THE ANSWER IS
"YES, SHE CAN, BUT MODERATELY."
BABY'S REACTION TO MOM'S CAFFEINE INTAKE
WIDE-EYED, ACTIVE, ALERT, UNUSUALLY FUSSY,
AND DOESN'T SLEEP FOR LONG.
CAN A BREASTFEEDING MOM HAVE CAFFEINE?
For all the coffee-lovers out there who just gave birth, this could be a serious question. The answer is yes, she can, but moderately. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics has classified caffeine as a “Maternal Medication Usually Compatible with Breastfeeding.” Studies show that moderate caffeine consumption while nursing is not harmful for baby. To define “moderate”, many experts recommend a 300mg/day upper limit for nursing and pregnant moms. Exceeding this limit of caffeine intake, however, could potentially affect your baby.
BABY’S REACTION TO MOM’S CAFFEINE INTAKE
Newborns have a much harder time breaking down and getting rid of caffeine in their bodies than older infants. If your baby seems to be sensitive to caffeine, it will gradually alleviate as the baby gets older. Around 3 months, baby will begin to metabolize caffeine more efficiently, and will not react so sensitively as before. So if you do have to stop your caffeine consumption, you can try again when baby is older.
Couple of signs that show baby is over-stimulated by caffeine are: wide-eyed, active, alert, unusually fussy, and doesn’t sleep for long. If your baby seems to be particularly fussy or wakeful and you are a coffee-loving mama, you might want to cut back on your caffeine intake for 2-3 weeks to see it it makes a difference.
WILL CAFFEINE AFFECT MY BREASTMILK SUPPLY?
No. It is a widespread myth that caffeine decreases milk supply for nursing Moms, but so far there has been no such study that proves the correlation. In fact, one study (Nehlig & Debry, 1994) shows that caffeine could actually stimulate breastmilk production. What could decrease milk supply is a fussy baby who will not nurse well. Caffeine could cause the baby to get fussy, but will not directly affect your milk production.
In the end, every baby is different. Some babies will react more sensitively to your caffeine intake than others. In general, drinking more than two or three cups of coffee day could cause your baby to get agitated. If you are a Mom who cannot live without coffee or chocolate, you might want to keep a close eye on baby’s reaction, and make changes accordingly.