how long does caffeine stay in breastmilk

How Long Does Caffeine Stay In Breastmilk?

How Long Does Caffeine Stay In Breastmilk?

Caffeine is a compound substance that can be found in certain plants acting as stimulant. It helps improve alertness and boosts energy levels.

If you are in the early days of caring your newborn baby, you might consider a caffeine intake since it is not a new situation to experience sleepless nights when you have a new baby. Breastfeeding itself is very exhausting and caffeine would be a great help to function the next day. But when you want to rest while you’re baby is sleeping and you drink too much caffeine there’s a greater chance that you can hardly get a sleep or even a nap.

At some point, it is known that the caffeine you consumed will go into your breastmilk. How long does caffeine stay in breastmilk?

When you are breastfeeding your baby there are a lot of limitations especially when it comes to food or drink to intake and caffeine is one of these limitations. Most breastfeeding mothers can drink caffeine but should be in moderation. Because there are babies who are very sensitive to the caffeine that their mom is taking into.

If your baby is sensitive to caffeine, it would be a less issue as the baby get older because newborns are having a hard time metabolizing caffeine. Some babies become unhappy, jittery or sleeps poorly if the mother consumes too much caffeine. Though caffeine is safe to intake and it even have health benefits, but there are some mothers wonder if it is really safe to take while breastfeeding. Since caffeine can be found in plants, coffee, tea or other caffeinated products as it helps in boosting energy but consuming too much of it may have negative implications for both mothers and babies.

Generally, it is quite difficult to determine how much caffeine your baby will get through your breastmilk. But a cup a day, then breastfeeding your baby before drinking caffeinated beverages would reduce any risk.


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Does caffeine pass through to your breastmilk?

Breastfeeding mothers can consume a moderate amount of caffeine without compromising the health of their babies.  The amount of caffeine that gets into mother’s breastmilk is about 1% of what she takes in and it usually reaches a peak about 60 minutes after consuming. Though this amount may seem small but infants cannot process caffeine quickly compared on adults.

When you intake caffeine, it is absorbed from your gut into your bloodstream. Your liver will process and breaks it down into compounds affecting different organs and bodily functions. For a healthy adult, caffeine stays in the body for three to seven hours. But for infants it could last for 65-130 hours, as its liver cannot fully function since it’s not yet fully developed.

According to Centers for Disease Control (CDC), preterm and newborn infants break down caffeine at their slower pace. Thus, even small amounts passing through to breastmilk can build up in your baby’s body over time.

Since babies cannot process caffeine quickly, breastfeeding mothers can still consume moderate amounts. Mothers can take safely up to 300 mg of caffeine per day or two to three cups of coffee. Research says that consuming coffee within this limit while breastfeeding does not have any health threat to babies.

The caffeine peak level in your breastmilk about one hour after you’ve consumed it and it will work its way out of your system. For newborn babies it takes an average of 160 hours to get rid of caffeine. So there’s a possibility that caffeine can build up significant amounts in a newborn’s body. But by 3 to 4 months of age, most babies are able to get rid of caffeine as much as adults do.

It is also found that caffeine affects the formula of your breastmilk. Lactating mothers who regularly drink three cups of coffee a day contains a third less iron than those who don’t drink. This can result in lower hemoglobin and hematocrit in mothers and their babies. Thus, avoiding caffeine intake will help improve the nutritional quality of your breastmilk.

Thus, it is not considered to be a good choice when you’re breastfeeding as it actually stimulate your baby’s at risk of apnea. It may reduce the nutritional benefit of your breastmilk and is not good for your baby. Keep in mind that caffeine has number of harmful effects too when over-used. However, there’s no evidence yet that caffeine decreases milk supply.

If you want to quit caffeine intake, you may experience some withdrawal symptoms like headache and irritability.


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