Does Caffeine Affect Breastfeeding?
When you were still pregnant, you were not allowed to drink or eat a lot of things, including coffee. We know that it must have been hard, especially when you love coffee and other caffeinated drinks. But now that you just gave birth to your baby, is it possible for you to drink coffee, just like old times? Does caffeine affect breastfeeding?
Breastfeeding and Caffeine
Does caffeine affect breastfeeding? Based on several pieces of research, breastfeeding mothers can drink caffeine but in moderation. Do that note, however, that one must drink in moderation.
The reason for this is that when you drink coffee or any caffeinated drink, caffeine will also enter your bloodstream. Then, a small amount can go to your baby since you are breastfeeding him or her. There are some babies that can be affected with caffeine, which is why it is best to keep the amount in moderation.
Some babies, on the other hand, may experience wakefulness or feel a bit fussy after drinking milk. You do not want your baby to feel that, right? So always remember that you keep your caffeine intake around 300 milligrams or less. The highest concentration of caffeine in your breast milk will last for about 2 hours.
To keep the right intake of caffeine in your body, you need to check the levels carefully. Not just on coffee but on any beverage that you think may caffeine. Take note that there is some food that contains caffeine as well so it is best to check.
Babies and Caffeine
As mentioned, there are babies that are sensitive to caffeine, and there are those who are not. Sensitive babies are usually those that are under 6 months. Also, if you successfully avoided caffeine during your pregnancy, your baby may be more sensitive to caffeine than others.
In the event that you did not know the effects, your baby can get from caffeine, and you have seen that he or she already showed signs, you need to stop drinking coffee. What you can do is to stop the caffeine intake for 3 weeks to see if there will be changes in your baby’s reaction. It is important to note that if you change your diet abruptly, you may experience caffeine withdrawal such as headaches.
Milk Supply and Caffeine
Well, for now, there is no actual research or study that claimed caffeine can affect your milk supply. Although a lot of people have talked about it in the past, there is no scientific explanation to prove it. What will most likely happen is that your baby will be awake longer and feel other signs related to caffeine.
How to Avoid Caffeine
It may be hard, especially when you love caffeine, but you need to avoid it as much as you can while you are still breastfeeding. Remember, you are doing this for your baby. The first step for doing this is to know which foods and beverages have caffeine. Below is the list of drinks and foods that you must avoid:
- Sports or energy drinks
- Prescription medications
- Foods with coffee or chocolate
- Herbal products
- Green tea
- Kola nut
Since coffee is not allowed, you must be thinking, how about decaf coffee then? Decaf coffee tastes like your regular coffee, except that it has a small amount of caffeine. Even better, the word decaf stands for decaffeinated coffee so you can expect that around 97% of caffeine is not present on this drink.
Considering this, is decaf coffee good for you and your baby? In terms of caffeine, you can drink coffee. However, you may think twice before drinking decaf coffee as it may have an impact on the amount of iron in your breast milk.
Notes to Remember
Although doctors allowed you to have caffeine intake, in moderation, there are also a lot of things that you need to remember. Get your pen and remember the following:
Check on your baby
This is a basic rule that you are probably doing right now but you need to monitor your baby for possible caffeine-related signs. Check if the baby is awake longer than he or she should be and if he or she feels fussy.
Monitor what you eat
Even if you are no longer pregnant, you need to be sure that you are eating the right food. Check the foods or drinks that contain too much caffeine to be sure that your intake will not be more than what is needed.
Care for yourself
Not only the baby’s health is at stake here, but also yours. If you believe that you need caffeine to give you a boost, go and do it. Just be sure that you only take it moderately.
Drink after a nursing session
Another trick that might help you is to drink caffeine when you are done breastfeeding. This will give you enough time for the caffeine to drop before you start the next pumping session.
You can also contact your doctor if you want to. But be ready as he might just repeat everything that you have read in this article. Caffeine will not entirely affect your breastfeeding, especially when you are not taking anything that is bad for you.
Caffeine still has a green light but you need to be aware of the amount that you take. As much as possible, you can avoid it, do it. On the other hand, you can take it in moments that you really need it, but not every day. In the event that you forgot and was able to take a large amount in your body, gradually remove the caffeine into your system. Remember, you are not only doing this for your baby but also to yourself. You are probably aware that caffeine is not really good for your health, right?
Stay healthy, drink a minimal amount of caffeinated drinks, and visit your doctor once in a while. This way, you are sure that you are doing the right thing for you and for your baby.