Coffee and Caffeine: Does it affect your baby?

Some people rely on their cup of coffee when waking up in the morning, it’s just a normal part of their daily routine. When women are pregnant, stress levels may rise, and their need for a cup of coffee to get them going may be even higher.

Can breastfeeding moms drink coffee and if the answer is yes, how much? Some experts say that more than 150 mg of coffee when pregnant is too much, while others say more than 300 mg a day is too much. Whether you know it or not, one Grande coffee at Starbucks contains 330mg of caffeine. The March of Dimes believes that pregnant women should not drink any more than 200 mg of caffeine a day. If we are going off the March of Dimes belief, depending on how you brew it, that would mean that you could only have a single 12 oz cup of coffee each day.

In 2008, a popular study was conducted that showed that pregnant women who drank 200 mg or more of caffeine a day, doubled their risk of miscarriage in comparison to women who stayed away from caffeine in the first trimester. There are many different beliefs of how much coffee a pregnant women should consume within a day, so to be on the safe side the less caffeine you consume, the better it is for your baby and your body.

If you decide to breastfeed after giving birth, it is important to still be cautious of your coffee and caffeine intake. When breastfeeding it is safe to drink a small amount of caffeine; just remember that some of that caffeine will end up in your breast milk. When baby is a newborn it is important to remember that until they are about 3 months old, it is very hard for their body to break down the caffeine. No more than 300 mg of coffee is recommended, but different doctors recommend different things, hence it is always a good idea to consult with your pediatrician and/or a lactation consultant. Every baby is different, so if you notice a change in your baby’s behavior when having more caffeine, you should cut down your intake.

Coffee is very high in caffeine but other drinks are as well. When pregnant and breastfeeding you should know that these following drinks contain caffeine as well:

  • Soft drinks

  • Teas

  • Energy Drinks

  • Chocolate

  • Over-the-counter drugs (headache, allergy meds, etc.) 

  • Fancy Waters

Decaf coffee and breastfeeding? 

Remember that decaf coffee and green teas still contain caffeine, even though they do not contain nearly as much as regular coffee does. It is okay to drink decaf coffee and green tea while breastfeeding but not a huge amount of it either. If your baby is not sleeping well or is more irritable than usual, it might be smart to cut down your intake of decaf coffee and green tea. 

When pregnant, you don't want to put your baby's health at risk, so consult with your doctor if have any concerns or not sure about caffeine intake.