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Breastfeeding and Caffeine

If you are pregnant, one of the first things your doctor will ask of you is to refrain from caffeine. It can adversely affect your unborn child and cause complications after their birth. Can it affect your child after birth while breastfeeding? Yes it can if you overindulge yourself with caffeine. Here are some facts on caffeine and breastfeeding.


The Effects of Caffeine While Breastfeeding

Nursing babies can be affected by caffeine if not used in moderation. Caffeine can show up in breast milk for several days after ingested. The problem lies in drinking too much caffeine. Because caffeine accumulates in a babyís system over time too much caffeine can be harmful. A cup of coffee or a glass of tea a day isnít enough to hurt, but more than that can cause problems in the long term. Because too much caffeine can stay in a baby under 6 months of age for over 100 hours, as to an adult it lasts on about 8 hours, the accumulation can cause problems over time.

Itís important for a nursing mother to remember to use caffeine in moderation. Have that one cup of coffee or that one glass of tea, but also remember that many foods, such as chocolate, contain caffeine. Caffeine can also be found in certain medications and in soft drinks too. Remember this when trying to account for the amount of caffeine ingested each day.

Another thing to remember is that caffeine is at itís highest level in breast milk one hour after ingesting it. Therefore, it may be best to have your caffeine right after a feeding. This will give your body time to break down some of the caffeine levels before itís time to nurse again.

Also remember that smoking increases the effects of caffeine. So if you smoke try and cut back as much as possible, stop, or cut the caffeine out of your diet completely. Just remember that caffeine, just like cigarettes can be a habit and habits can be hard to break so prepare yourself for some side effects if you cut it out completely.

A baby who has ingested too much caffeine will let you know that it is affecting them. They will be very cranky, not sleep well or not sleep at all, become very restless and cry a lot. If you see that your baby is experiencing this type of behavior try backing off the caffeine until your baby is back to normal.

Caffeine can have an affect on breast milk but in moderation and with a little common sense it doesnít have to be devastating to your baby. By using some of these ideas and keeping an eye on the babyís behavior you can still enjoy that one serving of caffeine and be safe.


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