Taking a cup of coffee in the morning might come with a lot of benefits, but most nursing mothers are now quite disturbed about the effects caffeine may have on their babies.
Breastfeeding can be draining, especially when a baby may sleep irregularly and wake up several times each night. A nursing mother may need to take a cup or two quell the effect of sleep deprivation, but is it really safe for the baby?
Coffee and breastfeeding
Many people are told to cut down on or completely eliminate caffeine during pregnancy because of the risk of caffeine crossing the placenta and affecting the developing fetus. However, caffeine is much less likely to affect a breastfeeding baby.
Note that the body metabolizes most of the caffeine in coffee before it reaches breast milk or even has a chance to affect the baby.
Caffeine is a low-risk drug in moderation, only a tiny fraction of the caffeine a woman consumes gets into her breast milk, and this infinitesimal amount is not enough to harm most babies.
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Breastfeeding parents who want to take the safest approach should consider limiting caffeine consumption to about 300 milligrams (mg) a day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This amount of caffeine is equivalent to 2–3 cups of coffee.
Caffeine levels in breast milk is highest in about 1–2 hours after drinking coffee. A person who has recently breastfed may choose to watch their baby during this time to see whether they experience any effects from the caffeine.
Risks and benefits
It may not be too safe to consume coffee during pregnancy, but the risks of caffeine in breastfeeding infants are slight.
Some experts express worry that caffeine might affect the sleep of a baby, however, a 2012 study conducted on 885 babies in Brazil debunks this assertion. The study found no statistically noteworthy impact on the sleep quality of babies aged 3 months when breastfed by someone who consumes caffeine.
According to a Korean study, no serious risks of drinking coffee caffeine while breastfeeding was found, especially with moderate consumption of a few cups a day.
There is also no evidence that caffeine directly benefits the baby. Caffeine is safe in moderation for people who are breastfeeding.
Is Decaf coffee Safe?
Decaf coffee has a small amount of caffeine in it. It is even safer than caffeinated coffee. Decaf coffee is still highly acidic, so it may somewhat affect the amount of iron in breast milk.
Other sources of caffeine
Coffee is not the only source of caffeine. People disturbed about their caffeine intake or those who notice that caffeine appears to harmfully affect the baby should be watchful of other foods rich in caffeine.
Some common sources of caffeine include:
- chocolate and cocoa products
- black, green, and white tea
- cola drinks
- energy drinks