New mommies know all about the long list of things that they should not eat or drink while breastfeeding.  But, what about coffee?  Is it okay to drink coffee and breastfeed?

The science is not 100% solid here.  It really depends on you and your baby’s situation.

New moms tend to drink a couple more cups of coffee per week though, that much is clear.  And, with the erratic sleep and feeding schedule of a new baby, you really cannot blame them for reaching for that extra drink of coffee either.

How much caffeine am I even drinking?

According to Healthy Mummy, up to 300mg of caffeine per day is typically okay.

How much is 300mg of coffee?

  • Green teas have about 35mg of caffeine per 8 ounce cup
  • Sodas have about 40mg per cup
  • Black teas have about 50mg of caffeine per cup
  • Energy drinks have around 75mg of caffeine per 8 ounces
  • Coffee has about 100mg caffeine per cup
  • Espresso has about 64mg caffeine PER OUNCE

What else do I need to know?

So, you can get quite a bit of caffeine before it could become an issue for the average infant.  This is because only about 1.5% or less of the caffeine makes it to the breast milk.

However, infants under 6 months are particularly susceptible to caffeine’s effects.  This is why 300mg in a day is the recommended maximum.

We have spoken about the average half life of caffeinea in our blog before.

The “half life of caffeine” means, on average, how many hours does it take your body to remove half of the caffeine that you drink?  It depends on a couple factors, but on the long side it is 6 hours.

This means that if you have 2 cups of coffee, in 6 hours, you could potentially still have 1 cup’s worth of caffeine in your system.

And what about the half life of caffeine in an infant (6 months or younger)?  Nearly 100 hours!

What are some action steps:

  1. Watch your baby!  Try to see if your little one gets wide eyed and has trouble sleeping if you breastfeed 60 minutes or more after drinking something caffeinated.  If your baby was pre-term or has health issues, it may be best to forego caffeine entirely, and try some other options to stay perky.
  2. Stop drinking caffeine after lunch time.  This will help both with your quality of sleep, and help you get some nice, caffeine-free breast milk for part of the day.
  3. Ask a pediatrician!  A medical doctor knows best and will help guide you to developing both you and your baby’s peak performance.

So, is it okay to drink coffee and breastfeed?  Usually, yes.  But watch yourself and check with a medical doctor.