How Much Caffeine Can You Have When Breastfeeding?

How Much Caffeine Can You Have When Breastfeeding?

Caffeine is a source of instant energy and stimulation, many men and women have a strong urge to drink caffeine the first thing in the morning so that they’re active and all charged up for the day ahead. In pregnancy you might have shied away from your usual cup of coffee or tea but you don’t have to go through the same ordeal for the lactation period. The good news is that a mother can take caffeine in moderation while nursing her baby. Being a mom is tough to say the least, waking up several times at night or not having a nap all day can take a toll on any mother’s energy levels. A cup of coffee or tea works like a magic potion that every mother is entitled to.

Nursing mothers by nature over think and doubt themselves a lot as they’re the main source of food supply to their little ones. They worry about their supply of milk and what affects it. Herbal lactation supplements and drinks help boost the supply significantly and are trusted products of many mothers. But mothers must take caffeinated drinks in moderation to avoid any negative implications that a high dose of caffeine might have on the child. Down below are the things that every mother should know so that caffeine and breastfeeding can coexist.

The Amount of Caffeine that Passes Through the Breast Milk

When a mother ingests caffeine, it is absorbed into the bloodstream via gut. The liver processes it and breaks it down into compounds that have different effects on the bodily functions and organs. Be mindful that the concentration of the caffeine will summit in your breast milk after about two hours of consuming it.  From the total amount of caffeine consumed by the mother, approximately 1% reaches breast milk. A study conducted on 15 lactating mothers showed that if they consumed 36-335mg of caffeine then 0.06-1.5% of it reflected in the maternal dose. The ideal amount of caffeine per day is around 300mg, for reference 500mg is around three 8 ounce cups of coffee. This amount seems quite insignificant but infants cannot process caffeine as efficiently as adults can.

Caffeine can stay in the bloodstream of an infant from anywhere between 65-130 hours, for a baby aging 3-5 months this for up to 14 hours, for a baby 6 months plus it lasts for 6.2 hours and an adult can hold on to the effects for around 5 hours. For infants the effects last longest as their liver and kidneys are still developing and haven’t matured yet. Preterm or premature babies can take even longer to wade off the effects of caffeine. Consequently, even the tiniest amount that slips through the breast milk can build up in the baby’s body for a long time.

The Effects of Caffeine on the Baby

If the mother drinks moderate amounts of caffeine then most likely the baby will not have any adverse effects, but if the amount of caffeine is high then there are some effects that mothers can be watchful of and regulate the usage accordingly. The mothers who drink more than 300mg of caffeine per day, their babies are said to be having difficulty sleeping at night time or they will have short spans of naps. If a mother is consuming more than 750 mg of caffeine that is 10-12 cups of coffee then the infant may show signs of fussiness, crankiness, jitters and agitation, in addition to sleep deprivation and disturbance.

Furthermore, a mother who drinks excessive amounts of caffeine will also face negative effects on her health and behaviour. She can have high levels of anxiety, acidity, insomnia, jitters, mood swings, fast heartbeat and dizziness. Finally another concern that mothers might face is the decrease in the milk production. If the baby is fussy and jittery then he is most likely to not nurse well, this can in turn decrease the milk production as the previous milk is not removed from the breasts. Mothers can salvage the supply by taking emergency lactation brownies or herbal lactation supplements to boost the milk supply and cut down on the caffeine intake in the meantime. Cutting down on the caffeine abruptly can result in unbearable headaches and other symptoms so it’s endorsed to cut down slowly.

Caffeine Sources and Content

People tend to believe that coffee and tea are the only or the strongest forms of caffeine, on the contrary many other foods and drinks also have good amounts of caffeine that most people have no idea about. Mothers must take into account every source of caffeine I order to have it in moderate amounts. Caffeinated drinks include energy drinks, coffee, tea, iced tea, carbonated drinks, hot chocolate drinks, green tea and decaf coffee. Some over the counter and prescription medicines, chocolates especially 90% or more dark and some foods also contain caffeine in reasonable amounts. If a breastfeeding mother is consuming one or more of these above mentioned foods or drinks in a day, then she might be taking more than the recommended amount.

Some Easy Ways to Regulate Caffeine Intake

Mothers must be vigilant to see how their caffeine consumption affects the baby and breast milk. Monitoring the baby and watching how he reacts to the intake is vital. Mothers who need a little push of caffeine in order to survive the very demanding early motherhood days have caffeine according to their needs. If your baby is premature, curb the urge to go beyond the suggested does and also keep an eye on other sources of caffeine.

Bottom line

Motherhood is challenging and demanding, it also asks for many sacrifices that ensure your baby is happy and peaceful. Although a cup of coffee or a glass of wine is fine but make sure you consume them in moderate amounts to keep the baby calm. Make well-informed and safe decisions to make sure you and your baby have a wonderful day.

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