101: Coffee

By Abby Johnston

Coffee used to get you through sleep deprived days, but what now?

You've probably heard mixed reports about drinking coffee while you're breastfeeding. The last thing you want to do is put strain on your baby's little liver, but surely your morning latte can't be that bad.

Let's lay out the rules on caffeine. Basically there are no rules.  

All the existing research shows that caffeine gets into breast milk, but it's not necessary to cut out coffee altogether.

About 1% of the caffeine you consume ends up in your breastmilk, reaching a peak about 60 minutes after you consumed it and petering off from there.

The bottom line is that one or two cups a day is likely to have little or no effect on your baby.  Newborns can be more sensitive (they can take up to 160 hours to process caffeine), than say 6-month old babies (they can process caffeine in about 2-3 hours).

The conservative guideline is that 300mg a day should have practically no effect on your baby.  So what does that mean?

Caffeine content estimates:

  • 50g of milk chocolate = <25grams

  • A can of cola = 40mg

  • A cup of tea = 50mg

  • 50g of dark chocolate = <50mg

  • A cup of instant coffee = 75mg

  • An energy drink = 80mg

  • A cup of espresso coffee = 58 to 100mg

So, don't worry too much.  Have your morning latte, and if you think it's effecting your newborn just switch to herbal tea for a few weeks.  You'll be a back at the cafe in no time.

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