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Botox While Breastfeeding- Is It Safe For Nursing Moms?

Motherhood, a blessing in disguise, sure can make your body a little bit unpleasant. If you are a new mother, you may be excited by visuals showing seemingly perfect models with catchy taglines. A false promise to make everything as good as new may make some feel inferior to them. Some even choose the hard way, getting botox injections while breastfeeding.

Restorative treatments like filler and botox are an attractive way to regain your lost confidence. Well, there is nothing wrong with improving oneself. But it is important to know what is safe for both of you. In this article, we will discuss everything, from top to toe, about botox while breastfeeding.

Is Botox really safe for you? Can you use it without any problem? Will it affect your baby? Every single question will be answered in this botox while breastfeeding 2020 article. Stay tuned to learn more.

What is Botox?

Botox is the trademark name for Botulinum toxin, which is a neurotoxic protein produced by the bacterial species, Clostridium botulinum. It prevents the release of a chemical, acetylcholine from axon endings at the neuromuscular junction and causes flaccid paralysis. Commercially, many doctors and beauticians use this toxin for medical and cosmetic purposes.

Unidentified master cosmetologist makes botox injections into the eyebrow of a beautiful young woman client. The concept of rejuvenating aesthetic procedures

Image credit: stock.adobe.com

There are seven main types of botulinum toxin, from A to G. Types A and B are used medically. Doctors use it in medicine to treat various types of muscular spasm and paralysis. Commercial forms of the toxin are marketed under the brand names Botox aka Onabotulinumtoxin A. Other products are Azzalure or Dysport (abobotulinumtoxin A), Xeomin or Bocouture (incobotulinumtoxin A), and Jeuveau (prabotulinumtoxin A).

Some trusted names are Botox Cosmetic or Vistabel from Allergan, Dysport, or Azzalure from Galderma, and Ipsen, Xeomin, or Bocouture from Merz. Jeuveau from Evolus, manufactured by Daewoong is in the USA only. These all are a type-A variety of toxins. Besides these three primary manufacturers in the USA, Xeomin, manufactured in Germany by Merz, is also available for both therapeutic and cosmetic usage.

Why do people get Botox?

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons estimates that 6.6 million women visited their doctors for Botox injections in 2016, making it the 2nd most popular form of minimally-invasive cosmetic surgery performed in the United States. Apart from cosmetic benefits, there are medical conditions that may benefit from Botox therapy. These include:

  1. Neuromuscular conditions including muscle control; e.g. cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, etc.
  2. Severe migraine headaches
  3. Excessive sweating or hyperhidrosis
  4. Urine leakage or incontinence
  5. Gut conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome(IBS)
  6. Spasm of the eyelids
  7. Spasms of the neck and shoulder muscles
  8. Conditions that cause intense muscle stiffness

 Botox and Nursing Mothers:

No doubt, breastfeeding plays an important role in building up a strong bond between the mother and baby. More significantly, it is the only source the baby has, at least for the first six months of life. Whatever the mom eats or drinks may pass to the baby via her breast milk. Doctors also say that even drugs and medications can be present virtually in breast milk. Doing botox injections while breastfeeding, due to this reason, it needs constant evaluation and skills.

Can you get botox while breastfeeding? There is no straight answer to that, as very few data are available to find out its safety. Let’s look at the timeline of your botox injection, for better grip of the situation. Let’s say, you did facial botox while breastfeeding. The doctor gave an injection in muscle and after several minutes, the toxin enters into the blood. The half-life is half an hour in the blood, on an average. If that period, you breastfeed your baby, there is a chance of toxin reaching the baby. In theories, it is possible, but the scientists found no clear evidence of it.

Many people mix up Botox with botulism. Despite having a common origin, these are not related at all. Botulism is the condition when the botulinum toxin enters into the baby’s body at a lethal dose and cause toxicity. Botox does not cause botulism, because there are no live bacteria in it. You can safely use filler while breastfeeding unless there are restrictions.

We will advise visiting a plastic surgeon, before doing any botox and fillers while breastfeeding. It will help to find the correct dose and schedule for your botox injections. Please do remember to address the fact that did you get botox while breastfeeding before and were there any side effects. Follow the rules given by your doctor and you’ll be good to go.

Benefits of Botox While Breastfeeding:

Doing botox mainly came into trend due to its magical anti-aging properties. But moms may need them for grave issues. As we know, pregnancy causes a huge hormonal surge in your body. The effects can last up to six to eight weeks after the delivery. This causes some serious health problems for the mother. Surprisingly, some of those can get benefits from doing botox while breastfeeding.

These benefits can be the following:

  • Post-pregnancy migraine can be very difficult to manage even with proper medication. Using Botox for migraines, while breastfeeding, can be a lifesaver.
  • Botox injections can also help reduce urinary incontinence caused by an overactive bladder.
  • A deep conditioning treatment that coats hair fibers with keratin called hair botox. While breastfeeding, your hair can become lusterless and frizzy. Hair botox will help with this problem.
  • Nurturing moms can suffer from excessive sweating or hyperhidrosis. Botox for hyperhidrosis while breastfeeding, can be a great solution.

How Botox while breastfeeding can help you?

So, it works for fine-tuning your wrinkled and crinkly skin. How does Botox do this magic?  Botulinum toxin seems to have its effect by gluing the key proteins required for nerve activation. First, the toxin binds specifically to nerve terminals which use the neurotransmitter, acetylcholine.

Once attached to the nerve terminal, the neuron carries the toxin into the vesicle by the aid of an endosomal-mediated receptor. When the vesicle advances deeper into the cell, it acidifies, activating a portion of the toxin. It enables the toxin to migrate through the vesicle membrane and into the cell cytoplasm. Once inside the cytoplasm, the antibody cleaves SNARE proteins, the vesicle fusion proteins, and binds with the terminal receptors.

Botox is a temporary treatment and so it must be redone every five to six months. Botox and extended breastfeeding is still a matter of discussion to this day.

Is Botox safe while breastfeeding?

Unfortunately, there is very little data or research available on the topic of botox and breastfeeding studies. The FDA approved using Botox cosmetic for medical purposes in 2014, within the safe limit margin. But, the institute did not provide any clarification, whether you can use Botox during pregnancy and breastfeeding. On a few marketing trials, researchers found these pieces of evidence:

  1. There is a very small amount of purified botulinum toxin type A in each injection of Botox, which is one-thousandth of the lethal dose.
  2. Using Botox injections during breastfeeding is unlikely to cause any harm to the baby, directly or indirectly.

Even though the toxins are rarely passed through breast milk, still being safe is crucial. Better safe than sorry, we guess!  It might be best to feed the baby before the Botox injection. Then wait only some hours after receiving it before breastfeeding again. By waiting a few hours, can actually further reduce the chances of passing any of the Botox to the baby.

Warnings for the moms:

Whether using Botox while breastfeeding is safe or not, you must be careful.

Nonetheless, botulinum toxin is very dangerous and even can cause death. To prevent serious illness and side effects, always follow these rules:

  • Botox injections should be always prescribed by a doctor and given by a licensed medical professional. A doctor will be able to prescribe the correct dose of this hazardous medication, and a licensed medical professional will know how to inject the medication safely into the muscle, without injuring the veins.
  • Do not use any type of Botox or filler that isn’t prescribed by your doctor. Vials of botulinum toxins from unauthorized places like over the internet, on the street, or from an unreliable vendor can contain higher doses than usual.
  • Avoid using fake Botox, for instance, contaminated medications, medications with the wrong dosage, and vials after over the expiration date.

Even if you use the botox injection, it may get to your baby.  If you administrate this frequently, it still will not give them any side effects. But even so, there are some specific recommendations that you should follow, before considering it as a breastfeeding mother.

The pump and dump method: does it really work?

if you are still afraid to combine Botox and breastfeeding, pump and dump can come handy for you. We know moms may do something that may have an adverse effect on her child.  The pump and dump method was developed in recognition of the great physical and psychological benefits of breastfeeding to both mother and baby.  As your body will only continue to produce breast milk in response to baby’s stimulation, mothers need some way of future breastfeeding. It is good for anyone having botox while nursing toddler.

Pumping and dumping process is removing the milk from your breasts artificially, preferably using a breast pump, and then throwing away the milk. This signals your body to keep producing breast milk, while you can keep the baby safe of toxicity. Pretty clever idea! And it works perfectly with botox while breastfeeding. Mumsnet also approves this method.

A study done by NCBI in 2018 showed some promising results. According to it- “Type A botulinum toxin was detected in the blood and stools of a nursing mother after ingesting fermented salmon eggs. She was given 2 vials of trivalent botulism antitoxin, 1 intravenously and 1 intramuscularly. A milk sample obtained 3 days after the onset of her illness and 4 hours after administration of botulinum antitoxin had neither detectable botulinum toxin nor botulism organisms.” So, we have scientists backing up it, too.

Alternatives to Botox while breastfeeding:

If you are still unsure of using Botox, you can check out Botox alternatives while breastfeeding. They are equally effective as the Botox injection and, not to mention, a safer choice for moms. You can pick any of these alternatives for a better result, without harming your baby.

  1. Chinese Acupuncture
  2. Massage and cupping therapy, e.g. FaceXercise, Juvederm, etc.
  3. Collagen supplements and creams
  4. Chemical peels and exfoliators
  5. Cinnamon powder and peppermint oil injections
  6. Hyaluronic acid injections
  7. Microdermabrasion or dermal rolls
  8. Face Saver Ball or Yamuna Face Ball
  9. Frotox or patches containing liquid nitrogen
  10. Frownies or sticky patches
  11. VTOX, a patch with neuro-peptides and algae extract
  12. CO2 laser resurfacing
  13. Prescription-strength creams containing retinoid or vitamin A, vitamin C, α-hydroxyl acid, etc.

Please note that always consult a professional before using any healthcare product. Check the labels carefully before stating the first use. We do not hold accountability for the risks associated with any of the above-mentioned.

A few quick tips: No need for Botox!

The equation is simple – no wrinkle means no Botox injection! You can do some easy remedies at home, instead of getting botox while breastfeeding.  We have listed some tips that help prevent or reduce appearing fine lines and wrinkles below:

  • Try to wear sunscreens or creams that have at least 30 SPF and give UVB and UVA protection, simultaneously
  • Drink plenty of water and use a moisturizer
  • Avoid the use of any tanning beds, UV lights, and products
  • Avoid skin lightening or whitening products
  • Wash your face frequently and remove makeup before sleep
  • Always wear protection in the sun and wind, including hats, long sleeves, and dark sunglasses
  • Use a homemade mask or serum with pineapple, lemon juice, and apple cider vinegar
  • Use a homemade scrub made of finely ground white sugar mixed with coconut oil or olive oil
  • Use skin rehydrating creams, oils, and serums, which are rich in glycerin and hyaluronic acids
  • Sleep at least six to seven hours’ daily

Risks of Botox while breastfeeding:

The commercial packaging of Botox contains far less amount of botulinum toxin, but still, it is the deadliest biochemical. The estimated human lethal dose of type A toxin is 1.3–2.1 nanogram/kg intravenously or intramuscularly, 10–131 nanogram/kg when inhaled, or 1000 nanogram/kg when ingested by mouth. What are the dangers of using Botox while breastfeeding?

At the baseline dose, the side effects of Botox can include pain, swelling, and bruising at the site of the injection, dry mouth, headache, fatigue, etc. Side effects from cosmetic usage of Botox fundamentally result from unintended paralysis of facial muscles. These include partial facial paralysis, muscle weakness, and trouble swallowing. Side effects are not limited to whole-body paralysis. Others are flu-like symptoms and allergic reactions. As cosmetic treatments take several months, paralysis can last the same duration.

If the botulinum toxin spans out beyond the site that’s being treated, it can cause botulinum poisoning. Call the doctor immediately if any of these happen:

For the mother: Side effects of Botox while breastfeeding can be the following:

  1. Difficulty in swallowing or dysphagia
  2. Trouble talking, as feeling a mass in the throat
  3. Muscular weakness or myalgia
  4. Difficulty in breathing and shortness of breathing
  5. Droopy eyelids or ptosis
  6. Blurred vision and double vision
  7. Signs of an allergic reaction including itching, rash, hives, wheezing, etc.

For the baby:

Although side effects in the breastfed baby are rare, monitor the child for any signs of weakness, especially gut problems.  Combining Botox and breastfeeding, infant risk is far less severe than the mother. Some notable symptoms are:

  1. Stomach ache
  2. Excessive sleepiness
  3. Lethargy and less activity
  4. Less hunger and crying

Reviews From Real Moms:

Still, confused about whether to get that needle or not? Hear some real-life botox while breastfeeding reviews from real moms. In a community forum we have found these comments:

Hello mamas, I asked my doc if Botox was safe during breastfeeding, and she surprisingly said yes. Thankfully my son is now 6 months, so he’s had that much milk Botox free. I thought he was weaned and since my doc said Botox was safe I went ahead and did it.” – Madison Miller

I’ve had Botox whilst breastfeeding, I just bottle-fed for the next feed. Baby is absolutely fine. My dermatologist thought it was ok and had done it herself…but said it was at my own risk. I think it’s a personal choice about relative risks but I decided that it would be ok. I’m not going to get more until I’m done breastfeeding though.” – Slinky carrot

My dermatologist gave me Botox. It’s fine. He did Botox on his wife while she was breastfeeding”. – ksilva2012.

 In the end:

We know, the decision whether to get botox while breastfeeding or not can be confusing. We suggest you take your time to research the matter yourself, ask your friends, and then come to a conclusion. Don’t stress too much. Just relax and take a leap of faith.

We hope you liked this article. Please check other related topics on the site. Thank you for reading.

 The FAQs About Botox While Breastfeeding

  1. Does botulinum toxin pass through breast milk?

Answer: There isn’t a lot of research out there, about Botox and breastfeeding. Reed says. The amounts they use are probably small, but Botox hangs out for three to four months in your tissues. And eventually could pass to the breast milk.

  1. Can you do fillers while breastfeeding?

Answer: yes, you can do filler or Botox while breastfeeding. There is very little data on the safety of Botox while breastfeeding.

  1. What happens if you get Botox while breastfeeding?

Answer: Nothing major issues were found after the use. Although botulinum toxin is life-threatening, in small doses used in Botox are considered safe. Still, the overall risk is minimal, and Botox is considered safe overall. You should always consult a board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon before using Botox injections while breastfeeding.

  1. Can anyone breastfeed after Botox?

Answer:  Yes, you can breastfeed your baby after the injection.  No specific data exist on the medical use of botulin A toxin during breastfeeding. However, it is not detectable in the blood after intramuscular usage. Thus, excretion into breast milk is very unlikely.

  1. How long does Botox stay in breast milk?

Answer: There was some evidence of the toxin entering into the bloodstream or the lymph system. But Botox in the blood cannot enter into the breast tissues. Even if it enters into the tissue, the amount is very small and lasts for about a few minutes.

  1. Can babies get botulism from breast milk?

Answer: No, your baby will not get botulism. Botulism can’t be transmitted by breast milk. Although the bacterial spores that cause infant botulism are known to occasionally be present in honey, spores are too large to pass through breast milk.

Other Helpful Tips for Nursing Moms: 

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Hi, I'm Umme Hurayra. I am currently studying MBBS in Mymensingh Medical College. Medical science is an incredible thing. I like to share my knowledge with everyone.