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Can I Drink Coffee While Breastfeeding?

Can I drink coffee while breastfeeding? This question comes up a lot from coffee-loving moms and soon-to-be moms. The simple answer is, YES, you can always make a nice cup of coffee any time and enjoy it even if you’re breastfeeding. 

The main thing to discuss here is how coffee affects your baby. Does the caffeine get into your breastmilk? Is caffeine safe for you baby? These are valid questions to ask. So, let’s discuss the effects of drinking coffee while breastfeeding to address these worrying questions. 

Is It Safe to Drink Coffee While Breastfeeding?

pouring coffee into cup

Coffee is one of the most consumed beverages in the world today. Its high caffeine content makes it a very popular choice of stimulant. It increases energy levels and reduces tiredness, allowing people to be more active. Coffee also improves productivity and increases concentration levels.

As hinted above, it is safe to drink coffee while breastfeeding. The quantity, however, should be limited to not more than two cups a day. 

Moderation is key here, and experts recommend that nursing mothers should reduce caffeine intake to 300 milligrams a day. 

Does Caffeine Affect a Baby While Breastfeeding

Caffeine can affect babies. If a breastfeeding mom drinks coffee, traces of caffeine may get into breast milk. 

woman drinking coffee while breastfeeding

Depending on the age of your baby, when taken, caffeine can cause them to react in some ways. Some babies might become very uneasy or hyperactive. Others might show signs of irritation. Caffeine can also affect your baby's sleep pattern. They might find it more difficult to sleep.

If you have a newborn baby, you should be more careful with coffee intake as it affects your babies more. With their smaller bodies, they are not able to process it quickly. In fact, the effects of caffeine on a newborn can last for days.

Does Caffeine Affect the Quality of Breast Milk?

Not really, but too much caffeine may affect the quality of your breast milk. Research shows that mothers who consume lots of coffee have less iron in their breast milk, compared to mothers who don't drink much.

Just to be sure that your baby is getting the best-quality breastmilk from you, reduce the amount of coffee you consume per day.

Another trick is to drink your hot beverage at the proper time. 

When to Drink Coffee While Breastfeeding

How do you avoid feeding your baby with milk containing trace amounts of caffeine? There are a few recommendations from experts.

First, do not take coffee right before you breastfeed your baby. Feed your baby before you drink your coffee. Wait a couple of hours—at least 3 hours—before you breastfeed again.

Second, reduce coffee intake. One cup a day is recommended. You can also stop taking coffee until your baby is old enough to process it better. If you’re still worried, you can stop drinking coffee until the breastfeeding period is done.

How Much Coffee Can I Drink Per Day?

A cup per day is considered most ideal. While breastfeeding, reduce your caffeine intake to 300 milligrams a day.

Other Sources of Caffeine to Watch out For

While you’re worried about the caffeine content of coffee, don’t forget that caffeine is present in many other beverages and edibles. 

As you reduce coffee intake, you should watch out for these items while breastfeeding:

  • Soda
  • Energy drinks
  • Chocolate
  • Pain relief medications
  • Weight loss supplements
  • Some teas

Many teas are caffeine-free. Just make sure you check them before drinking. You should also remember that decaffeinated coffee still contains caffeine, so stay away from it if you’re controlling your caffeine intake.

How to Reduce Coffee Intake

If you have been drinking lots of coffee, stopping abruptly will cause you to have some withdrawal symptoms.

Caffeine is a stimulant and helps performance during activities. Make gradual adjustments to your coffee routine so that you will be able to continue performing optimally. Caffeine withdrawal can last for up to nine days.

Caffeine withdrawal symptoms include:

  • headaches
  • tiredness
  • increased irritability
  • depression
  • difficulty focusing
  • muscle pains
  • vomiting

What Can You Do to Get More Energy?

As a nursing mother, I understand that you may find it very difficult to get enough rest. Hence, you may become fatigued when going about your daily activities. While caffeine might provide energy to work, it is by no means the best method.

Here are some activities that will help you get more energy naturally.

Drink More Water

Dehydration can cause you to feel tired even when you have rested. Remember to stay hydrated by drinking more water. 

Believe it or not, staying hydrated will give you more energy. Nursing mothers should drink at least 3.5 liters (13 cups) of water a day.

In case you're curious, find out if coffee is dehydrating

Exercise More Often

Take a walk outside your house or do a short workout routine. Exercising boosts your endorphins and makes you more energetic. It also boosts your fitness level and helps circulate blood much quicker.

You will notice that your usual daily tasks will be much easier when you exercise. It will also help you sleep faster and better. Ask your physician if you can start to exercise and how much workout would be safe for you. About 100 to 150 minutes of activity per week should be the target.

Eat Well

The process of making breast milk is very demanding. It requires a lot of calories and leaves you tired.

While breastfeeding, focus on eating more nutritious foods. Good examples of things you should eat more are fish, meat, fruits, and veggies. You can also add healthy fatty foods like avocados.

The total calories to be eaten depends on your weight. While breastfeeding, you can add 500 calories extra to what you normally eat.

Create a To-Do List

Focus on doing the essentials. A to-do list will help you reduce the workload to only what is necessary every day. You don't want to do too much as you will be needing the energy for your baby.

Visit Friends and Family

Staying indoors too long can be very draining. If you have a family or friend around, visit them. Relating with loved ones will keep you happy and energized.

Takeaway

So, are breastfeeding moms allowed to drink coffee? Coffee and other caffeine products are generally not harmful while breastfeeding. The important thing to note is to watch your baby's behavior. If your baby shows signs of irritation or getting less sleep, you should either reduce or stop taking coffee.

Avatar for Krista Haws

Known among her friends as 'the caffeine fiend', Krista loves all things coffee. From an extremely short, strong espresso to a 3 day cold brew, Krista loves them all.

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