Caffeine and Breastfeeding

As the new mom to an infant, you may find yourself craving caffeine for energy. Surviving on a few hours of sleep during the newborn stage is tiring, after all!

Some say that breastfeeding moms should not consume caffeine at all because it will negatively impact your baby, but this is actually a myth! It has been found that low to moderate consumption does not adversely affect infants.

Keep reading to learn more about how caffeine affects breast milk.

How Much Caffeine Is Safe?

The CDC states that less than 300mg of caffeine per day is suitable for breastfeeding moms.

But what does that look like exactly? In terms of coffee, this would be approximately 2-3 cups of a regular drip roast. However, don’t forget that there are many different drinks (and foods) that contain caffeine.

The graphic below shows some of the most common sources, take a look at what caffeinated beverages you consume on the daily!

So while 2-3 cups of coffee may sound like a lot, if you are having coffee combined with other beverages or foods, it can be easier to hit that 300mg than you may think. For example, a latte, 12 oz soda and a chocolate bar over the course of a day could bring you right up to that 300mg limit. This is why if you are an avid caffeine drinker, it is important for you to keep note of how much your are consuming while breastfeeding.

How Does Caffeine Interact With Breast Milk And Infants?

Caffeine passes in small amounts through breast milk. In fact, only approximately 0.06-1.5% of the caffeine a mother consumes is transferred into breast milk. The half-life, or time it takes for more than half of the caffeine to be metabolized by the mother is 3-7 hours, but 120 hours for a newborn. Meaning that half the caffeine will still be detected in the infant after 120 hours. At 3-5 months of age, the half-life of caffeine is 14 hours. Caffeine levels peak typically 1 hour after a dose (NCBI).

High caffeine consumption is linked to irritability, poor sleeping patterns, fussiness, and jitteriness in infants (CDC). Since everyone’s bodies react differently, mothers should consider decreasing their intake if they notice their infant exhibiting these adverse effects.

So yes, at the end of the day, it is safe for breastfeeding mothers to drink caffeine. It is important to note how much you are consuming, and keeping it under 300mg per day to avoid any negative side effects on your breastfed infant.


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