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Did Breastfeeding Distort Your Chest Tattoo?


I got black text inked across my chest in my late teens.

I remember the tattoo artist encouraging me to get it on meatier parts of my body so that the process wouldn’t be so painful. He also mentioned that the tat may move and stretch especially on a wombman’s ever-changing body. Now it's been a couple of decades -- and I still love it.

Before you get a chest tattoo

Which Areas Should You Avoid On The Chest?

The chest is a fairly safe space to get tatted up. Mainly because there is so much cushion from fat and breast tissue. This means that the tattoo needle doesn't have to scrape against a hard surface (i.e. bone). Instead, the only pain you are experiencing is the needle poking into your soft skin.

That's not to say that there is no pain.

The bones in the chest area are the sternum, the clavicles and the ribs. The sternum is the tie-shaped bone in the middle of your chest. It sits in between your breasts (where your cleavage is) and helps protect your heart and lungs. The clavicles (also known as the collar bone), are more visible and can be sensitive to touch. Lastly, you may bump into the ribs if you choose to get an under boob tat.

As long as you stay far away from those areas you should be fine. It ultimately depends on your pain tolerance. If you're up for the challenge and really want it -- go for it!

Painful areas for breast and chest tattoos

What Does A Chest Tattoo Feel Like?

A hot safety pin being dragged across your chest. So it's a burning, stabbing and slicing sensation. In my opinion, it’s more annoying than painful. If you think you won't be able to hold back the tears, there are numbing creams you can try. Here's a current best seller that has some pretty funny reviews you may want to check out.

Just know the pain depends on how long the tattoo takes and how big your tattoo is. Meaning, 20 seconds of pain, probably isn't as painful as 20 minutes.

Why Did You Choose To Get Your Chest Tattooed?

The phrase I chose and it’s significance to my life, all led me towards the heart as my preferred site. Plus I had been thinking about this tattoo for over a year (I think it’s wise to make sure any art you permanently etch into your skin is something you really want).

While I know our heart beats in the middle of our chest, the left ventricle allegedly pumps the strongest, which is why when we pledge allegiance, we put our hand across the left side of our heart.

What's Important To Know Before You Get Words Tattooed On Your Chest?

Consider who you want to be able to read it. Do you want to be able to look down and be inspired? Or would you prefer to see the text when you look in the mirror. Do you want others to be able to read what it says? Also consider letter spacing and style (like if you want cursive or print). Below are examples of how text can look depending on which direction you have the words written.

text direction for word tattoos on the chest or breast

What Should You Wear To Your Appointment?

Definitely talk to your tattoo artist. They may suggest, a tube top for a tattoo on the upper chest. Or pasties for under boob or sternum tats.

If you don’t have either, just make sure your top gives the artist uninterrupted access to those areas. You’ll also want to wear clothes you don’t mind getting ink (and maybe a little blood) on.

After the tattoo you’ll want to continue wearing clothing that doesn’t interfere with its healing process (which can take days). This may mean getting a tattoo before the weekend.

What Surprised You About Getting Your Tattoo?

3 Things...

First, I thought the artist would help me decide on a tattoo. Meaning that they would sit and talk to me for a couple of hours about my reason behind the tattoo and what they thought would be a great design. But in my experience, they don't care. They just want to complete the job.

Second, I was really impressed with how clean the facilities were. All the needles were new. The artist would literally tear open new sealed equipment before he started. While I was surprised by this practice, it should be standard any time you go to a tattoo parlor. Especially since they are taking a needle and puncturing your skin.

Third, my artist started the tattoo backwards. Meaning, he stood behind me and reached over my shoulder to put on the stencil. Although I thought his positioning was weird, he clearly knew what he was doing and chose the best angle, because my tattoo came out perfect. Here's how the process went...

  • Clean the area

  • Shave the area

  • Transfer the stencil onto the skin

  • Start inking

What to expect at your tattoo appointment infographic

What's Important To Know Before You Get Designs On Your Chest?

Designs can look super cute. Here are some placement tips to think about...

  • consider following the natural curves of your body

  • vertical tattoos look great on the sternum (along the cleavage)

  • horizontal tattoos are cute over or under the breast

Placement tips for chest tattoo infographic

Is A Chest Tattoo Easy To Hide?

Yes! One of the benefits of a chest tattoo is that you can easily cover it up with a full-coverage shirt. If you prefer to wear halters, spaghetti strap camisoles, v-necks, and other tops that will make it visible, consider an under-the-boob tat.

Do Chest Tattoos Fade?

It depends on where you live. If you're in a climate that gets a ton of sun, and your tattoo is constantly soaking it up -- consider using a tattoo butter. This one is pretty popular because it's vegan and helps to heal new tats. I've always used shea butter and my tattoo is still vibrant today. Also consider asking your tattoo artist. It's their creation, and they probably have better tips for what best fits your unique needs.

Did Your Chest Tattoo Stretch?

Yes! Over the years, it definitely stretched ... then shrunk... then stretched again. This was probably due to the weight fluctuations of my post-adolescent and childbearing years. My weight fluctuated 40lbs throughout my life. I would go between 160lbs and 200lbs (pregnancies included). My breast specifically went from a 36C -- all the way up to a 38E -- and back down to 40DDs.

All of these changes and movement, means a stranger would have to stare for a few seconds before being able to read my tat. I (of course) know what it says despite the letters being slightly blurred and appearing closer together.

Now as a breastfeeding mom, I also have stretch marks. Surprisingly they do not run through my tattoo -- they sit directly below it.

But, I’m fine with it.

It’s a personal message and reminder to myself (not others).

Did Your Chest Tattoo Effect Your Breastmilk?

Not that I know of.

My tattoo was over a decade old by time I had my first child. If you get a tattoo closer to when you have children -- try to give it plenty of time to heal. Nursing children squeeze, pull and pump the breast. This is completely normal, as it helps them access the milk.

Also consider using a non-fragranced moisturizer or a naturally scented one (like shea nut oil) to support its healing. That way the smell doesn't interfere too much with your little one eating.

In the end, if you are considering inking up your chest - the heart area is a perfect location that will still look good many years later. Just make sure it’s something you love.

Do you have a chest tattoo? How has it changed after nursing?

Until next time...

Love The Journey,

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