and your body has stabilized.

Frequently Asked Questions

Let’s address some common questions that breastfeeding mothers might have about tattoos.

How Soon After Giving Birth Can I Get a Tattoo?

  • Healing Period: Most healthcare providers recommend waiting at least six months after giving birth before getting a tattoo. This period allows your body to heal and reduces the risk of complications.

Can I Get a Tattoo on My Thigh While Breastfeeding?

  • Thigh Tattoos: Getting a tattoo on your thigh is generally considered safe while breastfeeding. This area is less likely to interfere with breastfeeding routines and can be easily kept clean and protected.


Deciding to get a tattoo while breastfeeding is a personal choice that comes with specific considerations and precautions. By understanding the potential risks, consulting with healthcare providers, and choosing reputable tattoo artists, you can make informed decisions that keep both you and your baby safe. Remember, your health and your baby’s well-being are paramount, so take the time to ensure you’re making the best choice for both of you.


The information provided in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. Always consult with a qualified healthcare professional before making any decisions about getting a tattoo or tattoo removal while breastfeeding. Individual health conditions and circumstances vary, and only a healthcare provider can provide personalized advice based on your specific situation.

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