Can you detox while breastfeeding? - Evidence Based Babies
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can you detox while breastfeeding

Can you detox while breastfeeding?

You might be familiar with detoxing, or it may recently have been mentioned to you. Whether it’s to clean your body from toxins, or because you want to lose weight. You may be interested in detoxing, and you may be wondering whether you can detox while breastfeeding and whether it can affect your milk supply or the health of your baby.

What is a detox?

A detox is believed to be a way to get toxins and other waste products out of your body. Sometimes, they are referred to as cleanses.

Detoxes are believed to help support your body’s natural ability to remove heavy metals and harmful toxins to help you stay healthy and strong.

Types of Detoxes

There are a variety of detox methods you can try. Some are safer than others. Here are a few of the most common detoxing methods.

Detox Diet

There are tons of special diets that can help with the removal of toxins from your body. Not eating junk food is a big part of it, and it usually involves eating natural ingredients and whole foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, leafy greens, and sometimes whole grains and healthy fats.

Sometimes, a detox diet includes fasting for a period of time as well and then starting slowly with healthy foods. This is to help clear out the digestive system.

Usually, if you are using a healthy diet with a detox program, they will often use caloric restriction, which can cause some health problems if you are not careful.

Detox Drinks

Juice cleansing is another common way to detox your body. Many will use vegetable juices or make fresh juice themselves and drink those throughout the day.

Detox teas are also an excellent way to detox your body. Usually, teas don’t have drastic changes and are potentially a safer option.

Many herbal teas will help with kidney function and help you support a healthy lifestyle as they naturally detox your body using herbs and pure water.

Herbal Medicines

Similar to herbal teas, there are also a few herbal medicines that can help support detoxing your body. These can be in the form of a supplement or herbal tincture.

Colon Cleansing

Using laxatives or enemas is another form of cleaning out toxins from your body. It is best to speak to your healthcare provider about this, as there are some potential risks with this type of detox.

Other Regimens

People can make many lifestyle changes to help detox their bodies without significant changes naturally.

These can include:

● Dry brushing
● Detox baths
● Deep breathing
● Oil pulling
● Physical exercise

The benefits of Detoxing

There’s almost no research done on detoxing, especially not while breastfeeding. So, there is no guaranteed benefits, if any to detoxing while breastfeeding. But there are some of the claimed benefits that some people have reported.

  • Better sleep
  • Improved energy levels
  • Healing of the tissues damaged during birth and pregnancy
  • A complete rejuvenation of the digestive organs, lungs, liver, and skin
  • Weight loss because of loss of unnecessary fluid and water in the body
  • Less irritability for the mother as the mother feels more energetic and rejuvenated

The risks of detoxing

Severe calorie restriction

Several detox diets recommend fasting or severe calorie restriction. Short-term fasting and limited calorie intake can result in fatigue, irritability, and bad breath.

Long-term fasting can result in energy, vitamin, and mineral deficiencies, electrolyte imbalance, and even death.

Colon detoxing methods can cause dehydration, cramping, bloating, nausea, and vomiting.

A possibility of overdosing

Some detox diets can increase the risk of overdosing when using supplements, laxatives and diuretics.

Some methods recommend excessive herbal tea, juice or water intake as part of the detoxing method, which can lead to many issues including electrolyte imbalances and even water intoxication.

What does the research say about detoxing?

There is little to no research available on detoxification methods.

One study done in 2017 found that initially, a detox diet and juicing caused rapid weight loss, but because it wasn’t a balanced diet or a healthy way of living, people gained the weight right back.

Another study was done on people who were exposed to harmful substances and who followed a detox program that used healthy habits like vitamins, physical exercise, and saunas, and they found some success.

Although the detox industry is booming, there is very little clinical evidence to support the use of these diets. A handful of clinical studies have shown that commercial detox diets enhance liver detoxification and eliminate persistent organic pollutants from the body, although these studies are hampered by flawed methodologies and small sample sizes.

Overall, there isn’t enough scientific data to prove detoxing is very successful or safe. More research is needed.

Is it safe to detox while breastfeeding?

Because many detox diets or programs do not involve healthy habits, it is not a good idea for a nursing mother to do a detox.

Certain ones are not very safe and can cause medical conditions, hurt your immune system, and can lower your energy levels.

Plus, most of the diets for a detox limit your calorie intake, so you won’t be getting enough calories or nutrients to support your milk production.

If you want a healthy milk supply, new moms should not do a special detox diet. Your breastfeeding body is already going through a lot, and you don’t want to ruin your breast milk supply.

Can you drink detox tea while breastfeeding?

There is not much research showing if drinking a detox tea while breastfeeding is safe. Most teas contain herbs, which can help a breastfeeding mom get nutrients in a safe way, but it is important to talk to your healthcare provider to ensure that the herbs in the tea are safe for breastfeeding.

Generally, chamomile or ginger tea can be safe while breastfeeding. Both of these herbs can help with your digestion. Be sure to ask your doctor before trying.

Can you take detox pills while breastfeeding?

It’s not recommended to take detox pills while you’re breastfeeding as it may contain ingredients that can be harmful to your baby. It’s important that you consult with a healthcare provider before starting any detox regimen, especially while breastfeeding.

Can you do a colon cleanse while breastfeeding?

Doing a colon cleanse is not recommended while breastfeeding as it may cause dehydration and affect the breast milk supply. It is important to consult with an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) healthcare provider before starting any detox regimen while breastfeeding.

Healthy ways you can detox while you’re breastfeeding

That being said, there are healthy ways to do a “safe detox,” so to speak, as a breastfeeding mother.

Drink water

One of the best ways to do this is to drink a lot of water, which is a great way to improve your overall health too. Drinking water is a safe way to help clear out the toxic load in your body by helping your kidneys.

Drink natural fruit juices

Include lots of fresh natural juice in your daily diet. You can easily combine various fruits and vegetables and enjoy a new flavor every day. The juices will keep you hydrated and boost your bowel movement and kidney functioning

Eat healthy

Drinking fresh juices and eating organic foods can also help your body’s natural ability to detox. Make sure to maintain proper nutrition, as new mothers need to eat plenty of nutritious food and sometimes even extra calories to help keep a strong milk supply.

Make sure to add more nutrient-dense foods to your diet, like lean meats, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Do your best to avoid processed foods, as most contain toxins you are trying to eliminate.

Add in fiber

Adding fiber to your diet can make a big difference as it helps clear out your digestive system naturally as well.

Exercise regularly

Exercising will make you sweat, which is a great way to flush out toxins in your body. When it is safe for you to exercise after giving birth, trying to go for walks and doing some light exercise.

Continue prenatal vitamin

Your prenatal vitamins contain many vitamins and nutrients your body will continue to need after you give birth. It is always a good idea to continue taking them, especially while breastfeeding.

These vitamins will help with your energy needs and can help keep your body healthy and running properly.

Get enough sleep

Try to get as much sleep as you can. This will help your body to rest, recover, and replenish from the detoxing.

Plus, while you sleep, your liver and kidney usually will detox naturally, so the more sleep you can get, the better!

Oil pulling

Oil pulling can help with heavy metals and toxins in your mouth and is a form of detoxing in Ayurvedic practices.

Usually, you would use coconut oil, swish it in your mouth for minutes, and then spit it out.

Limit caffeine

We all know that caffeine can affect our health and it can transfer into our breastmilk which can also affect some babies. So, keeping caffeine intake to a limit is a good idea for many reasons.

Stay away from highly processed foods

Steer clear from processed foods like fast foods and sugary stuff as they only increase the toxins in the body and is overall unhealthy for you in many ways.

Understanding and dealing with cravings

Cravings are a common experience while breastfeeding, and it’s important to understand and manage them to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Cravings are often triggered by hormonal changes and nutrient deficiencies that occur in everyday life, but also during lactation.

To help manage your cravings, you’ll have to maintain a healthy and balanced diet. Eating nutrient-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, proteins and whole grains, can help reduce cravings for processed foods.

Limiting your intake of processed foods and any foods that are very high in sugar, salt and fat will also help with not only limiting your cravings, but also to live a much healthier lifestyle.

If you suspect any nutrient deficiencies, contact your healthcare provider for further testing and treatment where necessary. Consulting with a registered dietician in cases like these will be very helpful too.

Important notes on detoxing while breastfeeding

Certain detoxes can be done while breastfeeding, but it has to be done carefully, taking the milk supply into consideration.

Rather option for more healthy and safer ways to detox such as changing to a healthy diet, exercising and getting plenty of rest. Although it sounds very basic, doing this will make a big difference in your health.

Detoxing has very little to absolutely no research done on it, so no one truly knows whether it really works and whether it’s safe to do, especially while breastfeeding. Instead, a healthy and balanced diet and lifestyle is the best recommendation not only for breastfeeding mothers, but for everyone else too.

Something important to remember is that your body is always detoxing naturally. This isn’t something that only happens with detoxing methods and diets. Everything from the hormones your body naturally produces, the food you eat, the supplements you take and the environment you live in all effects the process of your body detoxing naturally.

If you ever need more information related to breastfeeding, contact an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC).

If you ever need more information or support related to your or your baby’s health, contact your healthcare professional.

Additional information and resources

“Detoxes” and “Cleanses”: What You Need To Know

Detox diets for toxin elimination and weight management: a critical review of the evidence

Effect of toxic trace element detoxification, body fat reduction following four-week intake of the Wellnessup diet: a three-arm, randomized clinical trial

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