One of the most common questions breastfeeding moms ask is:
Can I have a hair treatment done after giving birth?
A hair treatment, from coloring to perm, can deliver a major self-esteem boost for a new mom who is adjusting to her new body. But a breastfeeding mom worry that unsafe chemicals will seep into the breast milk. So should she skip it?
According to La Leche League International (LLLI), "No evidence exists that the nursing mother's use of hair-care products, such as hair dyes and permanents, has any effect on her breastfeeding baby." Hair-care treatments are regulated as cosmetics by the U.S. and this country's Food and Drugs Administration. (It needs to be said these products don't require a lot of clinical trials to be approved and not a lot of studies have really investigated into the issue.)
Common chemicals in hair dyes and other treatments include but are not limited to hydrogen peroxide, ammonia, and alcohols. Any or all of these chemicals can potentially irritate the skin or scalp, nose, and throat, but a strong smell does not necessarily mean high-level exposure, according to the Organization of Teratology Information Specialists (OTIS)
That said, while hair-care products contain such chemicals, it is unlikely that large amounts of it would find its way to your breast milk because so little of it enters the mom’s bloodstream.
So, yes, technically, a nursing mom can have her hair colored, get a perm, have her hair straightened, or have a hot oil and other hair spa treatments. However, you might want to consider a few more things before heading to the salon.
Is your hair scalp healthy and intact?
"If the mother's scalp is healthy and intact, then less will be absorbed than if the skin on her scalp is scratched or abraded," LLLI cautions.
Are you experiencing postpartum hair fall?
This is a typical effect of your hormones resetting from pregnancy mode. Some women have little to severe hair fall after giving birth. Some new moms experience postpartum hair fall during the first month after delivery. Others notice it staring on the fourth or six months, and could persist for until a year.
Postpartum hair fall is natural, but it's a case-to-case basis, depending on your hair growth cycle. It's not related to breastfeeding per se, but if you have hair fall, you want to put that cash somewhere else.
Will you or your baby be comfortable with the smell?
That depends on you (and your baby will likely let you know). One of the most suggested solutions we hear from moms is to wear a shower cap for the first few weeks, or until the strong chemical odor subsides, whenever you're breastfeeding your baby. Another popular suggestion is to use organic or henna hair color dyes, such as Herbatint (starts at Php1,095 at Healthy Options branches), Radico Organic Hair Color (Php1,200 on Lazada), to name a few.
This story originally appeared on Smartparenting.com.ph.
* Minor edits have been made by the Femalenetwork.com editors.