Caffeine and Breastfeeding

Newborn babies are notoriously terrible at sleeping. So much so, that you’re likely to be feeling sleep deprived for at least the first few weeks (months?) of parenthood. Your baby is likely to wake frequently during the night, leaving you struggling to catch more than a couple of consecutive hours of sleep. When your baby wakes for the day, you might find yourself reaching for the coffee pot. But is it safe to drink caffeine when breastfeeding, or will your baby end up on a caffeine high?

Caffeine in breast milk

Once consumed, caffeine enters your bloodstream and from there it enters your milk supply. It is thought that around 1% of the caffeine you consume ends up in your breastmilk. This may not sound like much. It’s important to remember, however, that your baby’s liver is much smaller than yours so may not process caffeine as easily.

How much caffeine can I consume whilst breastfeeding?

The US guidelines state that breastfeeding women can have up to 200mg of caffeine when breastfeeding. This is the same limit as advised during pregnancy, so you may already be used to limiting yourself to 200mg of caffeine each day. 200mg of caffeine works out at about two mugs of tea each day. If you’re a coffee drinker, you can enjoy two mugs of instant coffee or one mug of filter coffee. You need to remember that caffeine is also present in chocolate and soda drinks, so you’ll need to count these in your daily tally.

What to drink instead

If you’re using this as an opportunity to cut down (or cut out) caffeine, you might be looking for inspiration of other drinks to enjoy. You can of course drink decaffeinated teas and coffees instead of your usual brew, this will allow you to enjoy the great flavor without worrying about caffeinated breast milk! Fruit teas are a great option if you want to limit your caffeine intake and there are plenty of different flavors to try so you’re bound to find one you love.

Breastfeeding is thirsty work, so you need to make sure you’re drinking enough fluids throughout the day. Many women find a tall glass of icy water to be particularly refreshing when that breastfeeding thirst kicks in. If you’re not a huge fan of plain water, try adding slices of lemon or cucumber for extra flavor. Fruit juices and cordial drinks are also great ways to increase your fluid intake.

Written by Fiona (@Fiona_Peacock), mother, writer and lover of all things baby related.

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2016. All rights reserved.