Mom holding newborn baby

Is it safe to consume caffeine while breastfeeding? I posted a Fact or Fiction about this topic Friday on instagram and many of you had a lot to say!  The Fact or Fiction statement was, “Caffeine should be avoided while breastfeeding.” Here’s a few comments from you guys.

Elizabeth Kallen said, “If I can’t have caffeine after being up all night nursing, then no one is going to get fed, dressed, or loved!”

Bethany Nixon said, “I have heard up to 5 cups regular coffee a day is okay…am I doing that? NO! But if I need a second cup in the afternoon to get over the afternoon slump I will!”

Addison Fagner said, “I don’t know the answer but I do know every time I drink soda, that same night is sooooo hard on my little one! I’ve stopped all caffeine now. Not worth it!”

Here’s my answer to the statement: Fiction.

Based on research studies, very little caffeine actually passes into mother’s milk (1).  Many experts agree that it takes more than 5 cups of caffeinated coffee daily to see effects in the breastfed baby (2).  That is the equivalent of about 300 mg.  Something to keep in mind is that you are aware of each source of caffeine you are consuming.  Examples of caffeine sources include coffee, iced and hot teas, energy drinks, caffeinated soft drinks, and some over-the-counter medications.  Chocolate contains a substance that mimics caffeine and can produce a similar effect in large quantities.

Newborn baby

While these are general guidelines, we know that every baby is different!  It may take a smaller amount to affect some infants.  Here are some symptoms to watch for indicating your infant is overstimulated due to your caffeine intake.

  • Wide-eyed
  • Alert
  • Difficulty staying asleep
  • Unusually fussy

If you are noticing these symptoms, try avoiding caffeine and substituting caffeine-free beverages.  Observe your infant and watch for an improvement.  If the symptoms were due to too much caffeine, your infant should improve within a few days to a week.

I hope this is helpful!  My passion is educating you on all your feeding options so you can reach your goals, whatever they may be!  My video classes are available to click and watch at your convenience.  You can learn in the comfort of you home in your jammies!  Also my classes NEVER EXPIRE! You can watch them over and over.  They also come with a notes outline.  A great promo going out to my newsletter subscribers in the morning.  Sign up to see how to get a free full-size nipple cream from Boob and Baby. The photography in this post is by Lizzy Jean Photography.

More on this topic form Lactation Link:

Can I breastfeed if I drink alcohol?

Thanks for coming by,

Lindsey Shipley, RN, IBCLC

Lindsey Shipley - Lactation Consultant

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Berlin, C. et al. (1984). Disposition of dietary caffeine in milk saliva and plasma of lactating women. Pediatrics(73), 59-63.
  2. Nehlig, A. and Debry, G. (1994). Consequences on the newborn of chronic maternal consumption of coffee during gestation and lactation: a review. J Am Coll Nutr(13), 1, 6-21.