Greetings that you are a mother now! After toiling for nine months, you are looking forward to enjoy all the restricted foods. Is it the yearning for delicious roadside junk such as pani puri or chat or relishing kebabs or oriental brunch at a fine dining restaurant? A quick reminder, you are a new mother and shoulder new responsibilities. Your little bundle of joy is totally dependent on you for food and survival.
If your baby shows sign of diarrhea, rash, hives, vomiting, runny nose, irregular stools or irritability after breastfeeding, then it’s a good idea to keep an eye on what you previously consumed. Perhaps that food item entered the breast milk and causing allergy to the baby?
Caffeine And Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is the sole route of providing nourishment to your baby for the first couple of months after birth. Some foods are capable of passing into the breast milk. Now considering that the new born baby may be sensitive to some items, it is sensible to think once about what you eat. One such common ingredient is caffeine, which according to researchers enters breast milk and is difficult to be tolerated by newborns. Caffeine is not just in coffee, it is present in most chocolates, drinks (soda, energy drinks), desserts, tea, pain relievers etc. The baby’s underdeveloped system finds it difficult to break down the caffeine and it may get stored in the body. The caffeine may render your baby restless and awake!
Caffeine And The Newborns
Although only 1% of the caffeine consumed by a nursing mother reaches the baby through breast milk, which is deemed very low, is it safe for the baby? Every baby is unique and so is their digestion and metabolism. The metabolism of a new born baby is very sluggish and may take up to several days to process caffeine. Therefore caffeine remains in the body of a newborn baby and may have unwanted consequences since his system cannot break down the caffeine. When your baby turns about 3 months old, he will be able to process caffeine with ease as his digestive system also develops. He should be able to excrete the same, easily.
Caffeine and Breast-fed Babies
Now those mothers who have diligently avoided caffeine during pregnancy and resume its intake during breastfeeding may also cause discomfort to the baby. Gas, bloating, loose watery stools are a few signs of this. Strong coffee, herbal teas and even carbonated drinks contain reasonable amount of caffeine. Since caffeine has the tendency to seep into breast milk, large quantities of caffeine may cause gas with discomfort to the baby. Some more sensitive babies can even suffer from diarrhea due to the presence of caffeine in breast milk. If you notice your baby feels uncomfortable or cries after nursing post you have indulged in a cup of coffee, you may want to cut it down to see if that helps.
Which Foods And Beverages Contain Caffeine?
From coffee and tea, obviously, to soft drinks, energy drinks, chocolates, hot cocoa, chocolate milk, and some chocolate or coffee flavored ice creams all contain caffeine in varied quantities. Herbal teas like the popular green tea also contain caffeine and so do the regular soft drinks like coke and pepsi. To ensure that your caffeine intake is the minimum, do read the labels carefully.
How Much Caffeine Is Safe During Breastfeeding?
Researchers suggest limiting the caffeine intake to less than 300 mg per day. That is about 2-3 cups of coffee or tea each day, and no other caffeinated food product. It takes about an hour for caffeine to reach its peak in breast milk. Depending on the metabolism, most adults process caffeine within 2-3 hours of intake. So if you really have that coffee or chocolate craving, have it at least 2 hours prior to breast feeding.
If you use coffee to battle sleepiness post pregnancy to keep up with the increased demands of motherhood, think again! Your coffee may actually be working against you. Is caffeine the culprit behind colic? Is it keeping your baby extra alert and awake? The more caffeine you gulp in, the greater the amount reaching your baby. If you find that caffeine is indeed upsetting the baby, then do not immediately withdraw from it. This may result in unpleasant side effects to you such as headache and dizziness. Slow down gradually.
Does Caffeine Affect Breast-milk Supply?
Good news is that there is no evidence of caffeine affecting the supply of breast milk. So you may continue to indulge in those chocolate brownies and sip on cola BUT in moderation. It’s sensible enough to read the food label before you purchase the item. Nowadays you can even opt for decaffeinated teas and herbal teas. Also keep an eye on the coffee you buy or drink at bistro. Espresso contains concentrated coffee, approximately 77 mg caffeine in just 44 ml. Although this differs from cafe to cafe, depending on what you ordered, you coffee may contain one or two shots of espresso. Stick to milder drinks such as latte or cappuccino!
All in all, nothing to worry about caffeine and your baby, just keep an alert eye on his behavior if your caffeine consumption is high!