Caffeine and Breastfeeding

Can you drink caffeine and breastfeed?

This simple answer is YES!

Many times moms are told to adjust their eating habits when they are breastfeeding. One of those adjustments includes a reduction in caffeine, but does that really affect breastfeeding?

First, let’s discuss the different drinks and medications that contain caffeine. The typical drinks that come to mind are coffee and tea, however, there are many other drinks that contain caffeine such as:

  • Soda
  • Some Sports Drinks or Energy Drinks
  • Hot Chocolate
  • Flavored Water
  • Dark Chocolate

There are also some medications that contain caffeine, such as pain relievers (including menstrual pain relievers) and some weight loss medications or supplements.

But how much of moms caffeine intake passes through breastmilk to baby?

Would you be surprised to know that only about 1% of the caffeine in a mom’s body passes through her breastmilk to the baby? According to several studies, it is safe for moms to consume 300mg to 500mg of caffeine per day. This is equivalent to 2-3 cups of coffee. How amazing does that sound when you are lacking some sleep!

According to Dr. Hale (pp.84, 2021) at the InfantRisk Center at Texas Tech University, caffeine is categorized as an L2 drug, which is considered safe for infants. Infants process caffeine at different rates based on their age. The half-life of newborns is 97.5 hours, in 3-5-month-olds it is 14 hours, and 2.6 hours in 6-month-olds. Also according to Dr. Hale (pp.84, 2021) caffeine levels in breastmilk peak around 1-2 hours after intake.

References

Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed) [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Library of Medicine (US); 2006-. Caffeine. [Updated 2021 Apr 19]. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK501467/

Thomas W. Hale, R.PH, Ph.D. (2021). Hale’s medications & mother’s milk (19th ed.) Springer Publishing Co.

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