After pregnancy, many, if not all women struggle to lose their excess baby weight. It’s not something to feel bad about, in fact, even professional athletes with the most rigorous workout routines and stringent diets are not immune to the weight gain that comes with pregnancy. So, relax— it’s totally natural!
If the extra pounds have become a heavy burden to bear, the first steps to getting in shape are to eat healthily and get active. Your diet is especially important if you plan on breastfeeding your baby because what you eat directly affects the quality of your milk.
|Normal Components of Breast Milk||Substances that can Alter Milk or its Production|
|Amino acids & proteins||Alcohol|
|Docosahexanoic acid (DHA)||Antidepressants|
|Bioactive components & immune cells||Metronidazole|
|Vitamins A, B-complex, D, and Iodine||Retinoids|
Detoxing is said to be a good way to jumpstart a healthy lifestyle, regardless if you’re a new mom or just looking to make good on your New Year’s resolutions. Before diving headfirst into a new fad diet or splurging on expensive products, it’s important to know what things are both effective and safe for both you and your baby!
Is it safe to detox while breastfeeding?
Like most health-related queries, the answer is not black and white. Every person is unique, and our bodies handle substances and stressors differently, which may even change over time in an individual. On top of that, pregnant and nursing women are considered part of a special population wherein additional precautions should be taken before any new treatment.
Can detoxing be done while breastfeeding? Yes, it can be done – BUT, not all types of detoxification methods are recommended while lactating and breastfeeding. It’s important to consult with a doctor if you plan on taking any detox products or diet plans.
Colon cleanse while breastfeeding
One of the staples of detoxing is colon cleansing. Which makes sense because the colon is where the body stores and eliminates most of its wastes and toxins. Colon detoxification usually involves the use of laxatives or high-fiber juices, which trigger bowel movements and may provide the immediate perception of cleansing and weight loss. You may even notice that a few pounds have been dropped the next time you step on the scale.
It’s important to note that prolonged use of colon cleansers is detrimental to your health. It can disrupt the normal rhythm of your bowel movements which can worsen the feeling of heaviness and toxin build-up or cause diarrhea. While detoxing, it is important to eat and drink enough to prevent severe dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. Frequent bowel evacuation can also hinder nutrient production and absorption, potentially leading to serious adverse effects and even death. (NCCIH, 2019)
Colon cleansing itself does not pose a threat to normal breastfeeding, but as previously mentioned, proper hydration and nutrition are essential. A nursing mother requires more water and nutrients in order to produce enough quality milk for her baby. Cleansing juices won’t cut it here, because these are limited in macronutrients and calories. (Nall, 2018)
Saltwater flush while breastfeeding
Saltwater flushing is one method that supplements colon cleansing. It is said to help with weight loss by improving digestion and shed excess water weight. When administered rectally, saltwater flushes work to clean the colon is through its hyperosmolar property, which effectively pulls water and, presumably, toxins along with it. In clinical practice, saline laxatives are mainly used prior to colon surgery and radiologic imaging and occasionally used to treat mild constipation.
This effect may be detrimental to one’s health as it can cause severe dehydration and electrolyte loss, likened to having an episode of stomach flu. For those reasons, saltwater cleanses should be avoided by special populations, including children, the elderly, and pregnant or breastfeeding women. (Smith, 2018)
Sugar control detox while breastfeeding
While diabetes might be the first thing that comes to mind when someone mentions sugar control, limiting carbohydrates such as refined sugar is important for all healthy diets—even more so if you’re trying to lose weight. By decreasing the amount of sugar and carbs you consume, either through fasting or ketogenic diets, your body will be forced to burn its stored fat to utilize as an alternative source of energy.
For lactating women, this may be a slippery slope to tread because breast milk production requires a bit more carbohydrate intake in order to cover both the mother and infant’s energy requirements. Enough fat is also required to produce quality milk. (Bzikowska-Jura et al., 2018)
Limiting sugar is encouraged for most people but cannot be eliminated entirely. Talk to a nutritionist or doctor to determine your baseline needs and plan out an appropriate diet that won’t compromise your breast milk production and nutrient content.
Drug detox while breastfeeding
Because many drugs, both legal and illegal, are carried via the bloodstream and can pass into breast milk it’s imperative to consider the effects on your nursing child. Not all drugs will elicit a noticeable effect on a child due to low potency or concentration in breast milk, however, it’s best to err on the safer side because of the frequency of feeding times and risk of accumulation.
Medical drug detoxification should be done as the first step toward managing withdrawal symptoms associated with drug cessation. It’s not the only step that should be done, but it’s definitely an important one on the road to recovery. (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2016)
Drug detoxing should be done ideally before pregnancy, but anytime is better than none at all. While detoxing, it may be a good idea to take a break from breastfeeding until blood tests determine your system is clean. Symptoms of withdrawal may make the act of breastfeeding difficult and changes in your mood could also affect your intimacy with your baby.
Arbonne 30-day detox while breastfeeding
Arbonne is a company with a belief in a holistic approach to beauty and overall health from the inside out. Their product philosophy is built on four key factors: using plant-based ingredients, high cleanliness standards, collaboration with experts, and scientific testing—all of which are said to contribute to the effectiveness of their 30-day detox.
Arbonne’s detox system includes a “30 Days to Healthy Living” support guide, which can be downloaded for free from their official website. The support guide outlines the various benefits of lifestyle alterations on the body and skin, namely, to improve digestion, reduce stress, and slow down signs of aging. (Arbonne, 2020)
The healthy eating plan includes a list of useful tips and lists, indicating what food is considered good and bad. In conjunction with a balanced diet, the detox plan incorporates Arbonne Essentials® Protein Shake Mix, Digestion Plus powder, Herbal Detox Tea, Energy Fizz Sticks— each with Greens Balance, Body Cleanse, and Daily Fiber Boost variants.
The support guide as a whole is well-balanced and promotes good health even without the Arbonne products sprinkled throughout. Although everything looks to be in order, it’s important to note that none of the products are FDA approved and the nutrition fact labels are not shown in the guide.
If you are currently breastfeeding and are sold on doing the Arbonne 30-day program, there is nothing really to lose by trying, save for unwanted pounds. If you are allergic to any ingredients listed in any of the products or recipes, do not include them in your plan. There are no guidelines presented for breastfeeding women, but the key guidelines for adults should suffice. The skincare products included as part of the 30-day program are also considered safe to use while nursing.
Consult with your doctor before taking Arbonne products or if you have been taking them and are planning on breastfeeding. Always check the product labels for the ingredient list as well as any allergens.
Intermittent fasting while breastfeeding
Although fasting is not the same as detoxing, the two often go hand in hand (recall sugar control detoxing). In some religions, fasting is a form of spiritual cleansing and brings a sense of renewal to the mind and body. Scientifically, fasting helps to “reset” our metabolism, encouraging the utilization of stored fat and optimizing cellular regeneration.
Intermittent fasting has become quite the buzzword in the health and wellness world— and for good reason! Studies have shown that intermittent fasting can reduce inflammation and free radical production which slows down the aging process and can add years to a person’s life. (De Cabo & Mattson, 2019)
Despite the acclaimed benefits of intermittent fasting, not everyone can or should do it. Intermittent fasting does not dictate what a person should eat, it just merely sets a window wherein you can’t consume any calories. The most popular are the 16:8 (16 hours of fasting and 8 hours of eating) and EOD (every other day) fasting schedules.
For lactating women, successful fasting may be difficult because of your baby’s frequent or erratic feeding times. In addition, lactation women should be consuming additional calories, macronutrients, and vitamins to produce nutritious milk. Intermittent fasting may result in inadequate, imbalanced meals simply because there is only so much a person can eat in a short timeframe. (Marcin, 2020)
Although not entirely harmful, the potential risks may not be worth the trouble. As always, it is important to consult with a doctor before making any drastic changes to your diet.
Arbonne. (2020, January). Arbonne IS Healthy Living. Retrieved January 20, 2020, from https://www.arbonne.com/discover/products/30-days-to-healthy-living-and-beyond.shtml
Bzikowska-Jura, A., Czerwonogrodzka-Senczyna, A., Olędzka, G., Szostak-Węgierek, D., Weker, H., & Wesołowska, A. (2018). Maternal Nutrition and Body Composition During Breastfeeding: Association with Human Milk Composition. Nutrients, 10(10), 1379. doi: 10.3390/nu10101379
De Cabo, R., & Mattson, M. P. (2019). Effects of Intermittent Fasting on Health, Aging, and Disease. New England Journal of Medicine, 381(26), 2541–2551. doi: 10.1056/nejmra1905136
Marcin, A. (2020, January 16). Is Intermittent Fasting While Breastfeeding Safe? A How-To. Retrieved January 19, 2020, from https://www.healthline.com/health/breastfeeding/intermittent-fasting-breastfeeding
Nall, R. (2018, September 21). Juice cleanse: Benefits, risks, and effects. Retrieved January 20, 2020, from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323136.php
National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2016, February). Medical Detoxification. Retrieved January 20, 2020, from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/teaching-packets/understanding-drug-abuse-addiction/section-iii/7-medical-detoxification
NCCIH. (2019, September 17). “Detoxes” and “Cleanses”: What You Need To Know. Retrieved January 17, 2020, from https://nccih.nih.gov/health/detoxes-cleanses
Smith, L. (2018, April 30). Salt water flush: Effectiveness, risks, and recipes. Retrieved January 18, 2020, from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321680.php