We all know the effects that caffeine has on us. Many of us can’t drink it past a certain time of day, as it will keep us up all night. Drinking excessive amounts of caffeine during pregnancy should be avoided, but consuming caffeine in moderation has not shown any negative side effects on fetuses and newborns. Experts say that you should not drink more than 300mg per day while you are pregnant, which can be more difficult than it sounds. Even a glass of green tea has 40mg, and Excedrin has 65mg. However, you might be wondering whether or not it’s okay to drink coffee after you’ve given birth while you are breastfeeding. If you’ve recently given birth, you were probably dying for that first big cup of Joe, and your first sleepless night probably had your hubby making a 6am Starbucks run.

Logically, it seems that any amount of caffeine in your breast milk would keep your baby up at night. And, if you’re drinking caffeine while breastfeeding, your guess that the baby has insomnia from it is probably confirmed every night when you get the 3am wakeup call on the baby monitor. However, the results of a recent study show that nighttime waking in infants is not in fact an effect of drinking caffeine while breastfeeding. In the study, Women who drank a lot, a little and none were all compared, and there was no association between their consumption and the amount of nighttime waking they dealt with. No matter how much coffee they drank, their babies woke up in the night just the same.

When you are a tired, new mother, you would do virtually anything to get your baby to sleep through the night. Even though you knew early mornings and late nights were part of the beauty of motherhood, the bags under your eyes tell a different story, and you’d give anything for just a few more hours. However, discontinuing your caffeine consumption will not only make starting the day harder for you, it will also have no effect on the nighttime waking of your infant. So, after the long nine months of moderate caffeine consumption, you can go back to your regular coffee schedule after delivery, even if you are breast-feeding. The amount of caffeine that will enter your baby’s system through the breast milk is simply not enough to have any negative effect.

Source: Ina S. Santos et al: Maternal Caffeine Consumption and Infant Nighttime Waking. The Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics Volume 129 Issue 5 pg. 860-868 May 2012

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