Botox and Breastfeeding

Botox and Breastfeeding

We are HUGE fans of Emily Oster and her substack newsletter ParentData (it is worth every penny!). She recently wrote a post about Botox and breastfeeding, and we were inspired to write a summary. So here it goes…

Botox is made from small amounts of botulinum toxin. Botulinum toxin is a muscle-paralytic that can cause botulism and even be fatal in high doses. In small doses, it is called Botox and is used for health (e.g. migraines, muscle disorders, excessive sweating) and cosmetic purposes (injected into facial muscles). 

There are plenty of hardships that come with nursing. But the good news is that you can easily measure the amount of toxins (like botulinum toxin) or medication in human milk. In her post about Botox, Emily Oster references the LactMed® database which provides information about the safety of medications and toxins when nursing. We highly recommend this resource!  

The LactMed® database reviews the level of botulinum toxin found in human milk if the mother has botulism (usually happens when a person ingests food with high levels of the toxin) or has received an intramuscular dose of botulinum toxin (what we know as Botox). LactMed® cites a specific case in which a mother got botulism and that the toxin was not detected in her milk or the infant. LactMed® also states that the toxin is undetectable in the milk of someone who has received an intramuscular injection of the toxin (Botox). And by Emily Oster’s argument, this means that even when you are poisoned by high doses of the toxin, you are “fine to breastfeed.” So if you have received Botox (much lower levels of the toxin), you can nurse your baby! Woo hoo! This is a relief in many ways because there are plenty of things you can’t do when pregnant or nursing! We are not promoting Botox (or judging) but are just happy to hear there is one less thing to worry about for nursing and pumping parents…

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