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The Breastfeeding Sweats

The Breastfeeding Sweats!

By Amalah

Hi Amy! First off – congratulations on pregnancy #3!

My question is about antiperspirant, the “clinical strength” stuff. The label says to apply at night … should I also be applying it in the morning? If I put it on at night and then shower in the morning, won’t it wash away? I have tried both applying antiperspirant at night only and after my shower in the morning, and either way I sweat. I am just a sweaty girl, plus I’m breastfeeding which means even MORE sweat than usual. Suggestions/ideas? I have tried several brands and still … drops of sweat rolling down my arms in even the gentlest hatha yoga class, and basically anytime I wear synthetic materials, or clothing that is remotely fitted around my armpits. That is a sexy image, I know. Any suggestions you or readers can provide would be greatly appreciated:)

Thank you!

Aw, deodorant! It’s been such a long time since we talked about it, and even longer since the last time I lined a scary number of them up on my bathroom counter and acted out an impromptu soap opera with them. (What? IT WAS FUNNY.)

Okay, so…the official instruction for clinical strength deodorant is to apply it at night only. No morning application is (technically, for most users) necessary. This stuff doesn’t work because it creates a barrier on the surface of the skin that can be washed away — your pits actually absorb it and it works from the inside out to keep sweat and odor at bay for many, many hours. It’s prescription-strength stuff, rebranded and available over-the-counter.

Personally, though…I ALWAYS forget to apply it at night. ALWAYS. 20-plus years of that morning swipe-swipe ritual have just been too hard to break. So I apply it in the morning, most of the time. And it works fine. So I’m not sure it makes a huge amount of difference, though it might depend entirely on you and your individual body chemistry. I like the idea of the nighttime application from a clothing standpoint — no more waiting for the residue to dry! No more white streaks on your clothes! But I just simply don’t remember to do it before bed at least 75% of the time. Perhaps I should give in to senility and tape a checklist to the bathroom mirror. 1) BRUSH TEETH. 2) APPLY DEODORANT. 3) DON’T LOOK TOO CLOSELY AT YOUR PORES, FOR IT WILL ONLY MAKE YOU CRY.

I would not say I am an especially extra sweaty person — regular deodorants usually worked pretty okay for me, provided I like, stayed inside and never did anything physically strenuous. Like working out or trudge around the National Zoo pushing a stroller. That’s when things got unpredictable, damp and (worst of all) smelly. Pit stains are bad enough…B.O. is something I simply will not put up with, especially a mere six hours after showering! So I got sick of constantly worrying that my deodorant would fail me halfway through the day if the weather warmed up a bit or I needed to carry the baby in the Ergo for a few extra blocks than expected.

I like the Dove Clinical the best, and found that it does take some time for the full effects to really kick in. A few weeks, I’d say. I’ve been using it steadily for about two years now and can’t even remember the last time I thought about the state of my pits during the day. Oh wait, yes I can. The time I ran out of the clinical stuff and had to use one of those silly deodorants with the crazy labels I’d bought simply for blog-amusement purposes. It did not work. AT ALL. RAGE.

And seriously: breastfeeding and excessive sweating. OMG, I know. I was like an oven. A very dewy, moist oven. I definitely remembered to apply deodorant before bed when I was nursing — on my pits and behind my knees and in the crook of my arm — because otherwise I’d wake up in a sweaty puddle. Sexy, indeed. Most women experience excessive sweating for at least a few weeks postpartum, and women who breastfeed notice it longer. I don’t know how far postpartum you are, but there’s a chance you’ll notice a gradual improvement with time. In the meantime, continue to stay hydrated and try try try to avoid synthetic fabrics whenever possible — they will always, ALWAYS make things worse. I found spritzing myself with a body spray helped a lot when I was in the thick of the postpartum sweats…or at least made me feel a little better about my perpetually dewy state.

(Oh, and before anyone mentions the concerns about aluminum in deodorant [the research on this, for the record, is extremely contradictory and all over the place] and those natural alternatives: I’ve tried them. Believe me. I tried tons of them. I wanted to like them. I’m usually more than happy to cut out even slightly questionable ingredients from my health and beauty products just to be on the safe side…provided I can find a reasonable substitute that works just as well. In this case, I couldn’t find ANYTHING that even worked at ALL for me personally. Tom’s, Crystal, Jason, even some crazy expensive thing at Sephora that thankfully I tried in a sample size first…I have no doubt these work GREAT for some people, and I am jealous of your luck. But for me, it’s gotta be two-clicks and one swipe per pit of the heavy-duty stuff.)

About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch


Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected].

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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