StorkNet interview with
Anne Smith, IBCLC
International Board Certified Lactation Consultant

Q's and A's:

HAIR AROUND NIPPLES

Duni: I am five months pregnant and want breastfeed the baby. But I have several long coarse black hair around my nipples. (As I have hirsutism, I have similar hair around my neck and stomach as well.)Could you please suggest a safe method of removing them? I have tried to trim them using scissors, but they grow back more grizzly. I do not want to use depilatory creams as the chemical components in them might be very harmful to the baby. If I leave the hair as it is I am afraid that the baby will swallow many of those thick ones. Please help me with your advise.

Anne: Hair follicles surround the nipples, and most women have at least some nipple hair. In some women, the hair is coarser and more noticeable than in others.

I wouldn't worry about trying to remove the hair. Unless you want to pluck them out frequently (ouch!), then I would just leave them alone. It is doubtful that the baby's sucking will pull them out (think about how hard you have to tug when you pluck a hair in order to remove the root), and even if he does swallow one or two, I don't think that he is likely to choke on them.

I have worked with many mothers with hairy nipples over the years, and have certainly never heard of a baby choking on them. If you are still concerned, ask your pediatrician for his recommendations regarding the chances of a baby choking on a hair the length of those found on a nipple. I doubt that he will be concerned, but it's worth checking out. You also might want to consult a dermatologist who has experience in permanent hair removal methods and get his advice.

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