In today’s article from Mom Advice Line, we are answering the question, “Is botox safe while breastfeeding?“
Botox injection has increased by 845% since 2000. It has become the most popular noninvasive plastic surgery in the United States. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons reported nearly 7 and a half million Botox injection procedures last year. The majority of the procedures were performed on women.
Botox injections work by preventing the signals from the nerves from reaching the brain. Thus, the injected muscles won’t contract. This causes the wanted side effect of softening wrinkles.
While many seek injections to improve their facial appearance, others receive injections elsewhere. For example, botox injections in the breasts are a temporary measure and have a lasting effect up to six months at a tie.
Reading about the dangers of botox
With Botox injections becoming more and more popular, you may be asking yourself how safe it is for breastfeeding mothers. You may have even read articles and reports that it is unsafe to have botox injections while pregnant or breastfeeding. Some articles will tell you that you will give your child infant botulism through your breast milk. I want to reassure you before we get into any more details that this isn’t true in the least little bit.
Clostridium botulinum is a spore that forms bacteria once inside a human body. It has multiple types. The type used in botox injections are FDA approved and deemed safe when used appropriately. Yet none of that tells us if the injections are safe for breastfeeding mothers.
Is botox safe for breastfeeding mothers and babies?
Research has shown us that botulism can’t be transferred by breastmilk. In fact, research shows that breastfeeding can slow the onset of infant botulism.
However, it is important to note that even though botulism can’t be transferred through breastmilk, doctors recommend that you wait a few hours after a procedure to breastfeed.
As with all things when pregnant or nursing, it is generally best to only put the most necessary things into your body. Save the procedures, chemicals, and other life improvements for after weaning.
Infant botulism: What is that?
So, what are those articles talking about? Infant Botulism is a potentially fatal illness caused by Botulinum spores infecting an infant and turning into dangerous bacteria in their digestive system. These bacteria then produce neurotoxins that affect your child. Before you worry too much let me stress that this illness is very rare with only around 100 cases reported each year.
Children age three weeks to six months are at the highest risk for Infant Botulism but your baby is at risk until after age one. Older children can also contract Botulism but unlike Infant Botulism they are not at risk from invisible spores in the air. Older children can only contract it through food born contraction or the spores getting inside open wounds. Be sure to treat your children’s wounds as soon as possible and keep a close eye on them for a few days after.
Avoiding botulism in foods
There are foods as I have said that carry these spores. Unfortunately, cooking them kills the active botulinum, but not their spores. This means that even if you cook the dish containing these ingredients, you haven’t avoided the danger. The spores of botulinum have to reach 250 degrees Fahrenheit before the food is safe. So the internal temperature of whatever you are cooking has to reach this, not just the oven that you are cooking it in.
Honey is a large risk for botulism. According to the CDC, it is recommended that you not allow your child to eat honey until they reach one year old and are walking. The FDA also found botulinum type B, a dangerous type of botulinum, in 0.5% of unopened corn syrup bottles. It is a good idea to avoid feeding your child any recipe that calls for corn syrup or canned foods that have corn syrup in them. It is recommended that you avoid both light and dark corn syrup as both types are at risk.
Be sure you know where your honey and corn syrup come from. For the safest bet wait until your child is able to communicate how they feel before feeding them honey regularly. I waited until my son was school age before giving him honey on his toast in the morning. This doesn’t mean they won’t contract it but it’ll be easier to spot.
Despite these preventative measures, the majority of babies that contract infant botulism do so by swallowing spores. Most of these spores are transferred invisibly in the air. All you can do is be on the lookout for the symptoms, as no one is really sure where the spores come from.
Symptoms usually present within 24 to 36 hours after consuming the spores. In some cases, the symptoms present within six hours while others may not present for up to eight days.
Infant botulism is fatal if left untreated. It is important that you know your child well enough to spot the difference in how they act. Overall, the symptoms can cause your child to become slow in their actions. They may miss developmental milestones due to the difficulty it causes to their reflexes and muscles. The most common symptoms include droopy eyes, difficulty swallowing, diminished vision, diminished reflexes, and Hypotonia.
Hypotonia comes with its own warning symptoms. This includes weak muscle tone, clumsiness, falling, pain in hands and feet, and weakness that spreads throughout the body. Eventually, infant botulism paralyzes the infant and causes them to suffocate.
Infant botulism is treatable by a professional doctor in a hospital setting. There is a cure. Most cases are treated in ICU due to the seriousness of the symptoms. At a hospital, your child will most likely receive an antitoxin called BIGIV. This will neutralize the neurotoxins we talked about earlier. Children treated with BIGIV recover faster and easier. Early diagnosis and treatment are important to how well your child will recover as well.
I will reiterate that the most important thing to remember about Infant Botulism is that most cases come from the air. Doctors don’t know why some children contract the illness while others do not. Your botox injections regardless of how recently you’ve had them should not endanger your child.
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About the Author
Natasia Rea is regular Mom Advice Line contributor. She’s a 32-year-old native Kentucky resident and mother of two wonderful children.