Thursday, July 31, 2014

Caffeine use while breastfeeding

Recently a mother told me she chose formula feeding over breastfeeding because she “just can’t help having coffee, tea, and chocolate.”

That is one of those myths that many mothers believe are true—unless the mother eat healthy, her breast milk is no better than infant formula, or if the mother drink coffee or tea, her milk does more harm to the babies than formula.

The truth is, however, it is safe to have caffeine while breastfeeding as long as the mother doesn’t over do it. When caffeine enters the mother’s bloodstream, a small amount of it, usually less than 1 percent, ends up in her breast milk. The caffeine amount in her milk peaks a couple of hours after she consume it.

Since a newborn’s body can’t easily break down and get rid of the caffeine, it may accumulate in his system. At about three months, the baby will begin to process caffeine more efficiently, and over time it will become easier and easier for hime to excrete it.

Experts say that a moderate amount of caffeine, which means no more than 300 milligrams per day, or the amount in about 16 ounces of brewed coffee, is fine for nursing moms and should cause no changes in most babies’ behavior. Only when mother drinking more than two or three cups of coffee a day could cause the baby to become irritable, jittery, or agitated.

Many foods contain caffeine, coffee is one, obviously. The amount of caffeine in a serving of coffee varies widely, depending on the type of bean, how it’s roasted, how it’s brewed, and, of course, on the size of the coffee cup. For example, although espresso contains more caffeine per ounce, it’s served in a tint cup, so a full cup of brewed coffee will deliver more caffeine.

To manage the caffeine intake, a mother need to be aware of other sources, like tea, soft drinks, energy drinks, and coffee ice cream. Caffeine also shows up in herbal products and over-the-counter drugs, including some headache, cold, and allergy remedies. So read the label carefully.

Below is a chart of amount of caffeine in common beverages, courtesybabycenter.com.

CoffeeAmountCaffeine
coffee, generic brewed8 oz95-200 mg
coffee, Starbucks brewed16 oz (grande)330 mg
coffee, Dunkin' Donuts brewed16 oz211 mg
caffé latte, misto, or cappuccino, Starbucks16 oz (grande)150 mg
caffé latte, misto, or cappuccino, Starbucks12 oz (tall)75 mg
espresso, Starbucks1 oz (1 shot )75 mg
espresso, generic1 oz (1 shot)64 mg
coffee, generic instant1 tsp granules31 mg
coffee, generic decaffeinated8 oz2 mg


TeaAmountCaffeine
black tea, brewed8 oz47 mg
green tea, brewed8 oz25 mg
black tea, decaffeinated8 oz2 mg
Starbucks Tazo Chai Tea latte16 oz (grande)95 mg
instant tea, unsweetened1 tsp powder26 mg
Snapple16 oz42 mg
Lipton Brisk iced tea12 oz5 mg


Soft drinksAmountCaffeine
Coke12 oz35 mg
Diet Coke12 oz47 mg
Pepsi12 oz38 mg
Diet Pepsi12 oz36 mg
Jolt Cola12 oz72 mg
Mountain Dew12 oz54 mg
7-Up12 oz0 mg
Sierra Mist12 oz0 mg
Sprite12 oz0 mg


Energy drinksAmountCaffeine
Red Bull8.3 oz77 mg
SoBe Essential Energy, berry or orange8 oz48 mg
5-Hour Energy2 oz138 mg


DessertsAmountCaffeine
dark chocolate (70-85% cacao solids)1 oz23 mg
milk chocolate1.55-oz9 mg
coffee ice cream or frozen yogurt8 oz2 mg
hot cocoa8 oz8-12 mg
chocolate chips, semisweet4 oz53 mg
chocolate milk8 oz5-8 mg

Every baby is different, though. Some babies seem to be bothered when the mother have even a small amount of caffeine. My little one was one of those babies, so I cut caffeine out of my diet for two years. It’s not I love coffee less, but I love my baby more.

My last coffee. Photo taken 2 weeks before I found being pregnant.
Related to this article: 17 Effects of Caffeine on the Body 

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