Can Caffeine Affect The Quality Of Breast Milk | Hea Boosters
Motherhood is a beautiful experience and a rollercoaster ride at the same time. Our bodies go through many changes, the hormonal fluctuations leave us confused, emotional and filled with wonder, love and gratitude, all at the same time. It can feel pretty overwhelming, especially when you factor in the constant stream of suggestions and advice from our own moms, our friend’s moms, and people who are not even moms themselves too.
While some of these suggestions are based on facts, such as the tendency of Papaya to cause uterine contractions and early labour owing to the latex that it contains, many of them still need to be verified and are not entirely backed by science.
For instance, I remember being told to cut down my caffeine consumption while I was breastfeeding. However, I was determined to know how caffeine affects breast milk and thought I would share a few points that may help you make your own decision on the subject.
Can caffeine affect breast milk?
While a little caffeine by itself doesn’t affect breastmilk immediately, it really depends on the amount that you consume in a day. You can safely have up to 300 mg of caffeine per day — the equivalent of two to three cups (470–710 ml) of coffee. It is claimed that moms who have more than 300 mg of caffeine (more than 8 - 10 cups of coffee) per day risk the possibility of their breastmilk containing caffeine levels that affect the baby, (though the research on this is limited).
However, since preterm babies and newborns break down caffeine more slowly than older infants, you may see side effects in younger babies even 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 following caffeine consumption, consider reducing your intake or waiting to consume coffee until after feeding your baby.
Moreover, excess caffeine can have adverse effects on the moms themselves, such as insomnia, dizziness, rapid heartbeat and anxiety. Caffeine gives you a shot of energy as soon as you have a cup but later, as the effect wanes, it leaves you tired. Caffeine is also a diuretic, which means that having more coffee will make you urinate more often and could leave you feeling dehydrated.
- Follow the pump and dump method:
“Pumping and dumping” is something you may have heard of before, especially on subjects related to drinking alcohol while breastfeeding. The idea is that you pump out the milk that might contain/ be affected by potentially harmful substances, such as alcohol or caffeine. If you’re concerned about caffeine affecting your breastmilk, remember that caffeine levels in breastmilk peak about one to two hours after you’ve had your coffee.
- Caffeine content:
Coffee is not the only source of caffeine. Many of us rely on tea and other beverages to boosting our alertness or even just to have something comforting to sip on when we take a break from work. Here’s a table that will help you understand how much caffeine you are consuming from other sources:
As is the case with almost anything we indulge in, moderation when it comes to caffeine consumption. Excesses are the only thing you need to be wary of (both for you, as well as your baby). Therefore, you do not need to deprive yourself of your daily cup (or two) of coffee or tea while you are breastfeeding. Just keep the recommended amounts and limits in mind and try to drink it a few hours before feeding your baby.