My postpartum hair was a postpartum nightmare. Sure, my hair is normally not the greatest or easiest to deal with, but it became especially unruly after having my babies. It fell out, it got curlier, frizzier, and I still have a weird wisp of hair that is just not right. I'll admit, I never considered a supplement specifically for my hair, but maybe I should have. The internet is all abuzz with SugarBearHair vitamins, claiming extraordinary results, but for postpartum moms, is it safe? Can you take SugarBearHair vitamins while you're breastfeeding?
According to their website, the makers of the SugarBearHair vitamins recommend you speak to your doctor or nutritionist before taking the supplement while pregnant or breastfeeding. This may feel like a regular safety disclaimer, but there's more to it than that. The main ingredients in the supplement they tout are vitamins A, E, and biotin. While some researchers argue that the risks of these to the nursing baby are minimal, with an excess of biotin, the risk isn't ruled out. However, too much of any fat soluble vitamin is contraindicated for breastfeeding, according to Kelly Mom, and with the high levels of both A and E in the vitamin, there is a level of risk to the baby that cannot be ruled out by current data.
I spoke with certified lactation consultant Angela Stoltzfuss, and she tells Romper that supplements like these are tricky. "Some doctors will tell you it's OK because the risk is minimal, and some are more cautious and tell you to avoid them and just continue taking your prenatal vitamins." True story, I'm like, 60 months postpartum (if I keep using months, I can still call my love handles baby weight instead of KitKat weight) and I'm still on prenatal vitamins. What can I say, I think it does great things for my fingernails, and they are on a rotating Amazon order. Changing my routine would be very complicated at this point, and I'm not really ready to break my commitment.
Stoltzfuss says that "the risk of the supplements in these vitamins is along the lines of others that simply can't be ruled out. I will say that too much biotin and vitamin A can make some women feel like crap. Diarrhea, nausea, headaches, cramping, that sort of thing. Also, there is some evidence that excessive biotin consumption changes the flavor of your milk." I mean, I've never done a tasting of my breast milk, but my kids seemed to be fans, and I'd rather not rock the boat with that one, because boobs really only have one job, and I like to be a good boob owner and provide them the proper tools for it, not hamstring their ability to drive on down to Flavortown.
Stoltzfuss adds that this is one of those cases where you're balancing risk and reward. Yes, your hair may look like the cross between Donald Trump and 1978 Stevie Nicks, and it might be harder to tame than a rabid honey badger, but is it worth the risk? Even if there only exists a small chance that something could happen to your baby or affect your milk, is your hair that important?
Trust me, I get bad hair. I have genuinely awful hair given to thin patches and wiry white coils stemming from my temples like the Bride of Frankenstein. I also breastfed my babies, and understand how that can exacerbate the problems. Ask your OB-GYN or pediatrician if you really want to try SugarBearHair vitamins, but honestly, do you know what else is a wonderful invention of man? Silk scarves. Those puppies look ever so chic when tied properly over your hair, and no one can see or give a damn what's happening beneath them. I have many.
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