Question: I am five months pregnant and want to breastfeed my baby, but I have several long coarse black hairs around my nipples. Could you suggest a safe method of removing them? I have tried to trim them using scissors, but they grow back even thicker.
I don’t want to use depilatory creams as the chemical components in them might be harmful to the baby. If I leave the hair as it is, I am afraid that the baby will swallow one of them.
Answer: 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.
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.
If you are still worried, ask your pediatrician for his recommendations regarding the chances of a baby choking on a hair the length of those found on a nipple. You also might want to consult a dermatologist who has experience in permanent hair removal methods to get his advice.
Anne Smith, IBCLC