Caffeine While Breastfeeding: Can I Have Caffeine While Breastfeeding?

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caffeine while breastfeeding

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Caffeine is a compound found in many plants that stimulates the body’s central nervous system (CNS) by improving the body’s energy levels and alertness. Caffeine is usually considered safe and comes with several health benefits.

However, mums will have doubts about the safety of consuming caffeine while breastfeeding. After a tiresome day, young mums might want to replenish themselves with an energy drink. Are you one of them? Then you must have wondered how much caffeine you can have while breastfeeding. While tea, coffee, and other caffeinated drinks may boost sleep-deprived mums, too many of these beverages might negatively impact both the baby and the mother.

Here’s what you all need to answer to the question “can you drink caffeine while breastfeeding” and more!

What Does Caffeine Do To Your Body?

Caffeine is a drug stimulant that increases your brain activity as well as boosts the nervous system. The body absorbs caffeine well enough to induce short-term effects between  5 to 30 minutes of consuming it. So when you ask yourself how much caffeine can I have while breastfeeding, remember that its effects last for up to 12 hours depending on the individual.

Here are some symptoms and signs of having an overdose of caffeine in a normally healthy person:

  • Feeling tired after feeling highly energetic
  • Sleeplessness
  • Trembling hands
  • Irritability and anxiety
  • Excitability and restlessness
  • Rapid heartbeat (palpitations)
  • Headaches and dizziness
  • Dehydration
  • Frequent urination
  • A rise in body temperature.

Does Caffeine Pass Through Your Breastmilk?

What a mother consumes, the fetus is bound to receive. So the answer to “can I drink caffeine while breastfeeding?” is yes, but your baby will receive the same. When you ingest caffeine, it is absorbed by your guts into the bloodstream. Our livers then process and break it into compounds that affect bodily functions and different organs. So here’s some data on whether caffeine passes through the breastmilk:

  • Approximately 1% of the total caffeine in a nursing mother’s body passes through their breastmilk.
  • Mothers who breastfeed as well as consume around 36 mg to 335 mg of caffeine showed 06% to 1.5% of the caffeine in breastmilk.
  • The liver of young babies is not yet fully developed to process caffeine, so they hold on to it for 65 to 139 hours.

According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), newborn and preterm babies break down caffeine at a slower pace than older babies. As a result, drinking caffeine while breastfeeding will leave traces of caffeine in their body received from breastmilk and build up in their bodies over time.

Caffeine While Breastfeeding: How Much Caffeine Can You Have While Breastfeeding?

Mum can safely have 300 mg of caffeine every day, i.e., equivalent to 2 to 3 cups of coffee (470 ml to 710 ml). Current research shows that drinking caffeine while breastfeeding will not affect breastfeeding babies if it is in a limited amount. More than that and the babies will experience difficulty sleeping, jitteriness, and fussiness.

Excessive caffeine intake can have negative impacts on mothers themselves such as

  • Insomnia
  • Dizziness
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Jitters
  • Heightened anxiety

The typical belief is that drinking caffeine while breastfeeding decreases the production of breastmilk. Research however has shown that a moderate intake of caffeine increases the supply of breastmilk.

How Much Caffeine Content is There in Common Drinks?

Can you have caffeine while breastfeeding? Is a daunting question when you are nursing and at your favorite outlet ordering a drink. Caffeinated drinks include sodas, energy drinks, tea, and coffee. The amount of caffeine in these drinks varies widely. Here’s a chart with names of common drinks and the caffeine content in them:

Name of DrinkServing sizeAmount of caffeine (mg)
Decaf coffee8 ounces (240 ml)2 to 4
Hot chocolate8 ounces (240 ml)3 to 32
soda12 ounces (355 ml)30 to 60
Iced tea8 ounces (240 ml)9 to 50
Brewed tea8 ounces (240 ml)20 to 110
Brewed coffee8 ounces (240 ml)60 to 200
Energy drinks8 ounces (240 ml)50 to 160

This chart is just an approximation of the amount of caffeine in these drinks. Remember that drinks like teas and coffees have more caffeine in them depending on the way they are prepared. Other sources of caffeine include energy-boosting foods or drinks, supplements, certain medications, candy, and chocolate.

 

Make sure you do not consume multiple sources of caffeine per day as then you’d be consuming more caffeine than intended and that could be dangerous if you are breastfeeding.

 

Here’s another list of some caffeinated drinks or food items that are considered normal:

  • Caffeine tablets such as No-Doz: 100 MG PER TABLET
  • Guarana: 100mg per 1gm
  • Milk chocolate bar: 10mg per 50gm
  • Dark chocolate bar: 40mg to 50mg per 55gm
  • Black tea: 65 mg to 105 mg per 250ml
  • Espresso coffee such as a latte or espresso: 105 mg to 110 mg per 250ml
  • Percolated or drip coffee: 150 mg to 240 mg per 250ml
  • Instant coffee: 80mg to 120mg per 250ml

The Bottom Line: As a Mum How Much Caffeine Can You Have While Breastfeeding?

Caffeine is the trusted drink for people all over the world as it helps with sleep deprivation. We would say mothers are the most sleep-deprived ones amongst us, especially with all the newborn madness in the house.

However, they need to be careful to not let their babies get overdosed with caffeine as their fragile bodies are not yet equipped to break down caffeine. This could lead to several health concerns for them. It is recommended to limit the intake of caffeine while breastfeeding up to 300 mg (2 to 3 cups pf 470 ml to 710 ml) per day.

Caffeine While Breastfeeding FAQs:

1. Is caffeine while breastfeeding safe?

Generally, it is safe to consume caffeine while you are nursing your child. Experts recommend limiting your caffeine intake to 300 mg per day when you are breastfeeding as some babies are affected by it. The amount of caffeine in breast milk varies from mother to mother but some babies are more sensitive to caffeine than others.

2. What are the signs that show caffeine is affecting the baby?

Some babies are more sensitive to caffeine than others. How do you find out if your baby is one of them? Here’s what you could keep an eye out for if you consume caffeine while breastfeeding:
  • Restlessness
  • Hyperactivity
  • Staying asleep or having trouble going to sleep
  • Irritability and increased fussiness
  • 3. How long until caffeine is out of the breastmilk?

    The exact amount of caffeine in breastmilk differs from person to person. Usually, the caffeine you consume stays in your body for 24 hours (this timeline also varies from person to person). The half-life of caffeine in breastmilk is between 1.5 hours to 14.5 hours.

    4. Does caffeine decrease milk supply?

    Caffeine does not affect the amount of milk supply. It has been found to increase the production of breastmilk. However, if your baby is sensitive to caffeine then your milk supply could take an indirect hit.

    5. Can babies be born addicted to caffeine?

    There have been instances of babies being born with a caffeine addiction. Caffeine can quickly pass on to the fetal bloodstream and remain there in higher concentration than in the mother.
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