Last update Dec. 23, 2021


Likely Compatibility

Fairly safe. Mild or unlikely adverse effects. Compatible under certain circumstances. Follow-up recommended. Read Commentary.

Tattooing must meet all known safety and hygiene standards and be performed in licensed professional tattoo shops to avoid transmission of Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, HIV and other infections (MedlinePlus 2020, LLLi2019, Wong 2008, Millner 2001). As a safety measure, blood banks and many human milk banks do not accept donation of biological products until that a 4 to 12 months period has elapsed after tattooing (Roche 2015, Karp 2010).

Although there have been no published complications in infants of mothers who have undergone tattoo sessions during breastfeeding (Kluger 2018, 2015 & 2012), some authors suggest abstaining from the tattooing procedure until the end of breastfeeding. (Rademeyer 2020, Farley 2019, LLLi 2019, Kluger 2018, 2015 & 2012, Roche 2015)

Cadmium (yellow), Carbon or iron (black), Cinnabar, cadmium, iron or mercury (red), Cobalt (blue), Chromium or Cooper (green), Iron or Ochre (brown), Manganesum or aluminium (violet), Titanium or Zinc (white), plastics, Formaldehyde, diluent/solvents, contaminants (Nickel, antimony, arsenic), nanoparticles and some carcinogens are products used as dyes and pigments for tattooing. (Rademeyer 2020)

Although dyes and pigments used for tattooing may pose a risk for toxicity are kept under skin that prevents them from entering into blood stream. This is the reason for what an old tattoo or a new one done while breastfeeding is not contraindicated, provided that best standards of safety and sanitation are followed to warrant the prevention of infectious disease transmission. Many tattoo professionals refuse to tattoo while pregnant or breastfeeding. (LLLi 2019)

Creams used for anesthetic, antiseptic or anti-inflammatory purposes before or after tattooing are compatible with breastfeeding, so as Paracetamol or Ibuprofen used for pain relief.

There is a risk of distortion of the tattoo applied to the breast due to the distension of the skin due to the increase in breast volume that occurs during pregnancy and lactation.(Kluger 2010)

Tattoos on the nipple should be avoided since it poses a risk for swallowing of dyes that may be toxic.

Hide a tattoo with make-up or cover-up is compatible with breastfeeding. Removal by Laser-ray may disaggregate pigments of tattoo that get into lymph and blood and would be excreted into breast milk that is a reason to prudently wait, depending on the dye to be removed, until breastfeeding is finished.

Suggestions made at e-lactancia are done by APILAM team of health professionals, and are based on updated scientific publications. It is not intended to replace the relationship you have with your doctor but to compound it. The pharmaceutical industry contraindicates breastfeeding, mistakenly and without scientific reasons, in most of the drug data sheets.

Jose Maria Paricio, Founder & President of APILAM/e-Lactancia

Your contribution is essential for this service to continue to exist. We need the generosity of people like you who believe in the benefits of breastfeeding.

Thank you for helping to protect and promote breastfeeding.

José María Paricio, founder of e-lactancia.

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  1. MedlinePlus. Piercing and Tattoos. Trusted Health information for you. 2021 Full text (link to original source)
  2. ABA - Australian Breastfeeding Association. Beauty treatments and breastfeeding. None 2021 Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  3. MedlinePlus. Perforaciones y tatuajes. Información de salud para usted. 2020 Full text (link to original source)
  4. Rademeyer C, Farley CL, Van Hoover C. Health Implications and Counseling Considerations for Individuals With Piercings and Tattoos. Nurs Womens Health. 2020 Jun;24(3):210-227. Abstract
  5. Farley CL, Van Hoover C, Rademeyer CA. Women and Tattoos: Fashion, Meaning, and Implications for Health. J Midwifery Womens Health. 2019 Mar;64(2):154-169. Abstract
  6. LLLi. La Leche League int. Tatuajes y lactancia. Tattoos and Breastfeeding. Internet. 2019 Full text (link to original source)
  7. Kluger N, De Cuyper C. A Practical Guide About Tattooing in Patients with Chronic Skin Disorders and Other Medical Conditions. Am J Clin Dermatol. 2018 Apr;19(2):167-180. Abstract
  8. Roche-Paull R. Body Modifications and Breastfeeding: What You Need to Know. J Hum Lact. 2015 Aug;31(3):552-3. Abstract
  9. Kluger N. Contraindications for tattooing. Curr Probl Dermatol. 2015;48:76-87. Abstract Full text (link to original source)
  10. Kluger N. Can a mother get a tattoo during pregnancy or while breastfeeding? Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2012 Abstract
  11. Karp JK, King KE. International variation in volunteer whole blood donor eligibility criteria. Transfusion. 2010 Abstract
  12. Kluger N. Body art and pregnancy. Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2010 Abstract
  13. Wong LP, Chin CK, Low WY, Jaafar N. HIV/AIDS-related knowledge among Malaysian young adults: findings from a nationwide survey. Medscape J Med. 2008 Abstract
  14. Millner VS, Eichold BH 2nd. Body piercing and tattooing perspectives. Clin Nurs Res. 2001 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)

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