During your pregnancy, you must have lived through a long nine months during which you steered clear from some of your favorite foods and drinks for the sake of your fetus. Now that you’re a new mom and are starting your breastfeeding journey, you may be wondering what to put back on your food and beverage list and what you still need to abstain from.
Caffeine may be at the top of your list of questions during breastfeeding; Is it okay to drink coffee, tea, or soda at the same levels as before pregnancy, or in small quantities as you expect, or do you have to cut back on it all together?
Well, fear not, anxious mama, we are here for you! So here’s what you need to know about drinking coffee or other types of caffeinated drinks while breastfeeding your baby.
Is it safe to have coffee, tea and other caffeinated drinks while breastfeeding?
Yes, it is safe to drink coffee and other types of caffeine-containing beverages while breastfeeding, just as it is during pregnancy. You don’t have to kick this habit just because you are breastfeeding.
Although caffeine leaves a presence in breast milk, the amount transmitted to your baby in general is too small to have any negative effects on him/her.
However, some children might be more sensitive to caffeine than others. And newborns may be somewhat more sensitive than older children.
If you notice that your baby appears more irritable and fussy with heightened alertness and hyperactivity when you have a few cups of coffee, you will need to cut back on the caffeine a bit and see if there’s any improvement.
It is also best to set a time to consume caffeine so that you can limit your coffee or tea intake right before the breastfeeding session, this way, you can give the caffeine time to exit your vital system before your baby is hungry and you need to feed him/her.
How much caffeine is allowed during breastfeeding?
The instructions vary slightly depending on the source, but generally between 200 and 300 mg of caffeine per day is okay with breastfeeding.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends up to 200 mg per day, which equates to two small cups of coffee or one 12-ounce cup per day – the same level as tolerated during pregnancy.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says in addition to La Leche League International no more than 300 mg a day is adequate, or about two to three cups of coffee.
Just bear in mind how much caffeine might be in this medium-sized iced, cold coffee – with an extra dose of espresso, it could lead you to exceed your daily caffeine limit in just one serving!
Are there any risks to consuming caffeine while breastfeeding?
Drinking a light or moderate amount of caffeine does not pose any risks to you or your child. However, every baby differs in how they react to your caffeine consumption.
If your child is more sensitive to caffeine, he/she may become restless and uncomfortable, or have trouble falling asleep or settling in. Just monitor your baby and see if reducing the amount of caffeine you drink will help with the problem or consuming the caffeine several hours before breastfeeding starts.
Moderation is key when it comes to most foods and drinks while breastfeeding, and caffeine is no exception. So don’t feel like you have to deprive yourself of a cup or two of coffee or tea a day while breastfeeding.
Just keep in mind the recommended amount and try to have it a few hours before feeding your baby, and you likely won’t experience any problems. If you are concerned about caffeine and breastfeeding, or have questions about it, don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor.