Breastfeeding and chocolate: Is it safe?

Chocolate has a few main ingredients such as: added sugar, cocoa butter, and chocolate liquor. Everyone loves a piece of chocolate now and then, and you may even have a chocolate craving when breastfeeding. When breastfeeding chocolate is fine to consume in moderate amounts but you have to watch closely to see if your baby is okay after having chocolate like with any other foods you eat. When breastfeeding women eat chocolate sometimes babies experience vomiting, diarrhea, or nausea. Some babies don’t experience any side effects at all, it varies with every baby. If your baby experiences side effects, it is important that you stop eating chocolate because it does not set well with the baby.

Why is it that chocolate affects babies? There is caffeine in chocolate and that is the primary reason as to why doctors believe that chocolate makes babies uncomfortable. A higher caffeine intake when breastfeeding can not only make your baby uncomfortable, but it can also lower your milk supply. Since a baby is still developing, it takes a longer time to get caffeine out of their system. If you are eating chocolate while breastfeeding and you notice that your baby isn't sleeping well, it may be the caffeine in the chocolate that is keeping your baby up. 

Not only can the caffeine in chocolate make your baby fussy or uncomfortable but something called theobromine can. Theobromine is found in cocoa powder and it has a similar affect on your baby as caffeine does. What to do if you are craving dark chocolate while breastfeeding but the side effects of dark chocolate affect your baby? You may want to switch it up to chocolate types other than dark instead! White chocolate does not contain theobromine and has a lower caffeine level than dark chocolate does.

Just remember that every baby is different and some may not be affected by chocolate as much as other babies are. Be cautious of your chocolate and caffeine intake if your baby is fussy, uncomfortable, or their sleeping schedule is off. If not, enjoy chocolate at a healthy rate and it is always a good idea to consult with your pediatrician and/or lactation consultant if you are not sure about chocolate intake!