Having a baby is a wonderful, extraordinary experience. As every mother knows, it’s also very tiring, especially for nursing mothers.
Apart from sleep, many new moms also long for smoother, radiant skin to make them feel more attractive. Others are used to regular treatments as part of their anti-aging regimen.
Botox® can give you youthful-looking skin quickly, and it’s been one of the most popular cosmetic treatments among both men and women for years.
It is an injectable of a small amount of botulinum toxin, a neurotoxin that blocks nerve signals from the brain to the injected muscles. Botox® relaxes muscle movement, causing overlying skin to become smooth and providing a visible reduction in wrinkles.
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No data exist on the medical use of Botox® during breastfeeding. However, it is not detectable systemically after intramuscular use, thus excretion into breast milk is considered unlikely.
Breastfeeding appears to protect infants against botulism. One infant was safely breastfed during maternal botulism and no botulinum toxin was detectable in the mother’s milk or infant.
Since the doses used medically are far lower than those that cause botulism, amounts ingested by the infant, if any, are expected to be small and not cause any adverse effects in breastfed infants. The assumption is that the levels injected during a treatment are not enough to enter breastmilk.
However, because there are no clinical studies to either confirm or refute this assumption, Botox providers prefer to be on the safe side and recommend that women postpone the procedure until after nursing.
Pumping and dumping is the act of pumping out breast milk that is potentially contaminated with a harmful substance and throwing it away.
Some women use the pump and dump method after drinking to get rid of the milk that could contain alcohol. They resume nursing after enough time has passed and the substance has left their body.
Again, there’s no research on the amount of time it takes for Botox® to metabolize out of breast milk, or even if it transfers to breast milk. And unlike alcohol or other drugs, Botox® remains in the local tissue for months at a time. As a result, pumping and dumping is likely not an effective solution.
Since the potential risks of the procedure for the baby outweigh the benefits for the mother, most medical providers recommend that mothers wait until the nursing period is over to resume Botox® treatments.
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What does AbbVie, the manufacturer of Botox®, think? According to 2 forms of package inserts, “it is not known,” or rather, there is no available data on the presence of either Botox® or Botox® Cosmetic in breastmilk, its effects on the breastfed child, or milk production.
They both advise patients to ask their doctors before starting treatment, stating that “the mother’s clinical need for Botox®, along with breastfeeding benefits and potential adverse effects to the infant, should be considered when making the decision to initiate treatment.”
This is a standard answer to reduce liability of the manufacturer, but it isn’t always helpful–or provide the evidence you need to make a decision.
The risks to a breastfed infant in a mom who receives Botox® injections is low. Limited studies suggest the procedure isn’t harmful.
But because it is still unclear whether or not Botox® toxins can spread to a nursing child through breast milk or impact unborn babies during pregnancy, we recommend avoiding Botox® therapy during pregnancy and breastfeeding.