Can caffeine and breastfeeding be present in a mother’s life at the same time? This is the question that bothers a lot of young mothers. The nutrition of the future and nursing mother should be extremely healthy and balanced. It’s no secret that after giving birth a mother should stick to the diet, so as not to harm the tiny organism of the baby. That is why she should choose safe, environmentally friendly and natural food products.
But when everything is relatively clear with food the situation with drinks is different. Not so long ago doctors unanimously insisted that a young mother must not drink coffee while breastfeeding. Now pediatricians became somewhat more lenient to this drink. Today caffeine while breastfeeding is allowed but in small amounts. It is especially difficult to refuse to drink coffee while breastfeeding for women who are accustomed to drinking several cups of this divine-tasty drink. They simply can’t imagine their morning without the smell of roasted coffee beans.
So what is the harm of this drink? Maybe it’s just myths and empty rumors that caffeine contained in this drink can be detrimental to the health of a newborn baby?
Myths of the Past About Caffeine and Breastfeeding
- You can drink only decaffeinated coffee while breastfeeding.
Not true. This analog of coffee contains caffeine as well. The difference is that the concentration is lower. But the content of cholesterol in it is much higher. Thus, you will not get rid of caffeine but will add cholesterol.
- Coffee is not allowed, tea is needed.
Not true. In different kinds of tea caffeine content varies from equal to coffee beans to a greater concentration. In green tea, there is a component (an analog of caffeine) – theine. Its influence on the human nervous system is not always positive. Therefore, the choice of drink should be based on the individual reaction of the baby and the mother, and not on the stereotypes of our society. Coffee while breastfeeding can do one less harm than drinking a lot of strong tea.
- Drink everything you want. The child needs to be accustomed to everything from the first days. Then they will be adapted to the outside world.
Not true. This rule has the right to exist both in medicine and in dietology. However, everything has its limits. Up to 2 months a nursing mother should be extremely cautious with food. The newborn’s gastrointestinal tract is still too weak. The microflora is only being recruited, all the processes are being normalized, the body is adapting. After the period of the newborn, the baby can be slowly accustomed to these or that products. Caffeine falls into the list of such products.
- Instant coffee has no natural components. Therefore there is no potential danger.
Not true. In instant coffee the caffeine content is just off the scale! The purpose of the product is to satisfy the needs of the organism, to reduce the cost of manufacturing the product, and to tie a potential buyer. Instant coffee is made from a low-grade grain variety, which has the maximum content of caffeine.
How Does Caffeine While Breastfeeding Affect the Baby?
Why do young moms try not to drink coffee? This is mainly due to prejudices about caffeine which is part of the fragrant invigorating drink. Mothers are afraid that caffeine will have a negative impact on the baby. The most popular “horror story” is the following: a child will become nervous, restless, will not sleep well, and will lag behind in development.
In fact, caffeine is not really healthy for babies indeed, but for another reason. An infant’s organism is unable to digest and withdraw it. Accumulating in the body of the baby, caffeine can actually have a harmful effect. But this is possible only when you drink coffee regularly in decent amounts.
Other than that, the nursing mother may not be afraid of caffeine while breastfeeding. Besides coffee itself, caffeine is contained in many other products: chocolate of any kind, cocoa, black and green tea. By the way, keep in mind that green tea contains more caffeine than coffee, and, nevertheless, breastfeeding is not a reason to refuse to drink it.
Like any new product, coffee can provoke an allergic reaction in the baby. Watch for an allergic reaction during the first hours after feeding the baby “coffee” milk.
Caffeine and Breastfeeding: Influence on Mother and Child
The desire of a woman to drink a cup of coffee in the morning is absolutely understandable. It helps to “recharge” after a sleepless night or take a break between domestic chores and constant care for the child. But while coffee cheers the mother up and gives her strength and energy the influence of coffee on the baby is a bit different.
Practical experience shows that caffeine can sometimes be harmful to a child:
- Caffeine while breastfeeding increases nervous excitability. The child can become overexcited, irritable, or whiny. Caffeine can break their sleeping schedule. And, what’s more, a child may lose appetite.
- Coffee is a product with high allergenicity. After caffeine breastfeeding, a child may have problems with stool or may get a rash on the skin. These are signs of an allergy.
- Coffee has an evident diuretic ability. That is why the child needs to be given the opportunity to make up for the loss of fluids in a timely manner.
- Caffeine while breastfeeding can affect the withdrawal of calcium and other beneficial substances from the body.
- Coffee while breastfeeding should be excluded if your baby is prescribed drugs containing caffeine. In particular, caffeine can be found in painkillers and remedies for lungs.
If after a cup of coffee drunk by the mother the baby has reddened cheeks or falls into fitful sleep and often wakes up at night it is necessary to stop drinking coffee for a while. But this doesn’t mean that every baby will react with allergic signs or become excessively nervous. In this issue, everything is individual and a lot depends on the health of the baby.
As for the influence of coffee while breastfeeding on lactation, there’s nothing to worry about. As a rule, caffeine has no influence on the amount and quality of milk. Especially if the mother drinks high-quality coffee and in small portions. What’s more, the fact is that there is a different content of caffeine in different types of coffee.
How to Сhoose Сoffee for a Nursing Mom?
It’s clear that coffee for a nursing mother should be natural, preferably made from freshly ground grains. Drinking instant coffee is not recommended. Such coffee is made from lower grade grains, contains a lot of caffeine, and is chemically-processed. Allergies and dangerous consequences, in this case, are more likely to appear than after a cup of natural beverage.
Decaffeinated coffee deserves a separate mention. The name of the drink itself is deceptive. Decaffeinated coffee does not exist. In fact, this is coffee with reduced caffeine content. In terms of the degree of harm, such coffee is close to the instant one, since it is also chemically-processed.
Is Caffeine While Breastfeeding Worth the Risk?
Before drinking the first cup of coffee after delivery, think carefully about all the nuances.
- If a mom regularly drinks coffee while breastfeeding, caffeine will accumulate in child’s body. Its influence on the nervous system is not harmful, but it’s not beneficial either.
- In our time of widespread hyperactivity of babies, this component in mother’s diet can aggravate the condition of the newborn.
- Coffee is addictive like drugs. No mother would want her baby to experience any pathological addictions.
If it is still difficult to refrain from craving for a favorite drink, stick to the following recommendations.
The Main Rules of Consuming Caffeine and Breastfeeding
- Drink only made from grains coffee. Cook it yourself.
- Coffee is safe in small amounts. For example, one cup once a day or every few days.
- If you want to drink coffee – it is better to do it in the morning. What concerns breastfeeding – drink coffee right after feeding, so that the next concentration of caffeine in breast milk is lower.
- If you drink coffee while breastfeeding, reduce the intake of other caffeinated products.
- Be sure to increase the intake of foods containing calcium (cheese, cottage cheese, etc). Nursing mothers always suffer from the lack of calcium, and coffee contributes to its elimination from the body.
- Do not forget to drink an extra glass of clean water for every cup of coffee: caffeine causes dehydration, and it is very important for the nursing mother to maintain the fluid balance.
Refusing coffee at all or ignoring warnings are both extremes. The best option, as usual, is the middle way. Even a nursing mother can surely indulge herself with her favorite drink without any harm to the child.