What’s safe and what’s not during breastfeeding is a hot topic and we’ve rounded up the most common myths – and truths – about breastfeeding.
If you’re nursing, your baby’s attached to the boob quite often – and you might be worrying if you’re doing everything right and how taking care of yourself might affect your little baby.
You Shouldn’t Wear Antiperspirants
You’ve probably heard that antiperspirants contain aluminum which is toxic to your breast milk. Of course, you can get an aluminum-free deodorant but it’s not necessary. There are no studies that prove moms have to avoid antiperspirants. Aluminum can be found in the environment, so exposure comes from foods and it doesn’t reach breast milk anyway.
What you can do is to choose fragrance-free products, since little babies can be sensitive to smell and they latch by it – if you use perfumed products near your nipples, it can cause confusion. Besides, if your deodorant drifts onto your nipples, it will give them an unpleasant taste.
You Should Avoid Pain Relievers
You don’t have to suffer pain. The most common pain relievers – acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and naproxen – are safe for breastfeeding moms, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Of course, every medicine has risks and there are pain relievers that should be avoided, and you should always consult your doctor. Decongestants, for example, can lower milk production.
If you don’t want to visit a doctor (though we recommend you do this), you can use a government-developed app LactMed. Opt for the lowest effective dose for the shortest time possible.
Sometimes, moms just need a cup of coffee in the morning – and there is nothing wrong with this. The amount of caffeine your child will get is a very small percentage of what you drink. Scientists recommend sticking to one to three cups of coffee per day. When you get higher doses of caffeine, your baby can accumulate caffeine through breast milk, which will make her irritable.
Cut Calories to Drop Baby Weight
When you breastfeed, you burn 500 additional calories every day. For most women, that’s enough to help them return to their pre-pregnancy weight. Even if you really want to lose weight faster, make sure you consume enough calories and have a well-balanced diet (with fruits, nuts, veggies, lean meat and legumes).
Scientists also recommend waiting to diet after at least two months postpartum. This is when your milk supply is established and you have completely recovered from giving birth. You can be sure you’re eating enough calories if you’re eating according to your hunger and listening to your body.
You Can Drink Alcohol
You don’t have to give up wine but you should know that a small amount of alcohol really goes into breast milk. Alcohol changes the flavor of your milk and if you consume it in large quantities, you will familiarize your baby with the taste of alcohol. Besides, alcohol intake can influence milk production. Not to mention that alcohol is a neurotoxin and it can impact brain development of your little child.
That’s why doctors say you should avoid drinking alcohol if breastfeeding. As a rule of thumb, if you can drive without consequences, you can breastfeed. There are not that many studies regarding this matter, and everyone’s body metabolizes alcohol differently. Therefore, no one knows how much alcohol your baby is getting. A small glass of fine on weekends won’t do any harm – just don’t do it every night.