Q&A: Can I get a tattoo while breastfeeding?

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Q&A: Can you get a tattoo while breastfeeding? | Mum's Grapevine

Motherhood is a rite of passage, so it’s little wonder that getting a tattoo after becoming a mum has become a popular way to mark the journey. But is getting a tattoo while breastfeeding safe?

We’ve had a look at the research, and there are a few things to weigh up when making the decision to get a tattoo while still breastfeeding your child.

Is it ok to get a tattoo while breastfeeding? I really want to get one but not sure if it’s safe to get now while I’m breastfeeding or if I should wait?

Carol, Mum's Grapevine Group Member

According to the Australian Breastfeeding Association getting a tattoo at any time (including when pregnant) increases the risk of infection.

Health risks of getting a tattoo while breastfeeding

Can you get a tattoo while breastfeeding? | Mum's Grapevine

Bacterial infections can be transmitted while getting a tattoo, but the ABA says this risk can be reduced by making sure only single-use pigments are used.

The ABA points out serious viruses like Hepatitis B or C and HIV can be transmitted during tattooing if the equipment isn’t cleaned and sterilised properly between users. For breastfeeding mums, the main concern is that HIV can be transmitted via breastmilk. It’s worth noting that according to the Centre for Disease Control in the USA, there haven’t been any documented reports of HIV transmission through tattooing since records were first kept in 1985.

In Australia, laws relating to tattooing are different in each state and territory, but Better Health advises you should always choose a tattooist whose business is registered with their local council.

The ABA’s advice is that while the risk of getting an infection from a tattoo is low if you’re going to a registered and reputable parlour, there is nonetheless a risk that you need to weigh up as a breastfeeding mum. The best advice is to speak to your own GP before booking in for a tattoo while breastfeeding.

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