Posted by: Admin | March 31, 2011

Dear LC, Can I drink coffee when I breastfeed?

Yes, you can drink coffee when you breastfeed! But how many cups can you drink? My first and quick answer would be: See how your baby reacts and adapt how many cups you drink to his reaction. If he sleeps well, is not irritable and grows well, just continue as you were! But if it disrupts his sleep pattern, if he cries a lot and has trouble breastfeeding, you had better reduce the number of cups you are drinking.

Here is some information that might help you:

First of all, it is important to know that caffeine is found in many different foods: you can find it in some vegetables such as cauliflower and eggplant, soft drinks like colas, and over-the-counter medications like Anacin, Excedrin and Midol. There are also compounds similar to caffeine in tea and chocolate. So when you want to evaluate your caffeine intake, you have to be careful to consider all your caffeine-related intake as well.

Caffeine passes into breastmilk quickly (1 to 2 hours after ingestion), but in very small quantities (0,6 to 1,5 percent of the maternal dose). Babies have more ability to metabolize caffeine as they grow older, so it tends to accumulate in their system when they are small. For example, the half-life of caffeine is about 97 hours in a newborn but decreases to 14 hours at 3-5 months old and to 2 hours at 6 months. The older your baby is, the easier it is for his body to deal with caffeine.

As a rule of thumb, a mother would need to drink more than 5 cups (that is, 5 ounces) of coffee per day (considering also the type of coffee) before a baby is affected. An over-stimulated baby would be wide-eyed, active, alert and unable to sleep for long. He might also be unusually fussy. To find out if your baby’s behavior is affected by your caffeine intake, cut down gradually for a week and substitute caffeine-free beverages for your coffee. Remember that abrupt withdrawal from caffeine can cause headaches and other symptoms.



  1. […] As for caffeine causing your baby’s colic: it is a possibility. After all, irritability in a baby is defined as fussiness and crying!  So if you do drink a lot of caffeine-containing drinks and have a colicky baby, you could try to avoid the guilty stuff! It is important to avoid them for a good three weeks to be able to really tell if it makes a difference. If you do not see any change, you can resume your old ways, but a decrease in caffeine-containing drinks is always a good thing, even for you! If you want more information on drinking coffee during breastfeeding, look for my blog on this subject on March 31, 2011. […]

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