Caffeine is a stimulant that can be dangerous during pregnancy. On the other hand, it is not necessary to stop drinking coffee while breastfeeding . This is because caffeine does not cross the placenta the same way it enters breast milk. There are still recommendations to follow regarding the amount of coffee you drink each day, and the behaviors your baby may have.

Caffeine and breastfeeding

Caffeine levels peak in breast milk about one to two hours after consumption, before gradually decreasing. Finally, very little caffeine passes into breast milk when you drink coffee.

According to the results of one study, between 0.06 and 1.5% of the ingested dose of caffeine reaches the baby during breastfeeding .

According to the EFSA, up to 200mg of caffeine from all sources consumed each day does not raise any safety concerns for babies.

coffee and breastfeeding

Can you drink coffee while breastfeeding?

Some experts worry that caffeine affects baby sleep, but a 2012 study of 885 babies in Brazil disagreed. The study found no statistically significant impact on the sleep quality of 3-month-old babies when breastfed by someone who consumes caffeine.

A Korean study also found no serious risks from drinking caffeine while breastfeeding , especially with moderate consumption of a few cups a day.

According to one study , the acids in coffee can decrease the iron content of breast milk. Breast milk is naturally low in iron, but babies need iron to grow normally. People who drink coffee should therefore discuss the possibility of taking an iron supplement with a doctor.

What about decaffeinated coffee for breastfeeding?

Decaffeinated coffee contains a small amount of caffeine. It is just as safe, if not safer, than caffeinated coffee while breastfeeding . On the other hand, decaffeinated coffee remains very acidic and can therefore affect the amount of iron in breast milk.

Be careful, caffeine is not only found in coffee

Caffeine is present in other foods and drinks, such as tea, chocolate, energy drinks and sodas. Remember to include all sources of caffeine when calculating your daily caffeine intake.
caffeine breastfeeding

Coffee and breastfeeding, what effects on your baby?

If you drink 10 or more cups of coffee a day, you may notice some side effects in your baby, including:
  • irritability
  • bad sleep
  • hustle
  • stomach pain, colic

Babies are not equal before caffeine

Preemies and newborns break down caffeine more slowly than older infants. You may see side effects in young babies after fewer cups of coffee.

Some babies may also be more sensitive to caffeine than others. If you notice increased irritability or poor sleep patterns after consuming caffeine, consider cutting back or waiting until you've fed your baby before consuming coffee.

The effects of coffee on breastfeeding mothers

Too much caffeine can have unpleasant effects for the mother as well. Drinking more than four cups of coffee a day can lead to irritability, nervousness, or restlessness.

Other side effects are possible:
  • migraine
  • sleeping troubles
  • frequent urination
  • stomach ache
  • rapid heart rate
  • muscle tremors

Does caffeine affect breast milk production?

There is no evidence that drinking coffee or caffeine in moderate amounts affects the amount of breast milk your body produces.

Should you pump and discard the milk after drinking coffee?

You may have heard of the phrase “pump and dump” before, especially when it comes to drinking alcohol while breastfeeding. The idea is to extract milk that could be affected by a potentially dangerous substance, such as alcohol or caffeine.

breastfeeding coffee

In fact, pumping is only used to help preserve your reserves if you do not wish to feed your child at any given time. This method does not eliminate the substances contained in your milk. You will have to wait for the caffeine to be eliminated naturally from your body.

Avoid any risk of caffeine transmission during breastfeeding

If you're worried about your baby consuming caffeine from your breast milk, remember that caffeine levels in breast milk peak about one to two hours after you've had your coffee.

To reduce the risk of passing caffeine to your baby, have a cup of coffee just before feeding your baby or, if your baby hasn't been fed for more than two hours, wait until you finish feeding them before have your coffee.

To conclude

Having a cup of coffee is a practical and comforting ritual that you should not give up on the pretext that you are breastfeeding. Stay moderate, consuming 200 to 300 milligrams of caffeine per day, or 2 cups of coffee.

Most babies will not experience adverse side effects with this level of consumption, but watch for signs such as restlessness, irritability or poor sleep in your baby and toddler. Adjust your intake accordingly and consider consulting your doctor or lactation consultant for further advice.

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