Breastfeeding and Caffeine: Are They A Match?

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As a new mom it’s natural to get anxious about being certain you’re ensuring your infant’s every need and protecting them from every perceived harm. There are many opinions on the do’s and don’t’s about nursing and, before you know it, you’ll find yourself worrying about every little thing and losing touch with your own maternal instincts. If you’re used to drinking coffee, tea or some other caffeinated beverage to survive the day, you may be wondering if it’s okay to continue once you start breastfeeding. This post will outline how and when it’s okay to drink coffee and will make sure you don’t have to go through life like a coffee-deprived zombie.

How Will Caffeine Affect Your Baby

My research claims that if you’re breastfeeding, anything that you consume can potentially be passed on to your little one. Different babies respond to caffeine in different ways. Some are quite sensitive to it, and for others, there is hardly any impact at all. Generally speaking though, babies under 6 month old are more likely to be impacted by caffeine consumption and this can take many forms. Some babies will be extra fussy or perhaps seem agitated. Others will have difficulty settling down or falling asleep.

Is It Okay To Have Any?

Generally speaking, a little caffeine isn’t going to do too much harm. Moderation is key. That said, you should try and keep it below 750 milligrams per day. Just what does that mean exactly?

A 5-ounce cup of coffee will have roughly 750 milligrams of caffeine. So, one fairly small cup a day is all that you should consume. If you’re a soda drinker, you will have a little more leeway. In general, a 12-ounce soda will contain roughly 40 milligrams of caffeine (of course every type of soda is a bit different, so it’s a good idea to check).

When Will Caffeine Show Up In Your Breastmilk?

Caffeine will show up in your breastmilk fairly soon after you begin consuming it yourself. However, it’s worth noting that the amount of caffeine in your breastmilk will peak between 1 and 1.5 hours after you consume it. So, if you pump, you might want to consider serving up some milk that you pumped previously if your little one needs to feed during this window. This is just one of the many benefits of pumping breast milk.

Things are most difficult in the newborn phase for a couple of reasons. First, newborns tend to feed quite frequently. Second, caffeine stays in their system for almost 100 hours after consumption. By the time your little one reaches six months of age, the half-life of caffeine will drop to a much more manageable 2.5 hours.

Will It Affect Your Supply

Caffeine is not known to negatively impact milk production. However, it is possible that it will have an indirect impact. A lot of caffeinated beverages can cause dehydration, and dehydration can most definitely decrease milk supply. So, if you are drinking caffeinated beverages from time to time, it’s a good idea to take extra care to drink plenty of other fluids as well. Saturate the caffeine by having plenty of water. Good for the baby and the mother!

Final Thoughts

Perhaps the best news is that it’s okay to have a little bit of caffeine while breastfeeding. While it can be really hard to give up caffeine altogether, moderating your intake is a more achievable challenge, and remember to take it easy – a happy, stress-free mother makes for a happy baby.

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