Is It Safe? Caffeine and Alcohol While Breastfeeding

February 26, 2013
Is It Safe? Caffeine and Alcohol While Breastfeeding

By the time your baby comes, you’ve spent about 9 months without enjoying your morning cup of coffee or a glass of wine at night. So, you’ll be happy to hear that there is a way to enjoy small amounts of caffeine and alcohol at some point in your breastfeeding journey. Just keep in mind that caffeine and alcohol do enter your breastmilk after consumption, so the timing and amount you consume are critical.

Caffeine While Breastfeeding
After a late night or an early morning, we don’t blame a mom for craving a little pick-me-up. Being a mom is understandably tiring, but we have good news. In careful moderation, a small amount of caffeine will not harm your breastfed baby.

When caffeine enters your bloodstream, a small amount can be passed along to your baby through breastmilk. Keep in mind that the concentration of caffeine in your breastmilk will peak about two hours after breastfeeding. We recommend limiting your daily caffeine intake to less than 300 milligrams. For comparison, 300 milligrams is about 2 (8 oz) cups of coffee. Also, be sure to check the caffeine levels in other drinks you consume regularly. If you feel you’ve consumed too much caffeine, you can “pump and dump” your next pumping session to empty your breasts. This will ensure your little one isn’t affected by too much caffeine.

Alcohol While Breastfeeding
Whether it’s a quiet night after the baby is in bed, or a much-needed night out with friends, many healthcare professionals say a small amount of alcohol is acceptable (after your baby is 3 months old or older).

The safest way to have a drink while breastfeeding is to feed your baby with previously expressed breastmilk for their next feeding. This will ensure that no alcohol was transferred into the breastmilk. Another option is to enjoy your drink immediately after your last feeding session or during the time your baby typically sleeps the longest, so your body has time to process the alcohol. Regardless, studies show during the 4 hours after a breastfeeding mom consumes one drink, babies consume about 20 percent less milk. Also, babies will become drowsy and fall asleep more quickly after their mother drinks alcohol, but they also sleep for a shorter amount of time.

In general, be sure to drink enough water when consuming caffeine or alcohol, as dehydration can affect your milk supply.

Did you enjoy a caffeinated drinks or alcohol in moderation while breastfeeding? What precautions did you take? Share in the comments below.

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