Can I Drink Caffeine While Breastfeeding? What You Need To Know

Ever wondered if your caffeine intake will affect your newborn and you wonder aloud Can I drink caffeine while breastfeeding?

There are lots of caffeinated drinks out there that you as a lactating mother would want to taste but you are scared it will affect your baby and you want an answer to the question can I drink caffeine while breastfeeding

Don’t worry this article will provide answers to your question can I drink caffeine while breastfeeding, how much caffeine is too much, and lots more. Just ride with me

What’s Caffeine?

Caffeine is a compound that is found in certain plants and they usually have effects on the nervous system hence the term stimulants because they improve alertness and energy levels.

Caffeine is considered safe and is believed to have health benefits, many mothers are usually concerned about its safety while breastfeeding or lactating.

Caffeinated beverages like coffee and tea usually provide an energy boost, especially for sleep-deprived mothers.

When taken in the right quantity it confers the benefits but when it is taken in excess it could have deleterious effects on both mothers and their babies.

Can I Drink Caffeine While Breastfeeding? What You Need To Know

You can drink caffeine while breastfeeding but of course, there has to be moderation. When caffeine enters the bloodstream, it finds its way from your bloodstream to that of your baby through lactation or breastfeeding.

Most babies are not affected but as you know all babies are not the same; some sensitive babies may be affected by caffeine intake. They may become extra fussy or wakeful after consumption of breast milk with the presence of caffeine

After the consumption of the caffeinated beverage, the quantity in your breast milk is usually at its peak two hours after the intake of the caffeine-laden food or beverages. It is recommended that your daily caffeine intake be limited to or even better less than 300 milligrams.

When you notice that there are effects on your little one after the consumption of caffeine, then it is recommended that you cut down on the level of caffeine consumed and observe your baby see if you will notice any improvement.

Sometimes it is advisable to time your caffeine intake, make sure you do not consume caffeinated food or beverage right before you breastfeed so that the caffeine would have worked its way out of your system before breastfeeding time.

Does Caffeine Pass-Through To Your Breast Milk?

Yes, caffeine passes through the bloodstream just like alcohol when consumed into breast milk.

It is estimated that 1% of the total amount of caffeine that you consume passes through and enters the breast milk.

A study conducted using 15 lactating mothers revealed that those who consume 36-335mg of caffeinated beverages showed 0.06-1.5% of the maternal dose in their breast milk.

Infants cannot process caffeine as quickly as adults. In an adult, the ingested caffeine is absorbed from the gut into the bloodstream, it is processed by the liver and broken down into substances whose actions affect different organs and bodily functions.

In a healthy adult, caffeine remains in the body for three to seven hours, while in the body of infants, it can last for 65-130 hours and the reason is simple; their liver and kidneys are not fully developed.

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How Much Caffeine Can I Consume While Breastfeeding?

caffeine

For now, there are no standardized quantities of caffeine to be consumed while breastfeeding or lactating. Although the laid down guidelines vary slightly depending on the source, but they all agree that between 200 to 300mg of caffeine a day while breastfeeding wouldn’t be harmful.

Since babies cannot process caffeine as quickly as adults, there has to be moderation so that an extremely large quantity of caffeine is not passed through the breast milk to the baby to avoid causing problems for your baby.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends up to 200mg a day and this amount is the same thing as two small cups of coffee and it is the recommended quantity for pregnant mothers as well.

Also the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as La Leche League International, recommend not more than 300mg of caffeine in a day and this amounts to three small cups of coffee.

Excessive consumption of caffeine could also have negative effects on the mothers themselves and such effects include heightened anxiety, jitters, rapid heartbeat, dizziness, and insomnia.

Sometimes mothers may be concerned if caffeine decreases breast milk production, on the contrary, some research suggests that moderate consumption may increase breast milk supply.

Caffeine Content of Common Drinks

Caffeinated beverages like coffee, tea, energy drinks, and sodas. The amount of caffeine in these drinks differs widely. The following indicates the caffeine content of common drinks 

  1. Energy drinks: Contains about 50-160mg of caffeine for 8 ounces (240 ml) serving size.
  2. Coffee, brewed: Contains about 60-200mg of caffeine for 8 ounces (240 ml) serving size.
  3. Tea, brewed: Contains about 20-110mg of caffeine for 8 ounces (240 ml) serving size.
  4. Tea, iced: Contains about 9-50mg of caffeine for 8 ounces (240 ml) serving size.
  5. Soda: Contains about 9-50mg of caffeine for 12 ounces (355 ml) serving size.
  6. Decaf coffee: Contains about 2-4mg of caffeine for 8 ounces (240 ml) serving size.
  7. Hot chocolate: Contains about 3-32mg of caffeine for 8 ounces (240 ml) serving size.

Keep in mind that this information provides the approximate amount of caffeine in these beverages. Some drinks like coffees and teas can have more or less caffeine content depending on how they’re prepared.

Other sources of caffeine also include chocolate, candy, some medications, supplements, and drinks or foods that claim to boost energy.

If you consume excessive caffeinated beverages or products per day, you may be ingesting more caffeine than the recommendation for breastfeeding women.

Always remember, the amount of caffeine in common beverages varies widely. Coffee, tea, sodas, hot chocolate, and energy drinks all contain caffeine.

 Read Also: How To Make A Homemade Hot Chocolate Recipe

Any Possible Risks Of Consuming Caffeine While Breastfeeding?

Consuming the right amount of caffeine does not pose any risk for you or your baby but bear in mind that there are individual differences and each child is different in his or her way.

Therefore there are different reactions by different children to the same level of caffeine, so your baby’s reaction should tell you the correct amount suitable for you.

To be able to know if your level of caffeine intake is affecting your baby, closely monitor your baby after lactating or breastfeeding especially on the day you consumed caffeine, to know if he or she gets more restless or fussy, or is experiencing trouble sleeping or settling down.

When you notice these signs listed below, just reduce your level of caffeine intake and ensure it is taken few hours before feeding.

Symptoms of Too Much Caffeine

Since caffeine can act as a diuretic, it is no longer believed to cause dehydration in the body. Studies have shown that the body adjusts to caffeine intake, which means that drinking caffeinated beverages is not likely to increase the need to drink more water.

The stimulant properties caffeine poses can increase blood pressure and heart rate. Excessive consumption of caffeine may give you that jumpy and slightly alarmed feeling known as the jitters.

Too much caffeine content in your body can make you irritable, sleepless, and possibly trigger anxiety, cause diarrhea, and prevent the absorption of calcium in your body. Other side effects include:

  • Nervousness
  • Frequent urination
  • Headaches
  • Heartburn and indigestion
  • Heart palpitations or fast heartbeat
  • Incontinence
  • Muscle spasms
  • Upset stomach

Signs of Too Much Caffeine in Children

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not set a limit for caffeine intake among children but states that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) discourages the consumption of caffeine by both children and adolescents.

The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), states that children under the age of 12 shouldn’t drink caffeine. They should avoid completely any common sources of the stimulant found in food and beverages including soda and chocolate.

For adolescents between the ages of 12–18, the AACAP recommend limiting caffeine to no more than 100 milligrams (about two 12-ounce cans of soda) each day.

Furthermore, both the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children and adolescents should avoid energy drinks completely.

Since caffeine affects the human CNS (central nervous system) as a stimulant and children’s brains are more sensitive to caffeine than adults, it may cause the following health problems:

  • Anxiety
  • Hyperactivity
  • Poor sleep patterns
  • Unhealthy growth patterns

There are no risks associated with caffeine consumption when consumed according to the recommended quantity while breastfeeding.

However, excessive consumption above recommended amount can pose some great risk for you and the baby. Just maintain the recommended amount and try to drink it a few hours before feeding your baby, and you likely won’t have any issues.

If you are worried about caffeine or you noticed any symptoms while breastfeeding your baby, don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor. Remember, moderation is the key in whatever you eat or drink while breastfeeding.

Read Also: How Much Water Should I Drink While Breastfeeding?

Conclusion

I hope this article has given an in-depth discussion to answer the question, can I drink caffeine while breastfeeding.

However, having the right information on what to eat or drink while breastfeeding will help you to determine what’s best for you and your baby. Still, need to know more? Learn What To Eat When Breastfeeding A Sick Baby