A nipple piercing is a body piercing located through the nipple. Generally it is oriented horizontally but can also be vertical. It can be done on both men and women. The jewelry used is either a barbell or captive bead ring, both made of surgical steel.
This piercing takes 2 to 3 months to heal when cleaned properly. Cleaning a nipple is quite simple. Mix a gentle soap and warm water. Gently rub the solution on the piercing. After a week, twist the jewelry while cleaning. Use a cotton ball to remove any crust build up. Rinse with warm water and dry thoroughly with a paper towel.
There are some common concerns with nipple piercings. Will it be seen through clothing? This will depend on the size of the jewelry and the tightness of the clothing. Most piercings can be hidden if that is the desire. Will there be a loss of sensation? Absolutely not. A nipple piercing actually increases sensitivity due to the interaction with nerves. Will I still be able to breast feed? Of course. A piercing will not damage most of the milk ducts and does not go into the body to damage the breast. It is important to not breast feed unless the piercing is fully healed. It is also advised to wear a tight fitting barbell. Before each feeding check the balls and make sure they are on tightly. It is possible for a baby to suck off one of the balls and choke.
It is important to make sure the parlor you choose for your piercing is safe and sterile. If the piercing parlor is not sterile it is possible to get infections such as HIV and hepatitis. At the parlor there will be paperwork to read and complete stating what piercing you will be getting, the risks and aftercare instructions. If you are under 16 years of age, a parent will need to sign approval.
When it is time for the piercing, the instruments, jewelry and technician need to be sterile. Some parlors will use reusable instruments that have been sterilized. However most will use fresh, single use instruments. These instruments and the jewelry should be in sealed packaging that need to be opened in front of you and the technician should always wear gloves.