Caffeine & Breast Feeding- How it can help and hurt your production

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Where would all the mama’s in the world be if it wasn’t for coffee? I can guarantee that alot less stuff would get done. This blog might not exists if it wasn’t for caffeine every morning to get my juices flowin’. But what about my most important juice of all, my breast milk? Is it okay to enjoy a cop of joe while breastfeeding?

In 1994, Nehlig & DebryI, released a study showing that caffeine could actually stimulate breast milk production. I spent hours searching for more details on the topic of caffeine and breast milk stimulation, but that one study was all I could find. I really trust these Nehlig and Debry guy, so lets go with it!  A cup of coffee can actually help stimulate breast milk production,but don’t cue coffee bean the confetti just yet. As a breast feeding mama, there are still a few precautions you need to take.

How much is safe?

As you probably know, what you ingest, baby ingests. Now, its still up for debate exactly how much makes it’s way to baby, but too much caffeine and a baby sound like a terrible combination, so it’s best to be conservative. It’s best to be even more conservative with a newborn; a recent study showed it could take up to 160 hours for caffeine to leave a newborns body. By month 3 or 4, babies are able to get rid of the caffeine at the same rate that mama does, so it’s safer once they hit that age.  While breast feeding, doctors suggest no more than 3 cups per day. That even sounds like alot to this coffee addict.

If you ingest too much coffee and your baby becomes overstimulated by the abundance of caffeine in their system, it may effect their nursing.  A baby who is jittery from the caffeine will eat less, thus hurting your milk supply. All that caffeine could lead to baby sleeping less, meaning more coffee for mama, and the vicious cycle begins.  Caffeine can also dehydrate your body, thus causing a decrease in milk supply. Try drinking at least 8 ounces of water before and after each cup of coffee to keep this from happening.

Babies can also be very sensitive to caffeine. Studies show that if mom did not have any coffee while pregnant and introduces it back into her diet after birth, babies are even more likely to have negative reactions. These problems will likely go away as the baby gets older, so don’t count coffee out forever!

If you think caffeine is effecting your baby, slowly cut back and monitor them closely. You know your baby best and no study can speak for every single baby. Do what you believe is best for them.

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