Is it Safe to Tan While Breastfeeding

As a nursing mother, you may question many things when you’re breastfeeding, especially when it comes to the health of your baby. One of these many questions is if tanning is safe when breastfeeding? It’s safe to tan when you’re breastfeeding and it won’t alter the quality of the milk. However, avoid using carotene to enhance your tan, protect your nipples from burning, and keep in mind that exposure to UV rays can cause your skin to age prematurely and increase your chances of cancer.

Because self-tanning products are topically applied, a very small amount is absorbed through your skin and into your bloodstream and your milk. These products shouldn’t be a problem to breastfeeding mums and their babies, but be careful not to apply the tanning product on your breasts and also make sure your baby doesn’t get any in his/her mouth. If you’re going to get a spray tan, wash it off from your breasts before nursing your baby.

Tanning using a tanning bed

A tanning bed is a great way to get a good tan and there’s no evidence that tanning beds have a negative effect on breastfeeding. But it’s always advisable to cover your nipples before you use a tanning bed because the high temperatures in the tanning bed can cause the area around your nipples to dry and you may get sore when you’re breastfeeding. Getting tanned using a tanning bed doesn’t reduce your milk supply or change the quality of your milk.

Avoid staying in a tanning bed for a long period because it can cause problems with your eyes, immune system, wrinkles, and even increase your chances of developing skin cancer. Although tanning beds won’t harm your baby, with prolonged use they can harm your health. So limit the use of tanning beds and stay safe for your little one and if you have to get a tan, carry an umbrella and sit on the beach or your balcony and get a natural tan.

There are a few aspects you need to consider if you’re still going to use a tanning bed for tanning.

  • Tanning in a tanning bed will cause you to sweat a lot and this will dehydrate your skin and this can affect your milk production.
  • Be careful when using tanning products like tanning accelerators, tanning oils, and other tanning products because some of them can get absorbed into your skin and finds it’s way to your bloodstream and the baby’s milk. To be on the safe side, avoid using tanning oils and instead use other oils like coconut oil.
  • According to some studies, some types of sunscreen can get absorbed into your skin and be present in your breast milk. Although this isn’t confirmed, it can be very dangerous for your baby. So if you’re breastfeeding, use sunscreen that only contains zinc oxide or titanium oxide.
  • As you may have found out, your breasts and nipples are very sensitive while you’re breastfeeding, and tanning your breasts and especially your nipples can be painful. If your nipples get burnt it can be amplified because of breastfeeding and you don’t want your baby suckling on burnt nipples. You can use nipple protectors or wear a bikini top to protect your entire breast when tanning.

Tanning lotion

To get a nice tan you can also use a tanning lotion, but choose one with organic, natural, or herbal ingredients that are safe to use on your skin type. However, before you handle your baby or breastfeed, make sure the lotion has been completely absorbed by your skin and avoid applying the lotion on your breasts because it comes off easily and it can easily transfer to your baby. The downside to using these tanning lotions is they mostly contain harsh chemicals that can irritate or cause an allergic reaction when they come into contact with your baby’s delicate skin while breastfeeding. It’s not safe to use a tanning lotion while breastfeeding and you also need to be careful with your safety and that of your baby.

Sun tanning

This is a natural and safest way of getting a tan because all you have to do is wear a good sunscreen and let the sun do the rest. However, don’t forget to keep reapplying your sunscreen if you’re going to spend a lot of time in the sun. Also if you’re going to breastfeed your baby between your tanning sessions, make sure you wash off the sunscreen before because your baby can ingest the sunscreen that can be harmful to his/her health.

Spray tanning

Spray tanning is one of the simplest ways of getting a tan. You get a tan in no time just like a tanning lotion. However, you need to make sure that your spray tan is completely dry before you handle your baby and avoid spraying the area around your nipples or the entire breast area. Although using spray tan has no major complication to breastfeeding, it may cause some irritation or have an allergic reaction if it comes into contact with your baby’s skin. Ensure that your baby is not near when you’re spray tanning to prevent your baby from ingesting the spray tan fumes that can be harmful to your little one.

Breastfeeding and sunscreen

Most people nowadays love the outdoors which means you’re exposing your skin will be exposed to a lot of sun. It’s recommended that you wear sunscreen every day and keep reapplying it after every 2 hours when you’re outdoors. However, some sunscreens contain chemicals that can be found in your bloodstream and breast milk. Nursing mothers are advised to avoid using sunscreens that contain Oxybenzone, a chemical compound that can interfere with your hormones. Instead, go for a sunscreen that uses zinc or titanium oxide because they’re safe to use.

Tanning. Tips for breastfeeding mothers

  • If you’re a nursing mother and you need to breastfeed your baby, here are a few tips you should keep in mind.
  • Before you go for a tanning session, make sure that you let your tanning expert know about your breastfeeding status so that they can take the necessary precautions.
  • If your tanning process is going to take long, ensure that you’re wearing comfortable clothes that will make breastfeeding easy.
  • You can also opt to express and store your baby’s milk because sometimes tanning procedures can take longer than expected and you don’t want to stop in the middle of the session to breastfeed.
  • Avoid nude tanning while breastfeeding because the UV rays in a tanning bed can burn your nipples and this can make breastfeeding very uncomfortable. You can use a breast pad to secure your nipples to prevent them from over-drying while you’re in the tanning bed. Having patched and dried nipples will make it very difficult to breastfeed your baby. Breastfeeding with a sunburn can increase your skin irritation which can be very difficult to control.
  • If you’re getting a spray tan, you can apply some petroleum jelly or barrier cream around your nipple area to prevent the tanning product from getting to these areas.
  • Although no evidence spray tanning while breastfeeding can harm your baby, newborns have a very delicate immune system that is more susceptible to allergens than an adult, so you must use an allergen-free, organic spray tanning product to keep your baby safe.
  • It’s important to note that almost everything you apply topically can get absorbed into your bloodstream and will ultimately end up in your body fat stores, so if you’re breastfeeding it’s best to use paraben-free products and tanning products that you can wash off quickly. 
  • To be on the safe side, always consult your doctor and get your skin checked to help you make an informed decision on what’s best for you and your baby.
  • While nursing it’s important that you stay away from tanning products that are full of chemicals. Opt to use certified organic tanning products that are safe for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers and you can wash off in a few hours.

Final thoughts

There’s no denying that being a mother is the best thing that can happen to a woman, but it demands that you make deliberate choices, especially when you’re breastfeeding. If you’re planning on getting a tan, make sure that you have all the information you need to make an informed decision. Although tanning is a very safe process, it’s always advisable to be cautious. Consult your doctor before using a tanning bed and use the right sunscreen that is safe for you and your baby. And always keep your baby safe from ingesting harmful chemicals that you might apply on your skin like bronzers, tanning oils, and other tanning products.

While basking under the sun is the safest tanning option, other options like using tanning beds, spray tans, and tanning lotions are also great options when there’s no sunlight. But with every tanning procedure, there are the good and bad of using that procedure so you need to choose carefully.