Everything You Need to Know About Breastfeeding and Tattoos

There are numerous health considerations to make when you breastfeed, so you may wonder if tattoos are a factor. Preexisting tattoos don’t impact the breastfeeding process. Getting a tattoo and undergoing tattoo removal are different matters. 

Take precautions if you want a tattoo while breastfeeding. It may be a good idea to delay tattoo removal while you breastfeed because it’s unknown whether the broken-down tattoo ink can get into your milk supply.

Can you breastfeed if you have tattoos?

There are no regulations against breastfeeding with tattoos. 

The placement of tattoos does not increase any risks when breastfeeding, even if they’re on your breasts. The tattoo ink is unlikely to get into your milk supply and the ink is sealed under the first layer of your skin, so the baby cannot contact it.

Can you get a tattoo while breastfeeding?


There are mixed opinions on whether it’s advisable to get a tattoo while breastfeeding. No governing body or medical organization forbids getting a tattoo if you’re currently breastfeeding. Moreover, no research exists that provides negative evidence of breastfeeding and getting tattooed. 

Tattoo establishments may not allow you to get a tattoo if you’re breastfeeding. They may be concerned about the possibility of increased risks, despite the lack of evidence. They may also be concerned about liability. If you decide to get inked when you’re breastfeeding, let the tattoo artist know that you’re breastfeeding, and use the same precautions as anyone else seeking a new tattoo.


The tattooing process carries risks. 

During the process, your skin is repeatedly poked with a small needle coated with ink. The ink is deposited in the second layer of your skin, known as the dermal layer.

Inks used for tattooing are not approved or regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for this use. Inks can contain a variety of materials including heavy metals and chemicals found in printer toner and paint. 

Some of the risks of getting a tattoo include:

  • Having an allergic reaction to the inks. 
  • Getting a skin infection. Signs of infection include irritation, itching, redness, or pus on or near your tattoo.
  • Contracting a blood borne infections like HIV, hepatitis, tetanus, MRSA. Unsterilized tattoo equipment may transmit these infections. 

Complications following tattoo application can require treatments that may not be compatible with breastfeeding. For example, certain medications cannot be used when breastfeeding. Additionally, you can transmit HIV through breast milk. 


Consider these precautions if you decide to get a tattoo while breastfeeding:

  • Use a licensed tattoo facility with a good reputation. A tattoo professional should use clean and sterile materials.
  • Be mindful about the placement of your tattoo. The tattoo will take a few weeks or longer to heal. You may feel more pain if you get a tattoo in certain spots of your body while you’re breastfeeding. Think about how you hold the baby when breastfeeding and whether the baby will rub against the tattoo site.
  • Talk to your doctor if you have certain health conditions and are seeking a tattoo while breastfeeding. These include conditions like blood clotting, heart, and autoimmune conditions.
  • Keep your tattoo site clean while it heals. Wash the area with soap and water, and protect the tattoo when you’re in the sun. 
  • Use safe pain-relieving medicines. Acetaminophen (Paracetamol) is generally considered safe while breastfeeding and can reduce pain.
  • While there’s no scientific data available on the safety of tattooing while breastfeeding, theoretical concerns exist regarding transmission of ink pigments to the infant during breastfeeding. Discuss any concerns you may have with your doctor.

Can you have a tattoo removed while breastfeeding?

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

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