Once your pregnancy is over it’s only natural for you to want to do all the things you’ve given up for the last 9 months. But what if you feel that your personal care may conflict with feeding your baby.
We want mums to feel like they can be in control of their lives when breastfeeding and not feel like it’s holding them back. This way you will feel encouraged and supported to feed baby for as long as possible, without feeling deprives of things you like doing.
Check out our breastfeeding advice for common beauty and lifestyle choices.
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Beauty Care When Breastfeeding
If you usually have permanent dye put into your hair then it’s perfectly safe to continue doing so when you are breastfeeding. The amount of chemicals absorbed through the skin from hair dye are minimal. Please note that if you use DIY hair dye at home, make sure you do it in a well ventilated room. The chemicals released from the dye are easily inhaled by you and passed over to baby though your breastmilk.
If you use nail polish then some brands will contain formaldehyde and toluene. You may want to use brands which such as Zoya, which are known as 5-free. This means these polishes are free from from the 5 most used toxic chemicals in polish: Formaldehyde, Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP),Toluene, Formaldehyde Resin and Camphor. If you still want to use your favourite brands , studies have shown these chemicals will be absorbed as minimal amounts and using nail polish is considered safe when breastfeeding or expressing. The newer types of gels (such as Gelish) and acrylics have yet to be studied so you may want to avoid using these until baby is weaned. If you do have these applied, make sure the room is well ventilated to minimise inhaling any chemical fumes.
Sun beds are safe to use when breastfeeding, however you must take extra care not to burn your breasts or nipples. Your breasts will be more sensitive whilst breastfeeding and you may want to reduce your times or cover your breast during your session. Do not use any special tan enhancement vitamins or supplements whilst breastfeeding. Fake tan is also safe to use as it is topical (only absorbed into the skin) so very small amounts would get into your breast milk. You may not want to apply the fake tan to your breasts as baby may reject your breast because of the taste.
It is safe to exercise in moderation whilst breastfeeding. You will need to buy a good supportive sports bra especially if you are do high intensity training. The movement of your breasts and the friction caused on your nipples can cause milk supply problems. You may wish to pump some milk if you plan to exercise daily. The lactic acid caused by exercising can change the taste of the milk and baby may be reluctant to feed if you’ve just exercised. Remember to keep hydrated as this is essential for maintaining your milk supply.
Breastfeeding uses up an extra 500 calories a day. If you keep a healthy diet then breastfeeding will help you to lose your baby weight at a healthy 1lb a week. Try not to lose weight any quicker than this as it may affect your milk supply. Do not use supplements or weight loss pills whilst breastfeeding as the effects on nursing mums have not been researched.
Getting a tattoo whilst breastfeeding is considered safe. The ink molecules are too large to pass into your breast milk and will not pass onto baby. There is a risk you can contract blood diseases, such as hepatitis, HIV or tetanus, from an infected needle. Always use a reputable and licensed tattoo parlour with health and safety certificates.
Getting botox injections is relatively safe when breastfeeding. Botox molecules are too large to pass into the breast milk and tend to stay within the muscle once injected. As a precaution do not breastfeed for 6 hours after being injected. You may want to pump some milk in preparation for after your appointment.
As a general rule, nipple piercings do not interfere with breastfeeding. In some cases trauma or scarring from a piercing can cause blocked milk ducts. Any jewellery should be removed before putting baby to the breast. This will help with attachment and reduce the risk of choking. Ensure good piecing hygiene as the area can be a breeding ground for bacteria, which you don’t want going into babies mouth.
Energy drink are high in caffeine, and excessive drinking should be avoided. Lower caffeine brands, containing 80-100mg of caffeine, can usually be tolerated by baby. Excessive caffeine is difficult for baby to metabolise and can cause irritability, insomnia and a fast heart rate. If your baby has any of these symptoms try cutting back on your daily caffeine intake.
Teeth whiting uses peroxide during the process, which has minimal chance of being absorbed into your breast milk. There are no studies to say how safe the procedure is for breastfeeding mums. You should consult your doctor or dentist for advice before booking the treatment.