Nipple Piercings & Breast Feeding: Charlene’s Story Part 1
By: Charlene Lizette
It all began in my early 20’s when my tattoo obsession turned into a piercing obsession.A bunch of friends and I were chilling one day when the discussion around nipple piercings came up and obviously I was like “OMG those are so f’n sexy, I would love one”. One of my guy friends chimed in and was like “I’ve always wanted one” so there we were 4 friends, 2 ready to get their nipple pierced.
"It all began in my early 20’s when my tattoo obsession turned into a piercing obsession."
We jumped into my car and went to the closest tattoo/piercing parlor we could find that did walk-ins. As we made our way inside my buddy started to chicken out (men, always talking a big game but never following through, right?). I walk up to the counter let the man know I’m looking to get my nipple pierced and he tells me there’s a deal when you pierce 2 nipples vs. 1. After some convincing, my buddy decided to partake in the sweet deal and 15 minutes later I had a pierced nipple, I was sooo cool. I decided to pierce my left one, don’t ask me why, I just preferred it over right. I was a 20 something-year-old badass, or so I thought. My nipple ring never really got infected it just took a long time to heal. Back then I wasn’t really thinking about kids, breastfeeding wasn’t even running through my mind so I never thought to ask what adverse effects the piercing would have on my boob. I didn’t think about the piercing affecting the milk ducts and the individual who did my piercing never bothered to share any of the con’s of getting a nipple pierced as a female. Maybe he didn’t know, maybe he didn’t care.
"I didn’t think about the piercing affecting the milk ducts and the individual who did my piercing never bothered to share any of the con’s of getting a nipple pierced as a female."
Fast forward to 29 and pregnant with Charlie. I had removed my nipple piercing when I was 26ish cause a guy I was dating didn’t like it (ohh how silly I was back then. PSA: never change your body or your life for anyone other than yourself). My belly was growing substantially my once 34B breasts had inflated themselves to 38D’s. In my boobies defense I ended up gaining 60lbs during my pregnancy so obviously, my boobies would grow as dramatically as the rest of me. Both my previously pierced boob and my other boob grew the same, there was no sign I would have any issues producing milk or breastfeeding. However there were days where I would wonder why I wasn’t leaking as other women did in their third trimester, but mostly, I was just happy I didn’t have wet shirts and leaky nipples.
"...never change your body or your life for anyone other than yourself..."
On May 1st, 2015 at 7:51 AM after 14 hours of active labor, Charlie Marcos was born. My little angel was 11 days late. Obviously, all that pizza I ate during pregnancy made for a very comfy belly and he just did not want to leave.
At the hospital, the nurses encouraged skin to skin contact and putting Charlie on the boob right away. They all told me it would take a few days for my milk to come in and that in the beginning, it was important for Charlie to get my Colostrum. On Day 3 Charlie had to be admitted into the hospital because he had Jaundice, this meant during the most important time for us to bond Charlie needed to be away from me, placed in a box and also needed to be supplemented with formula.
You see, our breast milk helps with jaundice babies and because I wasn’t producing enough milk it was slowing down his recovery. Needless to say, I was an emotional mess. All alone 3 days postpartum, desperately trying to breastfeed Charlie so he could get the nutrients he required all while healing from an episiotomy, exhausted, worried for my son and in a hospital, nowhere near the comfort of our own home.
When Charlie’s bilirubin levels had returned to normal 2 days later we were finally able to begin establishing a routine in the comfort of our home. This is when, with the help of my midwife, we started noticing Charlie wasn’t latching properly and my milk wasn’t fully coming in.
"Charlie wasn’t latching properly and my milk wasn’t fully coming in. "
After a few tries and a lactation consultant visit, the decision was made to visit the Jack Newman clinic in Toronto to assess what we discovered was a tongue tie. Tongue ties in new babies prevent them from latching properly and therefore the lack of proper latching doesn’t allow for the boob to make the necessary milk required to feed the baby. Complicated stuff, eh. At the Jack Newman Clinic, Dr. Newman noticed Charlie not only had a tongue tie, but he also had a lip tie. DUHHHH, go figure my poor little baby couldn’t latch properly onto my boobies and get his milkies. So there we were again, going through something super traumatic within the 1st month of Charlie’s life. BTW, watching your newborn get their tongue tie/lip tie cut is traumatic AF, so are the exercises given afterward to encourage the tongue tie/lip tie from not coming back.
During this time, I was encouraged to pump, but my boobs were hardly producing milk and so it was recommended I get the industrial pumping machine, typically used in hospitals, at home. Let me tell you, that machine worked magically for me, it sucked everything out. It also made me feel like a cow while I was pumping #momwin.
This is when I started to realize another problem with my boobs. Holy sh%t reliving this time is legit traumatic for me right now.
As I would pump delusional and exhausted from lack of sleep, I started noticing my right boob (the not pierced one) would produce tons of milk ..............
See you next week for part 2 of my journey!
Part 2 of Charlene's story will be out next week! You don't want to miss it........
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
That Single Mom, Charlene Lizette is a momma to her wild child Charlie and wants to inspire females through her life story to let go of fear and discover the world one adventure at a time. You can learn more about Charlene here!