We’re giving away some tattoo aftercare balm and a tattoo. Seriously. Keep reading. But if you want to skip to the giveaway part, the short version is that if you’re using a safe, reputable shop, there is almost no risk to getting a tattoo while breastfeeding. Which is good news if you’re breastfeeding and want to get a tattoo. Woohoo!
From time to time we’re asked on The Leaky Boob Facebook page about the safety of getting tattoos while breastfeeding. While there isn’t a lot of information out there regarding studies done specifically on getting tattoos while breastfeeding, most health care professionals agree that as long as you are using a reputable shop that follows all the guidelines required for safe-handling and hygiene, there is no real risk to the breastfeeding relationship for the mother to get a tattoo.
Please note: don’t tattoo babies or small children, that would just be mean.
Just a few weeks ago, following Camp MommyCon near Denver, Colorado, I had a what has been a long planned appointment for my very first tattoo. And yes, I’m still breastfeeding 2 year old Sugarbaby. This appointment with Colin Kolker at Chroma Collective Tattoo Co. was in the works for a long time, generously gifted to help me realize a healing dream I’ve had for over 2 years to reclaim a spot on my arm scarred along my motherhood journey. Colin helped me express my healing, inner strength, and the beauty that I have found along the way with a symbolic and meaningful tattoo that represented all of that to me. You can read about the story and meaning behind my tattoo here.
Before I even made the appointment, I answered all the questions I could on breastfeeding and getting a tattoo. Personally I decided that the risk, while minimal, was enough for me to want to wait at least until Sugarbaby was over 12 months old simply because should something happen she would no longer be dependent on just breastmilk. Even though I was confident nothing would happen. Finances and opportunity pushed it back another year. At that point I felt I was well informed on any potential risk and what I could do to all but eliminate even that. Confident that it was safe, the only nervousness I had going into my appointment that evening was that it would hurt.
It did hurt. I had tattoolas to help me though. Because support makes all the difference, don’t you know. Also, people, stop comparing tattoos to giving birth. It’s totally different and just because I can handle pain when necessary (and I can’t actually stop it anyway) in order to push out a baby does not mean I’m not a wuss about other pain. To be clear, I’m a total wimp. Tattoos hurt. About like you think it would hurt to be repeatedly stabbed and scratched with a needle. Because that’s exactly what’s happening. But the pain was totally worth it and in some spots it even felt good, kind of like a tens unit. Other spots felt like torture. Still, not like giving birth, the sensation is much less than that of giving birth.
Here’s what I considered in making my decision to get a tattoo as a breastfeeding mother:
- Ink molecules are too large to get into the blood stream and milk. Sugarbaby wouldn’t have ink flavored milk but I did love that Chroma Collective Tattoo Co. used nontoxic vegan ink they were happy to show me and explain. This also meant I was less likely to have an allergic reaction to the ink as an immune response and made me feel more comfortable with my decision.
- The shop I chose meets all safety standards, sterilizing the equipment and practicing good hygiene. Breastfeeding or not, seriously, this is a minimum. Avoid infection by going to a clean, licensed, reputable shop. They should have an autoclave, single-use inks, gloves, and needles. Look them up on review sites and check with the local department of health to see if they comply with health code standards.
- My health was in my hands, if I followed the protocol for aftercare I would further reduce any risk of infection or possible harm to me and Sugarbaby. I followed Colin’s directions exactly and not only did I not have any issues, using the Motherlove Tatto Care, I healed surprisingly fast and with almost no flaking or peeling.
- Tattoos have been a part of various cultures for a very long time and is legally supported. Some tattoo artists may refuse to give a breastfeeding mother a tattoo but no major recognized medical body (such as the AAP or WHO) have issued warnings against the practice. I felt history and science indicated that it was a safe choice for me. The considerations put forth in this article were helpful.
- I don’t tend to have allergies so I wasn’t personally worried that I was likely to have an allergic reaction to the ink.
Tattoos aren’t for everyone and some who may want a tattoo may still feel more comfortable waiting until their nursling has weaned. For me going through with my ink dream is something I’m incredibly glad I did knowing the risk was almost nothing.
I promised a giveaway.
And now… you can get a tattoo and take care of it too! Motherlove Herbal Company is giving away their Tattoo Care to 3 lucky Leakies. I used Motherlove Tattoo Care from the very beginning as part of my aftercare regimen. Colin had instructed me to keep the area moist, not letting it dry out by rubbing in Motherlove Tattoo Care several times a day. It worked like a charm. Motherlove Tattoo Care is made with certified organic ingredients, handcrafted in Colorado using the same tried and true organic ingredients that have been trusted in other Motherlove products for over 20 years. This thoughtful formulation of herbs provides optimal moisturizing and healing properties, yet retains a consistency that is comfortable to apply. Unlike petroleum based products, Motherlove Tattoo Care allows the skin to breathe, promotes quicker healing, and allows ink to fully penetrate the skin.
We’re also giving away a 2 hour session with Colin Kolker at Chroma Collective Tattoo Co. in Parker, Colorado (outside Denver). One lucky Leaky will win a 2-hour custom tattoo session at Chroma Collective Tattoo Co. in Parker, Colorado with artist Colin Kolker. Value: $300 but no cash value. Gift Certificate will be mailed to winner or can be picked up at the shop. Some restrictions apply. If the piece is more detailed/larger, the winner will be responsible to pay any remaining difference. If the tattoo takes less than 2 hours, the remaining balance cannot be rolled over into a second tattoo/session- good for one session only. Colin is booked pretty solid but has a few availabilities in Sept/Oct and on so there could be a wait time for an appointment. Must be 18+ and the winner is responsible for their own transportation to and from the Parker, Colorado shop location.