What To Know About Getting Botox While Breastfeeding

Does Botox get passed to breast milk and go to the baby? What are the side effects? Here's what you should know before getting Botox while breastfeeding.

Medically reviewed by Rebecca Agi, MS, IBCLC

If you're a nursing parent who gets chronic migraines or is considering doing a treatment to reduce wrinkles, you may be wondering if you can get Botox while breastfeeding. There isn't direct research on this question, but most experts agree that getting Botox while breastfeeding is unlikely to harm your baby, particularly if you breastfeed before the procedure rather than right afterward. Learn more about the safety of getting Botox while breastfeeding.

Adam Gault / Getty Images
Adam Gault / Getty Images

What Is Botox?

Botox (onabotulinumtoxin A) is a prescription medication made from the bacteria Clostridium botulinum type A. The botulinum toxins produced by these bacteria are called neurotoxins. They are the same toxins that cause botulism, a serious and sometimes fatal illness. Neurotoxins are a type of poison that affects the nervous system. They can target the nerves and the nerve tissues in the body.

Uses of Botox

Botox is used in many medical procedures. It is most commonly used by dermatologists and plastic surgeons for cosmetic reasons.

What Do Botox Injections Do?

When it is injected into the face, Botox smooths out fine lines and improves the appearance of wrinkles.

Botox is also used to treat cerebral palsy, chronic migraines, severe neck spasms, anal fissures, excessive sweating, strabismus (crossing of the eyes), temporomandibular joint(TMJ) disorder, and other medical conditions.

How Botox Works

Botox is given by injection directly into the muscle. It works by blocking the activity of the nerves in the area that it's injected into, causing a paralysis of the muscle. The effects of Botox are temporary, and the injections will need to be repeated in a few months' time to maintain results.

Is It Safe to Get Botox While Breastfeeding?

There is very little data available on the safety of Botox use during breastfeeding. But, here's what we do know:

  • There is only a small amount of purified botulinum toxin type A in each injection of Botox.

  • It appears that the use of Botox injections during breastfeeding is unlikely to cause any harm to the baby.

Even though the toxins are not likely to pass to the baby through the breast milk, it may be best to breastfeed before the Botox injection and then wait a few hours after receiving it before breastfeeding again. By waiting a few hours, it can further reduce the chances of passing any medication to the baby.

Related: Foods to Avoid While Breastfeeding—And Ones That Are Safe

Warnings About Botox

Botulinum toxin is very dangerous and even deadly. To prevent serious illness and side effects, Botox injections should be prescribed by a doctor and given by a licensed medical professional. A doctor will be able to prescribe the correct dose, and a licensed medical professional will know how to inject the medication properly into the muscle.

Do not use any type of botulinum toxin that isn't prescribed by your doctor. Vials of botulinum toxin bought online or from an unreliable source can contain unsafe levels of toxins. Fake Botox, contaminated medications, medications given in the wrong doses, and medications not injected correctly can, and have, caused disfigurement and death.

Side Effects of Botox

The side effects of Botox can include pain, swelling, and bruising at the site of the injection, dry mouth, headache, and fatigue.

Botox can also cause more serious side effects. If the botulinum toxin spreads out beyond the site that's being treated, it can cause a life-threatening situation. Call the doctor immediately for any of the following:

  • Difficulty swallowing

  • Trouble talking

  • Muscle weakness

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Droopy eyelids

  • Blurred vision

  • Signs of an allergic reaction include itching, rash, hives, and wheezing

Although side effects in the breastfed baby are not expected, monitor your baby for signs of weakness or stomach problems.

Related: CBD and Breastfeeding: Is It Safe?

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