After going through 8 to 9 months of restraining ourselves from certain types of food, medication, and activities, the next set of questions we usually ask usually revolve around what the restrictions are during breastfeeding. One specific question a lot of moms ask is, “Pwede ba akong magpa-rebond?”
So pwede nga ba? We asked two doctors about this and this is what they had to say about the most common beauty treatments.
Hair Rebonding, Hair Spa, Hot Oil, Hair Color
Dr. Raissa: We do not have evidence that hair treatments and hair care products have any effect on breastfeeding. I tell my breastfeeding moms to go ahead if they really want to. I understand how uplifting it can be to even just have a haircut after giving birth! But they have to check first if their scalp is not irritated, to begin with, because the chemicals might be absorbed more if there is any break in the skin or scalp. Also consider the scent or the smell of the products to be used, which can be very irritating to our babies.
Waxing (Eyebrow, Underarm, Legs, Bikini)
Dr. Raissa: Again, so far, there is no evidence that products used for waxing have any effect on breastfeeding. Always be cautious though and test first on a small area to check for any untoward or allergic reactions. And perhaps, while still breastfeeding, do not use such for the areola area.
Dr. Kat: Waxing just involves physical removal of hair so it should have no effect on breastmilk or breastfeeding.
Massage (Swedish, Shiatsu, Hilot, Foot Reflexology, etc)
Dr. Raissa: These techniques can actually help a mom rest, relax, and rejuvenate, which in turn can help a breastfeeding mom with her milk supply.
Dr. Kat: In the early postpartum period, make sure to have the massage done by a therapist qualified to do postpartum massage as there may be certain pressure points to avoid or considerations for women who have had C-sections and epidural injections. Make sure you have your doctor’s go signal.
Manicure, Pedicure, Foot Spa
Dr. Raissa: Again, so far, there is no evidence that products used for manicure, pedicure, foot spa have an effect on breastfeeding.
Dr. Kat: Manicure and pedicure are okay. It is best for moms to sport short clean nails to avoid collecting dirt and germs in her nails and to avoid scratching baby’s skin.
Dr. Raissa: There is also no evidence that skin whitening has an effect on breastfeeding.
Dr. Kat: There are not enough studies on skin whitening safety in lactating women. If it is not urgent, it can probably wait until mom is no longer breastfeeding. Late last year, the Philippine Dermatological Society released a statement warning the public on the use of IV glutathione because it is not FDA approved and its safety as a skin whitener has not been firmly established.
Permanent Make-up (ex. Microblading)
Dr. Kat: Microblading and permanent make-up are similar to tattooing in that a small cut is made on the skin, so the same safety precautions and risks apply. Of course, measures are taken to prevent infection, but still, there is that very slight possibility, especially when the client does not observe proper after-care. I have spoken to a couple of accredited brow/permanent make-up artists, and most have said that it is best to defer the procedure. The skin may be swollen or stretched in the early postpartum period so whatever you apply may change in shape after some time. Pigment retention and color may also be affected by hormones. You also have to consider the amount of time spent on the procedure (ranges from 1.5 to 3 hours). There is really no rush to do these procedures so it is wise to wait.
And to sum it all up, according to both doctors, it is always best to consult your doctor before undergoing a procedure. And when in doubt, wait it out.
Special thanks to our pediatrician moms who provided a better understanding of the do’s and don’ts when it comes to beauty regimen when breastfeeding.
Dr. Raissa Paje-Bayawa is a Pediatrician and a breastfeeding advocate and counselor in Cagayan de Oro City. She is also a yoga instructor for pregnant women, postnatal moms, kids, and adults. She conducts quarterly baby care and breastfeeding workshops too! To know more about her, check out happyheartkids.com
Dr. Kat Trebol-Villapando is a Pediatrician and Lactation Specialist based in Bacolod City. She runs her own breastfeeding support group, teaches breastfeeding and newborn care classes, and offers postpartum lactation support services. On top of that, she is also a make-up artist. Know more about her and what she does through @babystepsbacolod.