Can Caffeine in Breast Milk Keep Babies Awake?

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A common question asked amongst the mothering community is can caffeine keep your baby awake?

We all know how hard it is being a mother, especially if you have more than one.

Sometimes you might just need that extra kick of caffeine to help keep you awake.

The last thing you’d want is for the caffeine to effect your own baby negatively though, so today we’ll go over some questions that can resolve any concerns you may have.

Can caffeine affect a baby’s sleep?

Studies have always said that the amount of caffeine that a breastfeeding mother drinks will impact their baby.

They’ve always said that your baby will be more sensitive to caffeine and tend to be more awake at night or have disrupted sleep.

A new study shows that babies of mothers who drink coffee heavily are no more likely to wake up in their sleep than babies of mothers who drink no coffee.

It’s unclear whether or not these babies developed tolerance while in the womb, or if they simply aren’t affected by it.

Whatever the case is, your baby is likely to wake up in the night either way, so don’t blame it on the caffeine!

Most mothers can drink up to a few cups of coffee every day and it’ll have no effect on their baby.

Don’t forget that each case is in fact different though.

While caffeine doesn’t effect a baby’s sleep, your baby might be more sensitive to caffeine in general.

How long does caffeine stay in breastmilk?

In case you still want to play it safe and make sure caffeine doesn’t effect your baby, you can see just how long it takes for the caffeine to leave breastmilk.

But first, it’s good to know that only about 1% of the caffeine you drink gets transferred into your breastmilk.

In a newborn, the half-life (amount of time it takes for the caffeine to decrease by half in your baby) is about 97.5 hours.

This may seem like a crazy high number, coming to a total of just over four days, but it doesn’t really effect your baby that much as previously mentioned.

The half-life in a 3-5 month old baby is 14 hours, and 2.6 hours in a baby six months or older.

As said before, caffeine should have little to no effect on your baby, but some mothers find that their babies can become a bit jittery and unhappy after consuming breastmilk with caffeine in it.

If you notice your baby reacting the same way, it might be best to cut back a bit on the caffeine in case your baby is a bit more sensitive to it.

Can babies get addicted to caffeine through breastmilk?

The easy answer to this question is no, babies cannot become addicted to caffeine through breastmilk.

Even a large consumption of caffeine by the mother cannot cause the baby to become addicted.

Babies may be a little sensitive to the amount of caffeine a mother drinks, especially if it’s a lot, but overall they won’t become addicted at all through the milk.

Though some studies have actually shown that mothers who consume caffeine in high levels during pregnancy can have an effect on their baby.

Their baby may be more jittery in the first few months, going through sort of a caffeine withdrawal.

In fact, mothers who consume too much caffeine during pregnancy put their baby at a risk of having a low birth weight.

There’s also a risk that you could have a miscarriage, so really make sure you stay away from the caffeine during pregnancy.

How much caffeine can I drink while breastfeeding?

This question will vary for each woman because each baby is different than the rest.

Some mothers can get away with an excessive amount of caffeine per day and their baby will have no reaction, while others can only have a small amount and their baby will still react negatively.

It really depends on your own child.

Most babies are completely fine with consuming breastmilk that has traces of caffeine.

You’ll have to see if your baby is sensitive to caffeine or not, because this will determine how much you can drink per day.

You might find that drinking even just a small amount sets your baby off, so in that case it’s best to avoid it all together.

But if you can drink your usual daily amount and your baby is fine, then by all means continue.

Caffeine poses no threat to your baby through breastmilk, so clear your mind of those worries.

How much caffeine is too much?

Though it does differ from baby to baby, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that extreme caffeine consumption, such as ten or more cups per day, can possibly effect your baby.

It may cause them to become more fussy with you, and in turn make you want to drink more caffeine anyways.

So it’s best to try to stay under ten cups a day, and if you find your baby reacting negatively to less than that, try to lower your consumption all together.

Does decaf effect my baby?

Decaf coffee is completely fine, even in extreme consumption like ten cups a day! This won’t have any effect on your baby at all, so if you’re an extreme coffee drinker you should try switching to decaf for the few months that your baby solely breastfeeds.

Don’t let it slip your mind that caffeine isn’t just limited to coffee though.

Many other drink and foods include it as well, such as sugary drinks like soda and sweets like chocolate.

Just because you’ve switched from regular coffee to decaf doesn’t mean there aren’t more caffeinated things in your diet!

Keeping all this in mind, it’s safe to say that drinking caffeine and consuming it will have little to no effect on your baby.

It’s not harmful to consume, and it won’t hurt your baby in any way.

So let yourself continue to enjoy the pleasures of drinking caffeine, and put your mind to ease knowing your baby is alright.