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Drinking Coffee While Breastfeeding: Everything You Need To Know

Drinking Coffee While Breastfeeding: Everything You Need To Know

4 minute read

You’ve gone through nine whole months of pregnancy, watching what you eat and drink and limiting or cutting your caffeine intake. So now that you’re on to the next stage of breastfeeding your baby, you’re probably wondering what’s back on the menu and what’s still a no-no.

So, is it safe to drink coffee while breastfeeding? The short answer is yes!

Health professionals believe it’s safe to drink coffee and other caffeinated drinks while breastfeeding. However, they recommend limiting your caffeine intake to 300 milligrams per day while nursing. This is equivalent to three 6- ounce cups of coffee, four cups of regular tea, or six 12-ounce colas.

Will Caffeine Intake Affect Babies?

Some babies are sensitive to their mother’s caffeine intake while breastfeeding. The amount of caffeine on breastmilk varies from mother to mother, and some babies tend to be more sensitive to it than others.

Signs That Your Caffeine Intake Is Affecting Your Baby:

  • ●  Fussiness

  • ●  Irritability

  • ●  Trouble sleeping

  • ●  Hyperactivity

  • ●  Restlessness

Caffeine stays longer in the system of premies and newborns than in older babies’.

Where caffeine stays in a 6-month-old’s system for around 2.5 hours, it lasts for a few days in newborns. This is why younger babies are more sensitive to caffeine than older ones.

Risks Of Consuming Caffeine While Breastfeeding

Consuming caffeine may reduce the nutritional quality of your breast milk. Mothers who drink more than three cups of coffee, or consume over 300 milligrams of the recommended amount of caffeine per day, have about one- third less iron in their breast milk than mothers who don’t.

Avoiding caffeine may improve the iron content of your breast milk.

However, as with most people, drinking coffee and consuming other caffeinated foods and drinks give them a kick of energy. This is especially important for new moms to feel more awake if they haven’t gotten much sleep while taking care of their new baby.

So what do experts advise?

Ways To Minimize The Effects Of Caffeine On Breast Milk

  1. Feed your baby before consuming any caffeine. Or wait at least three hours before pumping or breastfeeding again. This helps your body process caffeine and flush it out of your system before the next feeding.

  2. Reduce your caffeine intake per day.

  3. Remove caffeine from your diet at least until your baby is old enough

    to process it more quickly.

Should you decide to quit caffeine altogether, it’s best to do so gradually to avoid painful side effects, including:

  • ●  Headache

  • ●  Nausea and vomiting

  • ●  Irritability

  • ●  Tiredness

  • ●  Difficulty focusing

  • ●  Depression

     ●  Muscle pain or stiffness

Caffeine withdrawal can last for two to nine days.

Should You Pump And Dump With Caffeine?

“Pump and dump” refers to pumping breast milk and then dumping it instead of storing it for the next feeding. Women often do this when they think they’ve had too much alcohol to drink before breastfeeding.

So should you pump and dump after drinking caffeinated drinks? The answer is no. As is the case with drinking alcohol, you don’t have to pump and dump, especially if it’s only light to moderate drinking.

Can Caffeine Decrease Milk Supply?

No. Caffeine does not decrease breast milk supply directly. A study found that caffeine can stimulate milk production. However, suppose your baby is sensitive to caffeine and doesn’t nurse well after drinking coffee or

consuming other caffeinated foods and drinks. In that case, your breast milk supply may be affected indirectly.

Caffeine Sources

When adhering to the 300 milligrams caffeine intake per day limit on breastfeeding mothers, it is essential to know that caffeine can also be found in other foods and drinks–not just in coffee. So when calculating your caffeine intake for the day, check if you’re also consuming the following:

  • ●  Chocolate- An ounce of dark chocolate contains 24 milligrams of caffeine, while milk chocolate contains only 6 milligrams.

  • ●  Soda- A can or 12 ounces of regular or diet cola has 40 milligrams, while the same amount of Mountain Dew has about 55 milligrams of caffeine.

  • ●  Tea- A cup of black tea contains 47 milligrams, while a cup of green tea has 28 milligrams. A cup of decaffeinated tea still contains 2 milligrams of caffeine, whereas herbal tea contains none.

  • ●  Espresso- A shot or 1.5 ounces contains 65 milligrams.

  • ●  Energy drinks- A cup or 8 ounces of energy drink contains 85 milligrams of caffeine.

  • ●  Energy shots- 2 ounces contains around 200 milligrams of caffeine.

  • ●  Supplements- Caffeine supplements contain 200 milligrams per tablet.

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