Breastfeeding is possibly the most important aspect of the postpartum period. Mothers should maintain their focus on what they ingest and use because all of it can be transferred to the baby through breastfeeding. Forbidden things like smoking and drinking don’t even need to be mentioned, but what about wearing perfume?
In general, it’s recommended to not wear perfume when breastfeeding. Most perfumes include dozens of toxic ingredients, which can jeopardize the health of your newborn. Luckily, there are many scented and scent-free products that you can safely use without any fear of harming your baby.
In this article, we’ll explain which ingredients you should avoid in your perfume when breastfeeding, and recommend some of the best perfume alternatives. If you’re interested in learning everything about wearing scented products when breastfeeding, we recommend you read through this article.
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What Perfume You Can’t Wear When Breastfeeding
First things first, all of the following chemicals that you should avoid when breastfeeding are also toxic to humans as a whole. However, most adults can use products with such ingredients without much risk. The same cannot be told about babies, because they’re much much smaller and have weaker immune systems than adults.
It makes them that much more sensitive to toxins, so you should really avoid the following ingredients in your perfume and other cosmetics when breastfeeding:
This group of chemicals is used as a preservative in many cosmetics, inhibiting the growth of fungus and bacteria. However, there’s some research suggesting that exposure to parabens can damage the reproductive system of male newborns, and some studies indicate that it can lead to problems in learning and memory.
That being said, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has yet to restrict the use of parabens in cosmetics, and most experts think that amounts used in baby products are completely safe. So, it’s up to you whether you want to risk using perfume and other cosmetics containing parabens when you’re breastfeeding.
There are dozens of commonly used parabens in cosmetics, so you should be very careful when reading ingredient lists. Some of the most frequently used ones are listed as:
The vast majority of scented products, including perfume, hairspray, shampoo, eye shadow, soap, moisturizer, and other cosmetics include phthalates. It’s a group of chemicals that can extend the duration and strength of a scent.
You should watch out for phthalates in all cosmetics you use while breastfeeding. It’s usually listed in ingredient lists as:
Unfortunately, cosmetics makers are allowed to list phthalates simply as “Fragrance” or “Fragrance Ingredients”.
Inhaling scents containing phthalates can disturb the endocrine system of babies, leading to hormonal disbalance. Additionally, it can cause asthma and a plethora of cardiovascular problems.
Keep in mind that many other ingredients found in perfume can cause problems for your newborn. Humans can be allergic to pretty much everything, so even what’s considered a “generally-safe” ingredient might harm the health of your baby.
Tips For Wearing Perfume When Breastfeeding
If you can’t imagine your life without perfume, there are several things you should consider before wearing it when breastfeeding. The following tips will lower the risk of harming your baby:
Choose The Right Perfume
Just choosing the perfume without any parabens and phthalates is not enough to prevent most of the possible damage. It’s also recommended to choose hypoallergenic perfume, which isn’t likely to cause allergic reactions in your baby.
Additionally, we recommend choosing a perfume with a light scent that isn’t likely to irritate or offend your newborn. Perfume with low projection and sillage is also worth considering.
Don’t Apply Onto Chest
Some people apply perfume on their chest, but you should absolutely avoid doing that when breastfeeding. It opens up a risk of your newborn directly ingesting some of the perfume, which can have detrimental effects on the health of your baby.
We recommend applying perfume to pulse points that are the farthest away from your baby when you’re breastfeeding. So instead of wrists or sides of the neck, it would be better to apply perfume on your ankles or inside of the knees.
Refrain From Applying Before Breastfeeding
In general, it’s recommended to wear perfume as infrequently as you can when breastfeeding. However, if there’s a day where you’ll have to run some errands or anything like that, we recommend you apply perfume just after breastfeeding or as early as possible prior to it.
Best Perfume Alternatives When Breastfeeding
Perfume isn’t the only product you can use to smell nice. Here are some great alternatives which are much safer than most perfumes:
This deodorant contains shea butter that moisturizes your skin, but most importantly, it doesn’t contain aluminum, baking soda, and parabens, which could cause problems when breastfeeding.
You can get a 3-pack for just about $20.
Most body washes are scented and include ingredients that you should avoid when breastfeeding. However, this face and body wash by Honest was created specifically for pregnant and breastfeeding women who want to continue taking care of their skin.
Mama’s Gotta Glow doesn’t contain BHAs, retinols, SLS/SLES, benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, and over 3,500 other possibly toxic ingredients that could harm your baby when you’re breastfeeding.
You can buy a 236ml (8 Fl. Oz.) tube for just about $14.99.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
(Q): Can I Use Essential Oils When Breastfeeding?
(A): There isn’t much research done on the effects of essential oil use when breastfeeding. However, you should avoid applying essential oil on your breasts, and some oils, including oregano, peppermint, and wintergreen, are known to irritate babies.
(Q): Can I Use Scented Shampoo When Breastfeeding?
(A): Most scented shampoos contain phthalates and parabens, so we advise against using scented shampoos when you’re breastfeeding. It’s always best to opt-in for scent-free alternatives to protect the health of your newborn.
Breastfeeding requires a lot from the mother and refraining from wearing perfume and other scented products is one of the things. We hope this article helped you understand what ingredients you should avoid, and we wish all the best to you and your newborn!