If you’re like many, many (many) new moms, you don’t function well without caffeine. No coffee and you’re prone to sleepiness, irritability and even more irritability.
However, with it, your breastfed baby is prone to irritability, too. Not to mention sleeplessness. That’s according to a peer-reviewed publication, the Journal of Caffeine Research.
While research on caffeine and pregnant women is usually at the forefront, not as much attention is generally paid to caffeine and postpartum women who breastfeed.
According to discussion among researchers in the journal piece, babies are “not able to metabolize or excrete caffeine very well, so a breastfeeding mother’s consumption of caffeine may lead to caffeine accumulation and symptoms such as wakefulness and irritability.”
Fortunately the effects of caffeine on a baby are really only significant in the first few weeks of life, according to the journal. A newborn baby can take up to four days to excrete the caffeine, compared to just a few hours for an adult. However, there could also be a link between caffeine and colicky babies.
While an average of three cups of coffee (or 300 mg of caffeine) is likely fine for most women, the journal points out that many are unaware of all the sources of caffeine, including sports drinks and some herbal teas and are at risk of consuming much more.
For more on the piece about breastfeeding and caffeine, go here.