“Giving Life While Receiving Art”

You may remember that in the past I posted a pregnant Bree (iam:Wandering_Star). She’s since had her baby, and is back to getting tattooed by Ben of Slave to the Needle in Seattle, nursing baby in tow. If you’re wondering, no, tattooing and nursing is not like nursing and eating spicy food — it has no effect on the child.

Note: Just to be clear, this was done privately and off-shift — nursing babies on mothers getting tattooed are not within shop norms at STTN!

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About Shannon Larratt

Shannon Larratt is the founder of BME (1994) and its former editor and publisher. After a four year hiatus between 2008 and 2012, Shannon is back adding his commentary to ModBlog. It should be noted that any comments in these entries are the opinion of Shannon Larratt and may or may not be shared by BMEzine.com LLC or the other staff or members of BME. Entry text Copyright © Shannon Larratt. Reproduced under license by BMEzine.com LLC. Pictures may be copyright to their respective owners. You can also find Shannon at Zentastic or on Facebook.

122 thoughts on ““Giving Life While Receiving Art”

  1. Aw family outing :D
    the babys all covered in bright lights…love er ly.
    does BMeshop ship to uk btw?

  2. I don’t like the idea of getting tattooed while nursing. Considering the recent Hep scares at local shops, the possibility of transmitting an infectious agent via breastmilk is simply not worth the risk.

  3. Rachel – There’s no heightened Hep risk to the baby from being in the shop (ie. if the mother has Hep, until that baby is immunized, they’re at risk whether they’re in the studio or at home)… I hope you’re not saying that tattooed people should not breast feed because of the dubious “risk” of passing hepatitis via breast milk?

  4. I wonder what kind of audible danger there is for the baby being there. Tattoo machines have a high-frequency, high-amplitude buzz that may not be damaging to our adult ears but could potentially be dangerous for a baby’s developing body. It’s been well known in the industry that tattoo artists through repeated exposure lose the cochlear nerves to hear in that high range. Could this be accelerated in an infant?

  5. That is ridiculous. What if the mother dropped the baby, it could get a tattoo gun across the face and could end up with some early facial tattoos. Also, I hope she hasn’t got her nip pierced otherwise the little thing could either damage her gums or worse still swallow the nipple ring whole. Gulp.

  6. I think it’s very insulting to think she would just carelessly drop her baby, or not consider the risks which could impact her child.

  7. Shannon, what I meant was that there is a risk while the tattoo is healing. If she gets an infection, it could be passed along to the baby through the milk. It doesn’t seem unlikely considering the lack of a clip-chord cover, face mask, machine cover, who-knows-what-else.

    “Giving boob while receiving noob tattoob”

  8. i have to agree with Rachel in the sense that i wouldnt advise someone to get work done (piercing or tattoo) while breast feeding. not only would there be the risk of passing something on to the child through breast milk on the VERY SLIM chance something was contracted via the tattoo/piercing, but wont healing the tattoo/piercing will also take nurishment away from the milk the body is producing? not to mention the toll it will take on your body to both heal a tattoo/piercing AND produce breast milk at the same time?

  9. Todd – Take away nourishment? Sorry, thats kind of ridiculous. Breastfeeding requires a decent amount of energy but your body will definitely be able to breast feed and heal a minor abrasion. The human body is remarkably capable of doing many things at once.

  10. Shannon: I am not suggesting tattooed people shouldn’t breastfeed. I’m suggesting that breastfeeding mothers shouldn’t get tattooed. Attempting to make it look like I said anything about the child being IN the shop, is ridiculous. Nor did I mention anything about a mother with pre-existing hepatitis.

    “On the basis of the limited available information, the safety of breastfeeding has not been satisfactorily established. Mothers who wish to breastfeed should be given all available information in order to make an informed decision.”

    It’s about making informed decisions regarding ones child. Stating that “it has no effect on the child” is irresponsible. If someone contracted any contagious disease while getting tattooed and passed it on to their child, you can bet they would have wished they had that information.

  11. I feel that, as the manager of STTN, I should chime in here and just clarify that Bree works at Slave to the Needle and that this was done privately and off shift. This isn’t something we normally do at the shop.

  12. It is amazing how people can take a picture that is so lovely and expressive and rip the hell out it. Yes there are safety concerns which I wouldn’t be surprised the mother was well aware of. But whatever happened to enjoying the picture for what it represents?
    Think on this walking out your front door you risk your child getting sick and shock of shocks that in include contagious diseases. Remember we just have a picture to look at and not the whole story behind it.

  13. Rachel – Sorry, the entry is a picture of someone getting tattooed while nursing, so when you said you didn’t like the idea of someone “getting tattooed while nursing”, I assumed you were referring to the content of this entry, rather than an all-out statement saying that people who have babies in their lives that they are breastfeeding should not be getting tattooed.

    Where do you draw the line though? Would you also recommend, for example, that they avoid going to the dentist, since dentists offices are responsible for far more documented cases of hepatitis than tattoo studios?

    I think that the risks that bobblue or bfree raise are far more reasonable than extreme, extreme long shot issues like “what if they get hepatitis”… I mean, really, if we’re going to worry about long shots like hepatitis from tattooing, we should probably tell people with babies not to go out in the rain lest they get hit by lightning.

  14. Thanks, it was a special arrangement made for Bree because she’s “part of the family”. I just don’t want the general public thinking they can bring their children into the shop, or get tattooed while holding them for that matter.

  15. I think this is beautiful. And, nursing with nipple piercings (barbells) is just fine. Hundreds of years ago women who had inverted nipples would get them pierced so that they COULD breast feed.

    Lovely picture.

  16. I am in love with this picture. Breastfeeding is definitely a *zen* in itself.
    As for the remark “but wont healing the tattoo/piercing will also take nurishment away from the milk the body is producing? not to mention the toll it will take on your body to both heal a tattoo/piercing AND produce breast milk at the same time?”
    That’s like saying women who have had a C-section shouldn’t breastfeed. As long as mommy as eating healthy.. all should be well ;)

  17. actually its nothing like saying that.

    a c-section is about as uncontrolable as tearing during birth.

    and again it wasnt a remark or a statement. it was an honest question that i curious about. i was asking if there was any connection and if it was possible that that could happen.

  18. I’m not making any statements about Bree or STTN. I think that the photo itself is nice. It’s the photo in context with the statement that “it has no effect on the child”. Obviously tattooing yourself, would not effect the child directly.

    I’m saying that it’s inappropriate to say that “tattooing and nursing is not like nursing and eating spicy food — it has no effect on the child.”

    Please refrain from belittling my post by trying to turn what I said into an outlandish statement.

    Going to the dentist as a medical necessity far outweighs getting tattooed. That argument is irrelevant.

  19. That is such a beautiful picture, she is such a lucky woman. Breastfeeding is such an amazing, bonding experience, and now she can forever look at that tattoo and remember what she was doing at the time…*sigh*

  20. Rachel – I’m not trying to belittle your post, but I do believe that telling people who are breastfeeding that they should avoid tattoo shops because of the risk of hepatitis is somewhat outrageous, and only a very small step away from saying that people who intend on having children should wait until after having kids to get tattooed.

    As I’m sure you know, the reality is that at a modern tattoo studio that adheres to health codes, the risk of hepatitis and other bloodborne pathogens being passed between customers is EXTREMELY low, and certainly the risk is a tiny fraction of the more significant risks that we don’t even think about — such as getting hit by lighting, or, less facetiously, having one’s child killed or maimed by a household pet.

  21. That photograph is absolutely beautiful. And is that baby wearing bummis cloth diapers? Awesome!

    There is a lot of ignorance in this country when it comes to breastfeeding. Healing a tattoo, or any minor injury, would not take away from the nutritional content of the milk. The amount of calories, and most vitamins, is remarkably stable regardless of how many calories the nursing mother is consuming or expending. Studies by they WHO that have determined that, even in famine conditions, a woman can still produce nutritionally sound breastmilk.

  22. Smurf666 – I highly doubt she is breast-feeding with a nipple ring in. It’s simply a matter of removing the jewelry prior to feeding. Yes, there are a couple extra holes for the milk to come out of, but that’s all.

    And on a separate note – I love this picture. The baby is absolutely gorgeous.

  23. Let me rephrase my last post… I checked her IAM, and her nipple piercings are retired, so that’s obviously not an issue anymore.

  24. Some hep- hep c for instance doesn’t transfer thru milk, actually many buggies wont pass thru milk- living organisms generally don’t.. some infections can transfer via contact (like thrush) but her nip isn’t being tattooed.
    Since baby is hooked up to a constant source of human anti-bodies even if mom got an infection, it would only mean her body would go into over drive producing anti-bodies which baby would receive and give this little person a greater chance of fighting certain infections in their own life time.

    The risk of infection from a tattoo is fairly low though, there is much we do in every day life that would carry more risk and while many still choose not to nurse it is safe, and to whom ever asked- a momma has plenty to make milk and fight the bugs we get exposed to day to day.
    The benefits of breastfeeding and the minimal amount of risk from tattooing, i think it is great.
    Beyond “great” it is a wonderful reminder that breastfeeding is NOT a kin to sacrificing your body.

    Anything that helps remind the populace that breastfeeding is a beautiful normal part of life is a plus in my books.

  25. i have nothing to add other than it’s a pretty photo, but i do have a question: how is eating spicy food bad if you are breatfeeding? this might be common knowledge and i’m sorry if it’s stupid, but i’ve never heard of it before.

  26. Shannon: I mentioned Hep only in reference to the recent outbreaks in the news. Obviously there are other contagious diseases that can be transferred via milk.

    There are clearly other factors at play and it is safer to make decisions based on the “lowest common denominator” and not pretend like everyone goes to a quality tattoo shop.

    I would not get tattooed while I was nursing. That is me. I would put my child before my need to get tattooed as nursing doesn’t last a lifetime.

    The only thing outrageous is you saying “they should avoid tattoo shops because of the risk” when clearly, avoiding a tattoo shop and getting tattooed are two different things.

    hawkfeather: Please back up your claim that infectious diseases are not transmittable via breast milk. The studies from February of 2008 that I read before quoting suggested that it is unknown at what rate and likelyhood the various types of Hep pass through milk and if other contagious illness can be spread, such as HIV.

  27. Rachel – You’ve backpeddled your initial post so much that I’m a little unclear on exactly what you believe the REASON is that people who are breastfeeding shouldn’t be getting tattooed.

    Really, this is putting the child at no meaningful risk, and implying that she’s a bad mother for doing this seems like an unfair and emotional knee-jerk response, rather that something sourced from an actual understanding of tattooing.

    …and in terms demanding that people “back up their claims”, I think you ought to drop this completely ridiculous — and offensive to any tattoo professional — fear mongering that there’s some sort of hepatitis outbreak in tattoo studios unless you can back it up.

  28. Sade, anything a mother eats will be transferred to the baby thru the milk. Spicy foods can give the baby a tummy ache and/or gas. Not a good thing. There are several things nursing moms are advised to stay away from.

  29. Rachel-
    Breastfeeding might not last a lifetime, but it does last several years, which is a long time to tell a woman that she has to put her life on hold. One of the reasons that many woman give up nursing so soon is because they are told that they can’t get tattooed, they can’t get pierced, they can’t have a beer with dinner, they can’t eat spicy foods, etc, etc.

    There are definitely things that you shouldn’t do while breastfeeding like taking non-prescribed drugs or nursing drunk, but getting tattooed is not one of them.

    Don’t imply that a nursing mother is being selfish just because she wants to continue living a full, fun, and happy life.

  30. I wonder what people would say to a chickie getting her ears pierced with a gun while breastfeeding ;)

  31. esther- I know very few Western women who breastfeed for “several years”. Hell, I know VERY few who BF past age 1.

  32. Sade-
    Some babies are quite sensitive to the foods that the mother eats, dairy, spicy foods, chocolate, citrus, and some veggies can cause gas or stomach upset. But it depends on the child. My son has never had a negative reaction from anything I have eaten, and I eat a lot of spicy food. There are very few foods that a woman has to completely avoid while nursing, and those are mostly fish or seafood that tend to contain high levels of mercury.

  33. Got nothing against Slave To The Needle (Ben, David, Crew,etc) from what I’ve seen, heard,etc they are all pretty darn awesome.

    However it is customarily known that a breast-feeding mother should not receive any tattoos/piercings in around 3-6 months of the babies life, while breast-feeding,etc. In fact at APP last year it was even argued/mentioned that it should be longer, ie: not until the mother is done breast-feeding.

    I wouldn’t be so much worried about blood splatter radius’ and the baby being introduced to anything harmful to it…Since it was after hours and the tattoo was obviously done in a clean establishment with nobody else getting tattooed….So the chances of Hep, MRSA, whatever being passed onto the baby is a mute point.

    My only concern is that although Slave To The Needle and shops worldwide have a policy against what’s being shown in the picture…Yet with the publication of the picture, it sends a message of prejudice to the women who are breastfeeding…”We won’t tattoo you because you’re breast-feeding, but we’ll tattoo family who are

    I’m not having a go at David, Ben, Bree,etc as I said I respect Slave To The Needle GREATLY…But I believe rules are rules…You either follow them or you don’t, especially when it comes to this type of rule…But that’s my personal opinion/thought.

    esther: In the grand scheme of things “life isn’t put on hold”…Our bodies aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, unless we love to “live life dangerously” and putting our lives at jeopardy. But I personally believe when a woman gives birth to a child, the mother and father need to look to their child FIRST before their own personal gains.

    Much like if you get a job that has anti-visible piercing policies in place…You have the CHOICE to take the job and remove your piercings, or not take the job and keep your piercings…Just like pregnancy, you have a choice to have a baby or not. Abortions, Adoptions, Practicing Safe Sex or Abstinence,etc.

  34. Warren – “Customarily known”, eh???

    If you’re going to make this claim, and back it up with an APP stamp of approval, please give a reason. How is this “living dangerously” or “putting life in jeopardy”? I’d love to hear a theory as to WHY you believe this.

  35. lactation consultant here – I don’t think that’s any more of a big deal than taking a baby to Target – might be more pathogens at Target. You might drop the baby on the train! don’t go on public transportation!

    What I’m not getting is WHY is it so important that this was done after normal working hours. Fear of a breastfeeding baby?

  36. hekatsesal – Well, on the whole, yes — I think that in the West we’re exposed less and less and less to breastfeeding, and people are incredibly uptight about it and it’s actually developed a negative stigma for many…

    I agree that taking your baby to Target is more dangerous.

  37. All in all, I think that it’s up to the individual mother to choose whether or not to take a given risk. Some mothers would happily get tattooed while breastfeeding, and at the same time eschew plastic toys or veggies grown with pesticides or disposible diapers. It doesn’t mean that none of these things carry a risk, just that there’s no one right answer and it’s up to each parent to make that cost-benefit analysis. I’m under the impression that is what Rachel was saying in the first place; that it’s naiive to claim that there is NO risk and that she herself wouldn’t do it.

  38. Shannon: Read what I said…I clearly stated it was NOT living dangerously or putting life in jeopardy.

    If that tattoo was done during business hours and in a place that DIDN’T have the rep like Slave To The Needle has, that’s “living dangerously” and “putting life in jeopardy”

    And when I say customarily known I mean when you walk into a studio with an infant they’re simply not allowed anywhere near the procedure room, not that it has any ill effects on the child or anything.

    Although one can definitely argue that from birth to within the first 3-6 months the babies immune system is still not at full strength…If I remember the medical professional that was performing the class…The “until your done breast-feeding” comment was made by a non-medical professional, so I’d say that was more “being cautious”

    but again like I said Slave To The Needle is a very clean shop, and it was done after hours, so no serious problems should have occurred.

    As I said my only problem with the picture is that it came with the tag: “This is not the norm” as it displays a prejudice view towards other nursing mothers.

    Please don’t selectively pick what I said and mis-communicate it the way you did as it literally was picking 3 small portions of a statement and piecing them together, as that was clearly not what I said.

  39. what a sweet pic. i’ve nursed while getting tattoed tons of times. i also eat spicy food almost every day, i like to live on the edge.

  40. For those that want the information to be made known here:

    What is the APP POSITION ON Body Art During Pregnancy?

    It is advisable to refrain from undergoing any and all body art procedures during a pregnancy, even just an ear lobe stretch. It is best to let your body focus on the important, complex and demanding task that it is handling already.

    What is the APP POSITION ON Body Art Following Pregnancy?

    We suggest that a three month waiting period be observed following delivery in order for the body to normalize and regain physiological and hormonal equilibrium before piercing.

    Further, we suggest that a longer period be observed prior to nipple piercing. It is advisable and prudent to wait three months following the cessation of breast milk production before piercing of the nipples.

    What is the APP POSITION ON Body Piercing During Nursing?

    With the exception of a 3-month post-partum delay we do not find it contraindicated to receive piercings (with the obvious exception of the nipples) during nursing. The body is not under the same type of demands as during pregnancy.

    Further, we suggest that a longer period be observed prior to nipple piercing. It is advisable and prudent to wait three months following the cessation of breast milk production before piercing of the nipples.

    mothragirl: all things aside I think its a “sweet” or “tranquil” picture as well.. *nods*

  41. I love this picture! Its lovely! People still have this thing against seeing a nursing mother, let alone it being a picture of a mother nursing while getting tattooed. Its time to get over it! I have friends who nursed their babies until they were 3 and in the meantime got pregnant again and continued nursing their 2nd baby for 3 years as well. Does that mean that mother shouldnt get tattooed for 6 years? People put their babies in shopping carts at the grocery store, which is far more germ infested and disgusting than anything I see in that picture!

  42. my personal belief Gaylin hun, is, no they shouldn’t wait 6 years…But waiting from first knowledge of pregnancy until 3 months after giving birthday, isn’t that bad of a time frame. Heck there are artists out there who’s waiting list is longer than that time frame.

  43. also willing to point out the childs age is not mentioned so if its 3 months or older then I absolutely and honestly have zero problems with whats goin on in the picture and all the arguments against it is unwarranted.

    never had arguments to begin with,etc other then the statement of “its not the norm” as it can be viewed as a prejudice act and open the shop(s) up for a lawsuit, especially if there’s no problem with doing said mods…When I say that, like I said, its a issue with offering the service to a select few but not open to all. Especially in lawsuit happy America.

  44. rubbish argument going on here gee who wouldn’t be thrilled to have such an awesum looking mum? It’s usually the overly cautious/protective parents who’s kids have the most accidents/sicknesses.
    Oh and I’m wondering how that butterfly on her belly (old picture)turned out after she had the baby, did she get it done while pregnant or before and did it keep it’s shape well after the pregnancy…or was it a temporary tatto?

  45. Warren, you say “However it is customarily known that a breast-feeding mother should not receive any tattoos/piercings in around 3-6 months of the babies life, while breast-feeding,etc. In fact at APP last year it was even argued/mentioned that it should be longer, ie: not until the mother is done breast-feeding.”

    You also backed it up with the APP’s highly questionable suggestion that a woman shouldn’t get piercings for three months after having a kid, and said that you agree with it. So I don’t feel like I’m putting words in your mouth here by drawing the conclusion that you’re saying what’s pictured here a bad idea.

    I’d like to know what the *REASON* is that you believe that a woman who’s breastfeeding (or even in the first three months) is either unable to heal a modification and/or is putting the child at risk in any way. Because I don’t believe there is such a reason. I really think that when this prejudice is being spread under an “APP” banner, or a piercing shop “staff” banner, and so on, it’s doing everyone a disservice.

    Obviously I agree that getting nipple piercings during this period is a bad idea both because of physical changes in the nipples and constant abuse, but that’s not what we’re talking about here.

  46. some people made a right wee fuss about this!!!
    having a baby in the first place is a big responsibilty,doesnt it pass your mind that the mother wud have done a lil bit of research and felt comfortable with the situation before going ahead with it?
    its NOT a big deal,childern are far too over protected these days,often slight exposure to different risks can be highly benificial to childs development in early life.

  47. I feel bad for the kids ears, Tattoo machines are quite loud and the last time I sat through a piece I had some tinnitus flare up from the constant buzzing.

  48. I just noticed that this image was posted, otherwise I would have responded much sooner. First of all, I made SURE there was no risk to my baby prior to getting tattooed (via le leche league and other sources). Breast milk is antibacterial and antimicrobial and even if I was to somehow get an infection from the tattoo (oh how I love to roll in the mud while healing fresh ink) it would not enter into the breast milk, nor would any antibiotics I would need to take. My daughter is almost 2 now and I am still breastfeeding and have gotten several more tattoos with no adverse results (although I no longer nurse while tattooing due to the wiggle factor). Also, I must state that although both Ben and I work for STTN, this session was done at Ben’s house and not at the shop. Since he and I are both updated in our blood-borne pathogens training we were well aware of any and all risks.

  49. I would like to point out a few things, myself, being Bree’s husband, and Violet’s father.

    * Violet has heard the droning buzz of tattoo machines since before she was born. Bree worked at the shop while pregnant for a few months before taking leave. This noise is something Violet enjoys and is soothing. It is to me, as well!

    * You people should read a book or two about breastfeeding and the resilience of breast-milk, being anti-biotic, anti-microbial, anti-fungal not only internally boosting the immune system, but ON CONTACT. Do some research, fools.

    * As mentioned before, you could pull up any number of articles on the subject of HEP and AIDS epidemiology online (it will take you two minutes of searching and screening so don’t get lazy), and you would then be assured that breast-feeding doesn’t often transfer many bugs or germs if this natured. I am simply amazed that we live in the “information age” and so many savvy computer users are so mis-informed.

    * Shannon, you rule for posting this, pressing buttons, and giving us the potential of debate to open some eyes. This is Bree’s form of activism, and I support it wholly. Haters should seriously educate themselves and not give into American propaganda.

  50. As to the comment concerning how the machines may be too loud for the baby and unsafe for the ears. You ever hear how loud the heartbeat and digestion process inside the pregnant mother is? To a baby, it is loud, and constant, and soothing. When Violet was this age, (yes, we approximate 3-4 months old in this photo), she loved the sound of vacuum cleaners and it would put her to sleep.

    Tattoo machines aren’t that loud, and if the ones you have been worked on by are loud enough to cause ear discomfort, perhaps you should seriously think about going to another artist.

    Last thing.
    The word “tattoo” was one of Violet’s first words! It was one of her first five words, and she knew full-well what it meant at that time as well.

  51. I’d love to see some scientific studies to back up the claim about tattoos not having any possible effects while you’re breastfeeding because the APP or anyone working in the mod community don’t have:
    1) The knowledge to judge if it’s safe or it isn’t (being a tattoo artist/piercing doesn’t make you a biologist)
    2) Access to equipment to analyze the milk the mothers are feeding their babies to see if the tattoo changes it’s content in any way

    Claiming without citing your source that “no, tattooing and nursing [...]has no effect on the child.” is clearly irresponsible. I could go out and claim that “eating spicy food while nursing has no effect on the child” without backing it up because I’m pro spicy food and some people would still believe me because we’re used to receive information without asking ourselves where this information came from. So as far as I’m concerned I will stay in the “better safe than sorry” camp as long as I don’t have any medical studies showing that getting tattooed while nursing won’t affect the baby.

  52. MatLax – Give me a break. “Better safe than sorry” is a wishy-washy meaningless statement.

    Do you have an actual valid concern, or are you just saying “what if”, without having any idea whatsoever what “if” might be??? You can play that game endlessly and run yourself in circles forever.

  53. To add to the discussion about noise (And to Matthew/bloody.water’s argument), Dr. Harvey Karp , author of “The Happiest Baby on The Block” actually ADVOCATES the use of loud, white noise to calm and soothe your baby.

    The sound of blood rushing through the mother’s body while the baby is still inside is louder than that of a vacuum cleaner. It registers in at between 80 and 90 decibels. Babies often find noises such as a vacuum cleaner or hair dryer (or a tattoo machine) to be very soothing.

    Also, babies don’t hear perceive these sounds to be as loud as we do. According to Dr. Karp, “…her middle ears are waterlogged with fluid, the ear canals absorb sound and are plugged with waxy vernix, and she has thick, inefficient ear drums.” (p. 141, “The Happiest Baby on The Block”) This lasts until the baby is about 3 or 4 months old.

    Speaking from personal experience, the sound of a tattoo machine was, and still is, very soothing to my baby.

  54. My concern is that you insert ink in your body and it can actually react badly to it (allergic reaction, infection…) and also may you want it or not, some ink will get inside your blood even if you’re not penetrating big blood vessels while getting tattooed… I’m sorry Shannon but I have to take your answer as a proof that it was a blind statement when you said that getting tattooed won’t have any effects on the child…

  55. MatLax – Are you serious??????

    Tattoo ink does not get into your blood and end up in breast milk. That’s simply not the way the body works…!

    Even if your body somehow dispersed the ink, it would be absorbed by the lymphatic system, and still wouldn’t end up in breast milk.

  56. I don’t really understand where all the discussion about her having nipple piercings while breastfeeding came up, because there are no nipple piercings showing in this photo…. Other than that, it’s a great photo & I hope the mother/father remember to show it to their child later on in it’s life… It’s one of those things that could either be meaningful or is just good to keep in mind as a sentiment. Modifiying oneself is a beautiful thing, and to share it with family is beautiful, too. I hope they keep up the sharing throughout their and their child’s lives.

  57. The whole nipple-piercing comment made was from a Breastfeeding Mother who responded that in addition to these comments supporting the actions in the photo, she herself had breast-fed with pierced nipples, without issue. At no point did Bree or myself say she had nipple piercings in this photo, and was assumed out-of-context.

    Bree removed hers before she had given birth.

    Sounds like MatLax needs to go back to 9th grade biology. Or like i said, just do a tiny bit of web-surfing.

  58. It’s interesting to me that everyone who has a problem with this seem to be those without children, whereas all the mamas are giving support and positive feedback. This alone should speak for itself!

  59. Oh it’s only a basic thing you learn in school that you should back up what you say with serious studies otherwise what you say is pretty much worth nothing… I’m seriously more concerned about information being given without any source than about the tattoo thing because it happens quite often that I read stuff posted here (not talking about the commentaries) that after reading I wonder if it’s true medical fact or not.

  60. Bree: if all the moms on the earth said that eating spicy food while nursing won’t do anything to the baby it wouldn’t make it a fact, that’s the difference between a fact and a belief.

  61. Reading above, I’m sure the child finds the buzzing soothing, but it doesn’t change the fact the buzzing is at a dB level loud enough that prolonged exposure can cause damage to the ears in an adult, let alone in a developing child.

    I don’t mean it in a harsh way, I’m just concerned as the buzzing caused me to experience some tinnitus. I’ll be wearing some plugs during my next session!


  62. When my daughter Electra was 4months old, i get tattooed. The first hours the nurse be with us, but she end her hours and my tattoo was not finished in that time.
    Then Electra, come to my arms, to get breadding. Quite, just one light on the tattoo, so calming and happy…was a great sensation for me..so proud to share with my dear daugther the awsome sensation to get tattooed.something she lives till now like normal.
    ..and the best.. SHE IS ALIVE AND SAVE!! – jajaja
    ..its not bad do it, if u do it in a safe place (whit childs or not, u need do that anyway)


  63. I doubt this baby is going to go deaf because of a tattoo machine or drink tattoo ink from mommy’s boob!!


    Even if you all could make decisions for all the people that you judge, it already happened. Deal.

  64. Funny you should talk about evidence like that, MatLax, because, uh, actually there’s no evidence that “spicy foods” affect a nursing baby one bit. SOME babies are allergic to foods in their mamas’ diets and react because of that but barring true allergies, the food mom eats doesn’t affect baby beyond flavor change in the milk.

    And I would just LOVE to see you back up your assertion that ink can magically travel through the epidermis, into the bloodstream and out through breastmilk. Jesus.

  65. And where are my manners? That’s such an absolutely wonderful pic!

    Bree, did you notice that nursing during changed your perception of the sensations at all?

  66. MatLax – Give us a break… If you want to propose something as patently foolish and completely unsupported by biology as the risk of tattoo ink entering the bloodstream in such voluminous quantity that it contaminates breast milk, I think that the onus is on you to back it up, not the reverse!!!!

  67. And it’s not like “biology” and the medical field do research that is netural when it comes to tattoos and piercings…Isn’t the “tramp stamp” amniocentecis myth still going around? How many people have horror stories about hospital staff treating them badly because of mods? Don’t you think a lot of biomedical people doing reserach might have the same prejudices?

    This is just to say that medicine is not a neutral abirtrer of all that is ‘safe’, or a good idea. And if you are beliving medical studies, than maybe you should take a look at the ones that find that breastmilk is hands down the best food for infants. Or the ones that find toxic chemicals in formula milk. People with “better safe than sorry” mantras make life hell for breastfeeding mothers and make them stop breasfeeding early, when the it is known that the best and safest thing for the baby is breastmilk!

    All these medical risks…is healing a tattoo really any more onerous on the body than healing a scrape of a similar size? Maybe nursing women shouldn’t ride a bike, or skateboard or do anything until they are done nursing because they might get an infection from the scrape which might…well i don’t know how this infection is supposed to hurt the baby.

    Thanks Shannon for posting a nice breastfeeding picture here. I guess we learned that modified breastfeeding is still a bit too radical for modblog readers.

  68. MatLax-
    “The possibility of the ink migrating into the mother’s blood plasma and then into the milk-making cells of the breast is negligible, according to Frank Nice, RPh.” information from the La Leche League website

    Why don’t you try fact checking your ridiculous claims before spouting them off.

  69. Well thank you esther, now I have a source, as I said before it’s way too easy to claim things on the internet without anything proving you right but I guess that from the reaction of most people I should just stop questioning what I read and believe everything I see… But I guess that if everyone did that we would still believe in humoralism (and I think some people might have a bit too much yellow bile humour around here), wouldn’t that be great?

  70. The most that would be transferred to the child in that situation is possibly the endorphins that the body releases to help you cope with the tattooing process, which is likely just as soothing to the baby and not about to cause alarm since they’re the same chemicals released after birth and assist the bonding process.

    And as a side note, I’m due in two weeks and I plan on getting tattooed once I’m feeling back to my old self. I don’t see any risk, and you can call me irresponsible if you want but it won’t do you any good because I’ll still do what I think is right. You just have to leave it at “to each his own” because bitching about it isn’t going to have any effect aside from making everyone get defensive and promote a state of negativity.

  71. fuck babies crawl around on the fucking floor putting weird things in their mouths all the time. women are shot up with demerol while giving birth all the time. both of those things seem far far worse for the baby than its mother getting a tattoo while breastfeeding.

  72. maybe when a baby is breastfeeding the mother shouldnt leave the house, because if you go outside you might catch something and give it to the baby.

  73. MatLax – you claim to be so concerned about medical facts backing up everything you see and read on here, yet seem to make no effort to do any research for yourself before jumping to conclusions and making judgments. Perhaps you should make sure that you have some ground to stand on before you start spouting off your nonsense.
    In response to Kristin – It was so long ago that I don’t specifically remember a change in perception, but nursing always gives off happy loving hormones for both mama and baby, and I love getting tattooed, so it was surely a lovely cocktail of hormones for us both!

  74. another thing. this is exactly like the girl in the shower with cuts “that isnt sanitary” the guy cutting his earlobes off with a scissors “thats not sterile” and now this. its fucking all fine. a lot of people need to just fuck off and stop trying to find something wrong with every fucking picture.

  75. I really feel like this dispute is more about the inclinations of a particular subculture than anything else. The same moms who fear dioxins in disposible diapers may have no problem with this, just as the same people who will get transdermals and tongue splits may cluck their tongues over piercing guns or shitty externally-threaded jewelry or Bactine. I myself pass no judgement either way; just an interesting example of glass houses/throwing stones…

  76. Shannon: I stand by the exact reason the APP gave for it, especially since it was backed up by a medical professional in its classes.

    I may have worded “customarily known” badly…But like I said all along lets have a pregnant woman walk into various studios or contact various studios to ask if she can get tattooed after just having a baby, and that she’d like to breastfeed during the tattoo.

    As you even stated in the entry: “this is not the norm”…So if another pregnant woman, who doesn’t know anyone at Slave To The Needle, see’s this and goes: “Oh Slave To The Needle tattooed a woman who just gave birth! I’m gonna check em out!” Then when she gets there they advise her NOT to do it, what kind of message is that?

    I’ll admit that if these ARE questionable excuses by the APP and they turn up invalid, hey I’ll most certainly change my tune and admit I am wrong…However I will note that with the few pregnant women I know as of late and who are serious book worms, for every ONE book that says certain things are a positive, there’s another book that will say that certain thing is a negative.

    But that’s beside the point and I’m over all that whatever its pointless to bicker and argue…My MAIN concern is that of the Discrimination/Prejudice issue that comes with this type of situation.

    I say if the issues are false claims and the shops that say: “No its better yo wait a few months”…The new mothers should be ready to file discrimination lawsuits

  77. Warren – They’re not sending the message that it’s unhealthy with DAV1D’s clarification, they’re sending the message that they are aware that many people are uncomfortable around breast feeding. It’s a political and business issue, not a health issue.

    Think about the way the body works, and the impact that piercings and tattoos have both procedurally and in terms of healing. Try and forget your gut feeling about breastfeeding, because those are tainted by society’s negative view, even if only subconsciously. Logically you must realize that getting tattooed while breastfeeding is a complete non-issue, and that the APP stance on this is factually in error, with the exception of nipple piercing. A woman who’s given birth is quite able to heal serious injuries — a tattoo is nothing in comparison.

  78. I think it’s a gorgeous picture, and being an older sister to a 3 year old, I’ve watched the things my sister has eaten, listened to, touched etc. and they don’t really compare to this. A busy mall would be quite noisier or at least as noisy as a tattoo machine no? Babies are more resilient than we give them credit and I don’t think a couple of hours near a tattoo machine would have that much of a damaging effect.
    And a c-section and healing a tattoo are comparable to a certain extent. Even though the c-section is involuntary, it’s still something the body has to heal. So either way something’s healing at the same time. Anyhow, everyone has to get over this whole crazy antibacterial kick, that’s why kids have all these damn allergies and shit now. The mother knew what she was doing and wouldn’t have put her baby in a dangerous environment so I think everyone should just back the fuck off and enjoy the picture, since it is quite nice to look at….. Just my two cents.

  79. Tim, Shannon, et al., I totally agree with you.

    And I’m happy for Bree that she got to engage in a soothing and pleasant experience whilst going through a possibly irritating experience – work on the shin. I can imagine that breast-feeding would release some really nice endorphins :)

  80. in that respect Shannon I can definitely see your point about how people are not into public breastfeeding,etc,etc,etc…

    I’m not against breastfeeding, hey babies gotta feed…But I think feeding in public in general weirds me out…I personally don’t feel comfortable in restaurants or anywhere really when eating…I’d much rather eat at home either by making food or ordering in…just a lil quirk I personally got, that’s my cross to bare haha

  81. some of my best friends are breast feeders?..heh

    I don’t want to write a novel here- but I wonder if those outside the situation are really aware of how widely breastfeeding women are discriminated against. That some are in constant battle to advocate for the rights of nursing women- and these threads are simply not new to some.

    Tattoo or not, pictures of nursing women are often the subject of great debate. So are the moms themselves.

    It seems child baring is still at a place where we drop all our beliefs in order to follow the recommendations of the government? The century upon century deep knowledge we have gleaned is null and void because we all need to protect the doctors from potential law suits?

    I respect other’s views- but at the same time when I see conversations like this unfold my concern is that we are promoting the idea that women need to put their lives on hold in order to nurse. When the breastfeeding rates are still pathetically low in western culture the implication seems damning.

    I don’t want to think women need to be encouraged to choose between individuality and breastfeeding their children. I have been nursing my four youngest (of five) children for a collective span of eleven years.

    Motherhood should be celebrated but not because it defines who we are.

    In a community that values the importance of defining one’s self through rite’s of passage I hope people can see this as another aspect of modifying one’s body via natural human growth and development.

    -I never said infectious disease does ‘not’ spread via breast milk- i said hep C does not- nor do MANY pathogens. In fact the baby is jam packed- pumped full of human antibodies.
    Breast milk can fight against infections and even treat them topically. Maybe all studios should have lactating mothers on hand?

    sorry that was so a novel.
    subject close to my heart- literally i guess.

  82. Its crazy how many people who don’t have babies and never read any information on babycare, what you can and can’t do when you have a baby, breastfeeding,… seam to know everything about it! Get a life!

  83. beautiful picture!

    i have gotten tattooed while breastfeeding, and i also nursed the baby while being tattooed (though mostly we took breaks since i wasn’t in a very comfortable position to hold her ;). i also eat spicy foods a lot!

    i got my tattoo during regular opening hours, my baby was in there with me mostly being held by my husband. but then, i’ve nursed her publicly in a lot of places and situations, so that wasn’t such a stretch. the tattoer wasn’t fazed by that at all, but then, this was in brazil, where most people are perfectly fine with public breastfeeding.

    and btw, i am still nursing my almost three year old daughter, and not about to stop either.

  84. Warren Hiller,
    you call your uncomfortableness with public breastfeeding just a lil quirk I personally got”. But it’s not a little quirk. It’s a belief of our society. Until we start seeing these ideas as general rather than as personal we can’t change them. Mother who breastfeed in public still have a real hard time, not just those who breastfeed whille being tattooed.

  85. Slave to the Needle’s policy is clear and you will NEVER see a baby in the “chair.” Never! It is directly against store policy and is not covered by insurance.

    After-hours, special tattoo sessions amongst employees do not need to adhere to public policy.

    If this were normal daily operation then all of this would be justified (well, not all of it…a lot of this is just crap). But it’s not a “normal” occurrence and it isn’t done in view of the public or during normal working hours…

    So quit the judging and fear mongering. Christ on a stick, it sounds like a frickin republican convention in here!

  86. “Warren Hiller,
    you call your uncomfortableness with public breastfeeding just a lil quirk I personally got”. But it’s not a little quirk. It’s a belief of our society.”

    Agreed wintermute. It’s not a “lil quirk”, it’s buy-in to a pathological, misogynistic social method of systematically portraying women’s bodies as acceptable when they are exposed as sex objects for consumers, but not acceptable to be used by women themselves for parenting and sustaining life.

    Although to be fair Warren does seem to be saying that he’s also a little uncomfortable with adult men and women, and himself, eating in public. Which is at least consistent.

  87. I think this picture is really cute, but I have to disagree with something Bree said (sorry!). A friend of mine went on antibiotics to combat pneumonia and was told by her doctor to immediately stop breastfeeding so that the antibiotics wouldn’t go through her breastmilk to her baby.
    Mmkay that’s all. Carry on!

  88. why didn’t they just use antibiotics that are safe for nursing babies-cephalexin, cloxacillin sodium, erythromycin?

    Women are prescribed antibiotics to treat mastitis all the time- an infection caused by lactating. It is not uncommon for women to receive advice from a doctor that encourage her to stop nnursing.

    I hope your friend was ready to stop nursing as well, and I hope she healed well.

  89. ha, when i saw this photo, my first thought wasn’t “oh no, that’s so unsanitary for the baby.” instead i thought having a baby was unsanitary for the shop. but i’m a little scared of small children so i’m quite sure i’m alone in this :)

    anyway, someone mentioned that living things don’t generally pass through breast milk and i was wondering if that’s true? i don’t much (read: anything) about babies, but i remember from a disease class that a lot of puppies get parasites through their mother’s milk. do humans have an extra careful filtration system or something?

  90. Ohhhhhhh….so beautiful!!! How come so many miss the beauty of this photo and go straight to the negative??

  91. That’s an awesome picture!

    Personally, I am a little reluctant to get tattooed while lactating because I heard the hormones associated with lactating can sometimes effect the skin’s ability to hold the ink . . . hence producing a blurry tattoo. I am yet to work out how true this is, though, and am always curious to look at tattoos other women have gotten while lactating to judge for myself. How have you found it, Bree?

    Incidentally, I am currently breastfeeding my nearly 2.5 year old and am pregnant with my second. Breastfeeding, if done properly and for the true benefit of the child, *does* last years.

  92. some viral infections do pass through milk-
    however a breast fed child is the most UN likely candidate to become ill after exposure to most illnesses.

    I really do think this little one shown is probably the most safe person pictured- and I do not question the safety of professional tattoo shops or artists or the safety of receiving quality tattoo work.

    the human digestive system contains enzymes that kill most foreign pathogens, as well breastfed babies have oligosaccharides. Some studies have shown their bodies have unique digestive properties, on top of being protected from all the antibodies they receive from their mothers the oligosaccharides also protect them from ailments the mothers have never been exposed to.About 80 percent of the cells in breast milk are macrophages, cells that kill bacteria, fungi and viruses.
    Human milk also contains a friendly flora Lactobacillus bifidus- which kills unfriendly flora.
    Recent research has even shown breast milk killing cancer cells and correcting abnormal cell growth.

    our Milkies are found to contain antibacterial leukocytes, the immunoprotective functions of these properties kills hostile bacterial pathogens. On top of these human milk also contains glycoconjugate, just one of many antiviral components.
    As well the hydrolysis of milk triglycerides (part of the fat)during digestion produces fatty acids that are proven to be antiviral and antiprotozoan.

    Most parasites are spread through contact and while I can’t speak of puppy milks- human milks kick ass.

  93. What an awesome photo! Just lovely!
    Man, there is a lot of misinformation flying around here, isn’t there? A lot of the crazy theories have already been rebutted by others, so I won’t bother adding my 2c on those issues. Breastfeeding is best, normal, and necessary for proper health of a baby. I can’t understand the issues people have against it WRT tattooing.

    But oh well – I mainly wanted to laugh at the spicy food thing. There are some cultures who MOSTLY eat spicy foods. When in utero, the amniotic fluid that the baby lives in, pees in and drinks, changes taste according to what the mother has eaten. Same as breastmilk changes taste accordingly. You’d think they’d be used to it, wouldn’t you? MOST babies can handle any food, but they are individual, and some are more sensitive to known gas-causing foods, others probably just don’t like the taste of something new. Certainly no need to stop BF your baby because of it.

  94. Is there any effect on the skin in regards to the hormone levels during breastfeeding? I know my skin was very different during pregnancy and while I was breastfeeding my son. That, for me, would be my only concern. Babies, and moms, are far more tough and resilient than most think.

    Beautiful picture!

  95. I just can’t believe my eyes, i am a mother of two boys and have numerous tattoos and but this i would never do, not out of risk but just by personal choice, whick we are all entitled to so you go sister, ROCK ON!

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