Saturday, October 27, 2007
I've gotten several hits from searches about tattoos while nursing, and I've also had many people ask me personally if it is safe to be inked while breastfeeding, so I thought I would post some helpful links. I researched thoroughly before I decided to go ahead with it, just in case anyone reading was wondering about that. And yes, my artist knows I am breastfeeding. ;)
Ultimately it is a personal decision and I know both moms who waited until they were done nursing and also those, like me, who felt safe having it done with a nursling still at home. Hopefully this info will help anyone who still may be on the fence about it.
"There is no evidence that getting a tattoo will affect breastfeeding. There should be no harm to mom or baby from the dyes injected. If you get a tattoo, the biggest concern for anyone (not just nursing moms) is infection (hepatitis or HIV)-- so make sure the place you go has good references and is clean."
La Leche League FAQ on Tattoos and Breastfeeding
"Tattoos are created by injecting ink into the dermal (second and third) layer of the skin. Tattooists use a hand-held electric machine that is fitted with solid needles coated in the ink. The needles enter the skin hundreds of times a minute to a depth of up to a few millimeters. The ink that is used in tattoos in the United States is subject to FDA regulation as cosmetics, but none are approved for injection under the skin. However, the ink molecules are too large to pass into breastmilk.
General information about tattooing also applies to breastfeeding women. Local and systemic infections are the most prevalent risks of tattooing. Local infections can occur when the recommended aftercare regimen is not followed. Aftercare includes keeping the tattoo clean with mild soap and water, not picking at the scabs and keeping the tattoo out of the sun. Tylenol is often prescribed for the pain, if needed. Systemic infections occur when universal precautions are not followed by the tattoo artist and can include such diseases as hepatitis, tetanus and HIV.
It is very important to screen the tattooist and the shop carefully, checking with the local health department for local laws and regulations. Professional tattooists will follow universal precautions such as sterilization of the tattoo machine using an autoclave, single-use inks, ink cups, gloves and needles, bagging of equipment to avoid cross contamination, and thorough hand washing with disinfectant soap. Most tattooists will not knowingly tattoo a pregnant or breastfeeding mother. It is suggested that mothers wait at least until the child's first birthday to give their bodies a chance to recover completely from childbirth before getting a tattoo."
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