As many lactation consultants will confirm, one of the most popular questions breastfeeding moms have is regarding coffee and caffeine. Is it safe? How much is too much? Will it affect my baby’s health or sleep? Good news for coffee drinking moms; you can have your cup of coffee and drink it too.
On April 2, 2012, Pediatrics, published the results of a recent Brazilian study regarding pregnancy, breastfeeding and caffeine. Doctors and other professionals at the Federal University of Pelotas, Brazil, came to the conclusion that caffeine intake by nursing mothers has no effect on their baby’s sleep patterns. This news will come as a relief to many new and expectant mothers around the world.
The study was based on interviews and medical records of 885 mothers and their infants. No correlation could be found between a mom’s caffeine consumption and the amount or quality of sleep their baby had. Large doses of caffeine in pregnant and lactating mothers seemed to have no consequence on the sleep their babies were getting at age 3 months. The study did not differieniate between babies who were left to cry it out, or babies who were attended too. Other factors such as gender, race, maternal age, alcohol consumption and family income were accounted for in the study, giving it more credibility.
Researchers concluded that caffeine consumption is quite prevalent, and high in pregnant mothers. Due to that their babies seem to have built up a tolerance to caffeine by birth. Researchers speculate that genetics and built-up tolerance are factors in whether or not a baby’s sleep is affected by caffeine.
As with most food and drink in lactating women, moderation is key. The American Academy of Pediatrics, or AAP, states that caffeine is safe for breast-feeding women in moderate amounts (defined as two to three cups of coffee a day, or the equivalent amount of caffeine in other products).
Enjoy your morning cup of coffee, or even two, knowing that it will not keep you or your baby up at night. Just remember moderation and the other health risks associated with caffeine consumption.
Always remember to consult your pediatrician and lactation consultant with questions or concerns about your diet, or other consumption while nursing. Local lactation consultants can be reached at Parker Adventist Hospital at 303-269-4388, and at Littleton Adventist Hospital at 303-734-8744. Phone advice is free at both hospitals.