Can I get a tattoo while breastfeeding?

Tattoos can be fun and addicting. Some mothers like to get the name of their child tattooed to their skin. But one must remember, anything that is applied to the skin is absorbed and goes into your body anyway. You may want to do your homework before you decide if it’s okay to proceed with a tattoo.

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. The ink molecules are too large to pass into breastmilk (1a).

The ink used for tattoos will be safe, as it primarily stays in the skin and does not get into the circulation. The needles used for the tattoo may pose a very small risk of transmitting hepatitis C. Recent research shows that a larger, multicolored tattoo poses a higher risk than small black tattoos. Another study showed that the risk of contracting hepatitis is actually higher during a dentist visit than while getting a tattoo, so this subject remains controversial (2a).

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 (1b).

In conclusion, is it not 100% sure that everything will go smoothly. It is not an emergency to get a tattoo. Your baby’s health is top priority.