Baby Botox is a growing trend in the cosmetic industry, but what about Botox when you have a baby?
More specifically, what about Botox while breastfeeding?
As nursing mothers know, what you put into your body while breastfeeding is very important, but you may have only considered this in terms of certain foods and drinks, not cosmetics or prescription medication.
The potential risks of botulinum toxin, otherwise known as Botox on breastfeeding and pregnancy are not widely known.
So, whether you're a Botox regular or a first-timer, if you're breastfeeding, there are a few things to consider before getting Botox injections.
What is Botox?
Fortunately, cosmetic Botox is much safer.
Botox injections are a minimally invasive alternative to cosmetic surgery administered by a healthcare provider.
It can also aid with a few medical conditions, such as chronic migraines, excessive sweating, muscle contractures, muscle twitches and even bladder dysfunction.
But, how does Botox actually work?
How Botox works
Botox works to temporarily stop the release of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is involved in contracting smooth muscles, dilating blood vessels, increasing bodily secretions, and slowing the heart rate.
Most commonly, plastic surgeons or cosmetic technicians inject Botox to fight the signs of ageing.
When used on the face, Botox injections relax the facial muscles and other nerves that can cause wrinkles around the eyes and forehead.
The injections block chemical signals from nerves, mainly those that cause muscles to contract.
This temporary paralysis of muscles results in tighter and smoother looking skin.
It can be administered as preventive or corrective, depending on when you choose to receive Botox therapy.
It generally takes between three to seven days for Botox injections to take their full effect and they last up to six months.
While cosmetic Botox is relatively safe, if you're a nursing mother, you might want to consider a few things before going under the needle.
Can you get Botox while breastfeeding?
Unfortunately, there is no conclusive evidence to say either way, but research suggests that Botox while breastfeeding is unlikely to be harmful to your baby.
This is because each injection of Botox contains only a small amount of purified botulinum toxin type A.
So the chances of passing harmful substances onto your baby through your breast milk are slim.
That being said, Botox is a chemical and does come with certain risks.
If you are considering undergoing Botox injections while breastfeeding, it should be medically prescribed and administered by a doctor or healthcare provider.
This will help reduce the potential risks and side effects posed by the medication.
In saying this, due to the lack of research in this area, most healthcare professionals suggest that you wait until you are finished breastfeeding before getting Botox injections.
In this case, it's better to err on the side of caution.
What are the side effects of Botox?
While it is a minimally invasive cosmetic surgery, Botox injections do have potential risks and side effects.
The most common side effects are:
- Swelling, pain or bruising around the injection site
- Flu-like symptoms and headaches
- Droopy eyelid or cockeyed eyebrows or smile
- Excessive eye watering or dryness.
While it is not common, sometimes Botox toxins can spread throughout your body following the injection.
If you notice any of the following in the hours after your injections, seek medical attention:
- Muscle weakness
- Trouble breathing
- Vision problems
- Trouble swallowing or speaking
- Bladder weakness or loss of control
Can you pump and dump?
The pump and dump method has been used by nursing mothers for years to have a sneaky wine (or two) with dinner.
It involves pumping your breast milk when it might contain potentially harmful substances like alcohol and dumping it instead of feeding it to your baby.
It is usually a safe and effective method, however, in this scenario, there is zero research on how long exactly it takes Botox to break down in breast milk, so for this reason, pumping and dumping might not be effective.
However, there is research that shows that the toxins in Botox are unlikely to pass through breast milk to the baby.
In theory, one could breastfeed before the Botox injections and again a few hours afterwards to help reduce the chances of passing anything to the baby.
If you are thinking of getting Botox and you're breastfeeding, we recommend speaking to your doctor before making any decisions.
Is Botox safe to get while pregnant?
As with breastfeeding, there is insufficient research on how botulinum toxins can impact pregnancy.
For this reason, most doctors, plastic surgeons and healthcare professionals will not administer Botox to pregnant women.
While preliminary animal studies indicated that the cosmetic does not cross the placenta, there is simply not enough information to confirm that Botox injections during pregnancy are safe.
Putting any chemical or cosmetic into your body carries a potential risk to your growing bub so you might want to consider waiting until after your baby is born for your next appointment.
What other cosmetic procedures should you avoid while breastfeeding?
Botox is not the only cosmetic treatment that has potential risks while breastfeeding.
Here are some treatments you might want to skip while you're nursing:
- Botulinum toxins (Botox): At this point, we covered the effects of Botox while breastfeeding pretty extensively, but we just want to reiterate that using botulinum toxins while breastfeeding should be avoided. While it is not thought to be inherently dangerous, the risk is just not worth it.
- Fillers: Much like Botox, fillers might have to wait until you've finished breastfeeding. The effects of fillers on breastfeeding are unknown so best to be safe and avoid them for now.
- Vitamin A anti-wrinkle treatments: As well as in-clinic treatments, you'll also need to make sure you're across the ingredients in the skincare products you use at home, especially when it comes to vitamin A. All forms of vitamin A should be avoided during pregnancy and while breastfeeding as it has been linked to adverse effects on babies.
Alternatives to Botox
If you're looking for a simple and safe way to fight fine lines and wrinkles, there are plenty of alternatives to cosmetic botox.
Here are a few of our favourites:
- Software's ageing prescription formula: Software's personalised anti-ageing formulas are created based on your individual skin needs and goals. Simply complete the online quiz, upload a few selfies of your skin and Software's doctors will create a formula just for you. While prescription retinoids are a commonly used ingredient (and off the cards when breastfeeding), our doctors can work with you to meet your breastfeeding-safe skincare needs. Plus, once you're finished breastfeeding, Software's anti-ageing formula with retinoids is an easier to access and more affordable method of tackling ageing compared to Botox.
- Chemical peels: Although they may sound menacing, most chemical peels are gentle enough to use during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. This is because the chemicals used do not absorb through the skin and won't find their way into your breast milk.
- Hydrafacial: As this facial only contains a very low concentration of salicylic acid, this is considered a safe, popular and effective medical-grade skin treatment for pregnant and nursing women. However, your skin might be slightly more sensitive during breastfeeding so it is important to let your therapist know so they can make adjustments.
- Laser and light therapy: Low-level LED lights and lasers do not penetrate very deeply meaning they are considered safe during breastfeeding and pregnancy. In fact, it has even been used to treat postpartum mastitis and assist with healing after episiotomies.