Breastfeeding is one of the activities that help create bonding between mother and child. It brings miracles but also comes with fatigue. Nursing moms often go through dramatic physical changes. One of them is sudoresis, which can significantly affect their health and is incredibly annoying in daily life.
So, how to deal with body odor while breastfeeding? Its key is maintaining effective personal hygiene and using natural deodorants.
To learn more about the causes and solutions to this problem, read on!
Why Do You Smell So Bad When Breastfeeding?
Postpartum body odor can be a nightmare for first-time mothers because they don’t have enough experience. However, rest assured that it is not an overwhelming problem.
A newborn baby is a fragile entity, not only in appearance but also in senses.
Your baby’s vision and hearing are not yet fully developed. Therefore, the baby’s feelings will be like being in an isolated cocoon.
Fortunately, their sense of smell is susceptible. According to Dr. Jessica Shepherd, MD, OB/GYN, the maternal scent is an upbeat guide to direct coordinated actions for feeding.
Simply put, your body odor is a signal for babies to distinguish their mother and lead it to the breast. It is the way of communication between mother and child.
This scent is also said to encourage the baby to eat more during breastfeeding.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding are a roller coaster ride. It brings about fluctuating emotions and even hormones. People sweat all the time, whether they’re pregnant or not. However, the body’s hormonal changes during pregnancy cause them to sweat more.
The main reason for sweating is the breakdown of fat secretions in the apocrine glands located in the armpits or around the areola and nipples. Sweat is the leading cause of sudoresis. A nursing mother’s body also secretes more pheromones to entice the baby to suckle. So it will have a more pungent smell than usual.
According to Dr. Aditi Gupta Jha, sweat is also a way for the body to get rid of excess fluid. You will receive 160% more blood to provide nutrients for circulation through the baby’s placenta during pregnancy. This mass needs to return to its original state after birth. So, it’s completely normal to sweat more after giving birth and breastfeeding.
Another reason can come from excess lipase in breast milk. This enzyme breaks down fat to help the milk mix. In excess, this enzyme causes a soapy or sour smell around your breasts. Even so, it does not affect the quality of breast milk and the baby’s health.
You can also rest assured that your body will adjust its lipase dosage over time.
External factors can also affect a mother’s postpartum body odor.
After experiencing the feeling of giving birth, the mother will often be exhausted and very tired. Therefore, they need to limit bathing too much because they are prone to colds.
You may also experience other triggers, such as the baby’s saliva around the areola or breast milk on clothes. If you don’t notice them early, they will leave a sour smell.
Changes in the pH of the vagina, old blood remaining due to moisture, lochia, and hormonal fluctuations are also causes of sudoresis.
In addition, mothers spread about the potential dangers of using typical deodorants. They believe that deodorants or perfumes with a strong odor can pass into breast milk while breastfeeding. It can also mess up the baby’s sense of smell.
Ways to Get Rid Of Body Odor While Breastfeeding
Although postpartum sudoresis will fade over time, it is still a problem for women. If you are self-conscious, this problem will lower your self-confidence and sometimes irritate those around you.
So, is there a way to reduce or eliminate unpleasant body odors during nursing? Let’s have a look at the methods below.
One of the simplest methods to get rid of body odor is to drink plenty of water.
Water can flush toxins and waste out through your urines. As a result, your sweat won’t smell too bad.
Drinking lots of water also brings many benefits to your health. Not only mothers, everyone should drink enough water that the body needs every day.
Use Deodorants And Antiperspirants
You should consider using an unscented deodorant to clean your body during postpartum. It is also a great way to manage a healthier microbiome.
Chemicals applied to the skin can be absorbed and passed into breast milk, so you should avoid products with hormone disruptors like parabens or phthalates. A better option is to use natural, plant-based deodorants.
A few other moms shared an easy-to-make deodorant recipe at home. You just need to dilute the vinegar to water in a ratio of 1:3 and put it in a spray bottle.
You can also check out another DIY deodorant recipe in the video below.
Milk Of Magnesia
Magnesium hydroxide is one of the safest substances and has no side effects on breast milk or the baby. Therefore, products containing magnesium are a good choice for nursing mothers.
You can use Milk Of Magnesia as a method of preventing sudoresis. Many mothers have given positive reviews about the effects it brings.
Using Milk Of Magnesia is very simple. You can soak a cotton ball in milk and apply it to the areas of the skin that smell. As the water evaporates, it leaves a paste around the skin.
One piece of advice is that you need to consult a doctor or medical professional to make sure that your body is not allergic to any of the product’s ingredients.
Eliminate Excessive Hair
Excess body hair, such as armpit hair, is an ideal environment for bacteria to grow. Sweat often sticks to this area and causes an unpleasant odor.
So, to make sure your body stays clean, always shave those areas.
Wear Breathable Materials
If moisture is the problem, you can apply baby powder to the problem areas.
Wear breathable materials like cotton to help your body breathe better so sweat doesn’t collect. Not only does it help keep your body cool and comfortable, but it also prevents odors from developing.
Frequent Personal Hygiene
Regular bathing can be difficult for new mothers because they don’t have much energy left. However, you should still clean your body.
Instead of bathing your entire body, use a warm washcloth to clean your private parts and underarms. This action will help remove excess blood, sweat, secretions, or breast milk.
You should regularly brush your teeth if you feel bad breath. If not, try carrying a breather or making your mouthwash at home with mint, water, and lemon.
Elevated hormone levels also cause constipation and uncontrolled farts. If you have this problem, talk to your doctor to get the proper treatment.
Adjust Your Diet
The foods you consume every day also affect the way your body smells. So, pay attention to your diet.
It is better to avoid foods rich in sulfur. It includes red meat, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, etc.), and strong spices.
Mothers should also avoid alcohol because it affects the circulatory and nervous systems. As a result, your heart rate increases, and blood vessels widen in your skin, causing more sweating.
Finally, you need to limit stimulants like coffee because it stimulates the activity of apocrine sweat glands.
Now you know ways to get rid of body odor while breastfeeding. As long as you pay attention to maintaining body hygiene and use benign deodorants, people will not be able to recognize your body odor.
This scent is a gift that mother nature has given to mothers. Instead of using extreme measures, please understand and find the most gentle solution. Thank you for reading!