Now that your bundle of joy is here, you’re likely feeling a variety of emotions and learning all the best ways to care for your baby.
If you like to tan, you may also be wondering if this is safe while you’re nursing, since your breasts may be explored to sun rays or tanning products.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when you want to get a summer-ready glow while ensuring that your breast milk is safe for your little one to consume.
Tanning in a Tanning Bed
Tanning while breastfeeding is generally considered safe. However, tanning beds themselves could have potential health dangers that could affect your body. Tanning beds have been connected to melanoma or skin cancer, a condition that most people can avoid by taking care of their skin and not being explored to UVA or UVB rays for too long. If you’re going tanning while breastfeeding, it’s important to cover your breasts and nipples so that the harsh rays won’t affect the skin on the breast or your milk supply.
It’s also important to use airbrush tanning products with caution. If you use airbrush tanning products while breastfeeding, be sure to remove all the product from your breasts before you nurse your baby. Or, avoid putting the product on your breast altogether. While you may be thinking that you want to achieve an even tan on all your skin, consider the fact that your breasts will likely not be exposed as much as your arms and legs so you don’t need to tan them.
Tanning Lotion While Breastfeeding
Tanning lotions are safer to use than tanning beds. This is because the lotion is topical and gets into the cells of the skin, but not the bloodstream. This means that the lotion won’t get into your breastmilk. However, you should still clean the lotion from your breast before feeding your baby, the reason why is in the funny video below.
The lotion is also safer for your skin, since you can get the effects you want without having to expose yourself to the sun’s harmful rays. If your baby comes in contact with the self-tanner, this could irritate his/her skin and may cause an allergic reaction. Ironically, dihydroxyacetone or DHA was once used as a medication for children, which is how it was discovered as an effective tanning agent. In the 1950s, a nurse working in Cincinnati realized that the chemical darkened children’s skin when the medicine was applied topically.
It is also recommended that you take a beta-carotene supplement before visiting a tanning salon to protect your skin. This is a nutrient found in vegetables like carrots and squash. Once the substance gets into your body, it is converted to vitamin A, which is a beneficial antioxidant that shields your skin from free radicals and other harmful compounds.
What About Natural Tanning? (Outside in the Sun)
If you want to spend some time in the sun to get a healthy tan, be sure to use a sunscreen with an SPF of between 35 and 50, especially if you’ll be in the sun for extended periods of time. If your baby will in the sun with you, keep in mind that your time in the sun should be limited. Your little one’s skin is very delicate and can’t be exposed to the sun’s rays for more than a few minutes at a time. Be sure to put a sunscreen formulated for your baby’s skin on your little one before going outside, and reapply every 15 minutes or so to make sure your child’s skin is safe.
Overall, if you want to improve the look of your skin, tanning may be an option. It’s best to proceed with caution, not only to protect your skin but to ensure that your baby is safe while you’re nursing.