15 answers

Lemon Detox While Nursing

I am going to be doing a lemon detox. I am currently nursing and supplementing with formula. I am toxic and figure I want to get rid of the toxins so that I am not passing them onto my newborn. I will pump and dump while detoxing for 5 days. Any tips? What day should I start dumping and what day should I resume nursing?
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Doing a lemon detox while nursing can really harm your nursing relationship. Breastfeeding requires an *additional* 600 calories per day. If you severely cut down on your caloric needs, the first thing that will happen is that your body will take what it needs from you in order to feed your baby, which means you will lose nutrients and vitamins that are essential to your survival and well-being. After that, your body just won't have enough building blocks (fat, protein, vitamins, minerals) to make breast-milk at all. I think it would be highly likely that after five days your breast-milk would be seriously diminished, if not gone completely.

I understand that you are worried about passing toxins on to your baby, but the breastmilk that your body makes is pure. I'm not sure exactly what toxins you are talking about (it sounds like you mean from foods you are eating or from the environment) but it's not likely that anything bad in your body can pass through to your breast milk. For instance, even if you have mastitis, your milk is unharmed and will not have any infectious materials in it.

And what's more than that, breastmilk is so important and perfectly formulated for your baby's health needs. Also, it's cold and flu season right now. But you pass antibodies and white blood cells through your breastmilk to your baby to help him fight off whatever is going around.

Now, something like the toxins in a cigarette can be passed through the breastmilk to the baby. However, as I've talked to lactation consultants, they have assured me that it's more important for a smoking mom to breastfeed because of the immeasurable importance and health benefits of breastfeeding. Sure, there is danger in the nasty stuff from cigarettes in breastmilk, but that the good things in breastmilk-- antibodies, white blood cells, personalized nutrition, "good" bacteria--are so important as to outweight the negativity of smoking.

And also, remember that formula doesn't have any of those great things either plus your breastmilk is free. A detox diet that will limit your body's ability to make breastmilk will mean that you will rely more heavily on formula. Breastmilk is full of ingredients and living substances that formula could never replicate!

Just some thoughts to consider.

Childbirth educator, doula

1 mom found this helpful

I hate to tell you this but if you do not nurse your baby for 5 days your baby will more likely not want to nurse again. I also know that you are at risk of losing your milk supply if you do a detox right now (even though your are pumping). All around, if you feel you need to cleanse your body for breast feeding, then try taking another route, make sure you only eat whole pure fruits, vegetables and grains, drink double the water you normally would and be sure you get an ample amount of fat (examples, avacados, raw almonds, etc.) and protein. Your body has a way of cleansing and protecting your baby especially if you make sure what goes in is healthy for the body.

Good luck! It is always nice to hear women going that extra mile to take care of their babies.

I really think you should run this by your OB or midwife. There are several things that may be unhealthy or unsafe about restricting your calorie intake while trying to produce milk. Also while trying to care for a newborn.

Despite many claims, as long as your liver and kidneys function well, you probably are not harboring much in the way of heavy metal or chemical residue. The milk you can feed to your newborn is many times better for her than formula.
While I am all for taking care of yourself and occasional fasting, this is probably not the best time to it.

Dear E B,
I really like what the other girls said. It's also important to remember that there are more toxins to get rid of especially when you are nursing b/c so much is absorbed through the skin and toxins are airborne. I am so passionate about this b/c I have noticed a huge difference in my house and was so blessed to come across this. Good for you for doing what's best for your baby. I nursed both of my babies for a year and loved it!! Best of luck to you and your little guy!!
H. Snoke

Hi E B - I hate to be a bummer but either wean or wait. I strongly discourage you from doing a lemon detox until after you have weaned your baby. (The 5 days away from the breast may do just that.) The lemon detox is harsh and can be dehydrating not to mention you will need as much of your reserves as possible for when you try to resume bf again.

For healthy cleansing, eat liver-friendly foods and avoid alcohol. Eat lots of veggies to increase your fiber, drinks lots of water and add a pro-biotic to your diet.

I totally agree with the other moms who have posted responses so far. Your body is quite effective at eliminating toxins on its own and restricting your intake of calories while nursing is just not a good idea. Skip the "detox" and just eat healthy foods, focusing on vegetables, fruits, whole grains and lean protein, at least until your son is finished nursing.
These are a few articles about detox you may find interesting:


I've heard that this is not a good idea while nursing. Your baby already has the best purified food he can get, so instead of doing a lemonade detox, maybe you could try a whole foods diet which will pretty much do the same thing. Just eating fruits and vegies uncooked so you can get all the nutrients you can. Your body will absorb all the live enzymes you need, and never be hungry! Try this for about a month and see if you have more energy.

Hi, E B. Without knowing your reasoning for considering a detox, here is just some basic info. Breastfeeding mothers are supposed to consume 1500 calories a day minimum. Fasts less than one day have not been shown to reduce supply. Liquid diets and weight loss medication are not recommended. (all from the Breastfeeding Answer Book)
The problem with detox and other specific diets (like Atkins) is that the body sheds impurities through sweat, pee, and breastmilk. You are wise to not want your baby to be filled with these impurities.
If you must detox, I'd suggest saving your breastmilk ahead of time so your baby can continue to receive your milk. To maintain your supply, you will need a high quality pump like a rental or Ameda Purely Yours or Medela Pump-in-style. If your caloric intake is too low for multiple days, your supply may drop regardless of pumping.
To aid in your decision, La Leche League has a handout about environmental contaminants and breastmilk. It might contain info to look at your personal decision. A LLL Leader may be able to mail it to you or email it to you.

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