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Should I Have Caffeine While Breastfeeding?

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  • Written By: Tony Hernandez
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 23 August 2016
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Whether to have caffeine while breastfeeding is a common question among nursing mothers. Most research seems to conclude that having some caffeine while nursing a baby might be fine. You should watch the baby for signs of sensitivity to caffeine, and cut down or stop having caffeine altogether while breastfeeding. This is especially true if your baby is ill, younger than 6 months or premature, or if you did not have any caffeine at all while pregnant.

Effects of caffeine on your baby might include an unusual level of fussiness, short sleeping times and a high level of alertness and activity. Your little one might also be jittery, agitated or irritable in much the same way you might be affected by too much caffeine. Less than 1 percent of the caffeine you drink will actually get into your breast milk. How your baby reacts to caffeine while breastfeeding depends on how sensitive he or she is to it. Also remember that the effect of caffeine on your baby is cumulative, so failure to notice signs of caffeine sensitivity might make things worse.

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Some people believe that caffeine decreases the supply of breast milk. This is not true, but if your baby is sensitive to caffeine in your milk, he or she might not nurse as well as a baby who is not as sensitive or whose mother does not have caffeine while breastfeeding. Your milk supply will decrease if your baby nurses poorly, but this is not a direct result of caffeine intake.

Be aware of what the sources of caffeine are. Besides coffee, caffeine is found in colas, desserts that contain coffee or chocolate and some over-the-counter cold or headache preparations. Certain plant products such as green tea also contain caffeine. Being conscious of caffeine sources, and your use of them will make it easier to monitor how much caffeine you are actually having, so that you know how much it is affecting your baby and how much you should or should not give up.

If you like your morning coffee, you probably will be able to keep having it while breastfeeding as long as your baby does not seem to be bothered. Try having less caffeine for a while if you notice signs of caffeine sensitivity in your baby. You might have to stop all caffeine while breastfeeding if even small amounts seem to effect him or her. There is a good chance that you won’t have to give up caffeine while breastfeeding, but every baby is different, and the decision will depend on you and your perception of your baby's sensitivity to caffeine. If you aren't sure what to do, consult with your baby's pediatrician.

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