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Caffeine and Breastfeeding

Several questions have come up recently about caffeine intake and breastfeeding. With spending more time indoors we are probably all drinking more caffeinated beverages.

Most of us drink caffeine in one form or another. Women who drink a significant amount of caffeinated drinks who notice that their babies are jittery and restless, may find reduction in caffeine consumption leads to resolution of symptoms. This does not mean that all breastfeeding women need to restrict their consumption of tea and coffee A baby who appears restless may benefit from lowered caffeine intake by the mother but for the average consumption there is little evidence to support restricting intake. From research maternal consumption below 300 milligrammes a day should not cause issues for breastfed babies.

Extract reproduced from Breastfeeding and Medication 2018 by Jones W (Routledge, London)

See also https://www.e-lactancia.org/breastfeeding/caffeine/product/

Moderate coffee consumption does not produce significant levels of caffeine in plasma or urine of infants, and may be undetectable or below therapeutic levels in the neonatal period. (Blanchard 1992, Fulton 1990, Berlin 1984, Hildebrandt 1983, Bailey 1982, Rivera 1977)

Doses greater than 300 – 500 mg of caffeine daily can cause nervousness, irritability and insomnia in the infant (Santos 2012, Martin 2007, Clement 1989, Rustin 1989), as well as decreased iron levels in breast milk and anemia in the infant (Muñoz 1988). Also has been related to the Raynaud’s phenomenon in the nipple of nursing women. (McGuinness 2013)

One study found no problems in infants whose mothers consumed 500 mg of caffeine daily for 5 days. (Ryu 1985)

There is insufficient evidence on the recommended amount of caffeine during lactation. (McCreedy 2018)

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