Can I drink caffeine while breastfeeding?

Can I drink caffeine while breastfeeding? It’s generally recommended to limit caffeine while pregnant, so you might be wondering if it’s safe to drink caffeine while breastfeeding. A small amount of caffeine does get into your breastmilk if you’re breastfeeding. However, the amount of caffeine is very small, and considerably less than what crosses the placenta during pregnancy. Here’s what you need to know about caffeine while breastfeeding, and how much you can drink.

How much caffeine can I drink while breastfeeding?

How much caffeine you can drink while breastfeeding depends a lot on your personal preferences and how your baby tolerates it. Most breastfeeding mothers can safely drink 1-2 cups of coffee or tea each day. No more than 1.5% of the caffeine you drink will end up in your breastmilk – and, the highest content will occur 1 hour after you drink it. Breastfeeding in and of itself isn’t a reason to limit caffeine, however if your baby is showing signs of being sensitive to caffeine – or, if you have a very young baby – you may wish to limit your intake.

Can I drink caffeine while breastfeeding? Does caffeine impact milk supply?
Most breastfeeding mothers can safely drink 1-2 cups of coffee or tea each day.

Does caffeine impact breastmilk supply?

Caffeine does not directly impact breastmilk supply. Of course, like most diuretics – substances that make you have to pee more frequently – you should be mindful of the quantity you consume. Since caffeine makes your bladder fill more often than it normally would, you should make sure you stay hydrated while you’re drinking it. It is especially important drink enough water while breastfeeding because dehydration can decrease your milk supply. A good rule of thumb is to drink one glass of water for every cup of coffee or tea you have. Make sure you’re drinking enough water if you’re consuming other diuretics as well – including alcohol, hibiscus, and pineapple (here’s a complete list).

Does caffeine impact my baby if I’m breastfeeding?

Some babies are more sensitive to caffeine than others. Caffeine passes through your breastmilk given time. When you drink caffeine, the amount of caffeine in your breastmilk will peak about 1 hour after you consume it. So if you suspect your baby is sensitive to caffeine, you can try to time your caffeine consumption with your feedings. You can be careful not to have too much caffeine in the late afternoon as to not effect baby’s (or your) sleep.

Can I drink caffeine while breastfeeding? How much caffeine is safe to drink while breastfeeding?
Image courtesy of Medibank

Newborn babies are more sensitive to caffeine

Newborn babies have more difficulty breaking down caffeine than any other age group. However, they develop the ability to digest caffeine fairly quickly. A 6 month old baby can metabolize caffeine in under 2.6 hours – which is twice as fast as an adult can. If your baby is sensitive to caffeine, you can try waiting until she is 3 months old. If your baby was born premature or has another medical condition you’re concerned about, you should consult your care provider about caffeine while breastfeeding.

How do I know my baby has a caffeine sensitivity?

Your baby will react similarly to caffeine as an adult does, if there’s a sensitivity. If your’e drinking caffeine and you’re concerned your baby might be sensitive to it, here are some of the signs you can look for:

  • Sleeplessness
  • Fussyness
  • Restlessness or excitement

If your baby is sensitive to caffeine, these symptoms might be more prominent 1-3 hours after you’ve had caffeine. You can try eliminating caffeine from your diet, however, depending on how old your baby is, it might take a few days to a week to notice a difference. This is because it can take a newborn baby over 4 days to completely metabolize caffeine. Don’t worry – your baby will soon be able to metabolize caffeine much more quickly by the time she’s 3 months old, and even twice as fast as you can by the time she’s 6 months old!

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