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152. 3 Things I Wish I'd Known Before I Tried Caffeine While Breastfeeding

Drinking caffeine while breastfeeding- I'm spilling the tea!

Le Leche League: Caffeine
Effects of maternal caffeine consumption on the breastfeed child Study
Caffeine Study

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Read the full transcript here:

Welcome to the breezy babies podcast. So this is episode 152. Three things I wish I'd known before I tried caffeine while breastfeeding.
Could you use more confidence as a parent? Welcome to the happy place for boobs and babies. You're in good hands. Breezy babies is where we ease your transition into parenthood because it's a bumpy road. Am I right? I'm your host Bri the IBCLC. And if you'd like to make life as a parent more breezy, you're in the right place. I'm here to deliver small bite sized tips and tricks so you can crush your parenting and lactation goals. I'm honored to be on this journey with you. Let's go. Hello, and welcome back for a kind of part two to last week's podcast episode. If you haven't already listened. Last week, we talked about alcohol and breastfeeding. And this week, we're going to talk about caffeine and breastfeeding. I had originally planned for both of those topics to just be in one podcast episode, but it was too much. And I'm so glad that I ended up splitting it up because just talking about alcohol last week was I think, a 23 minute episode. I don't know. I try and keep all my podcast episodes between 20 and 30 minutes so that it's just bite sized. Give you some quick tips that are actionable without overwhelming you. And I feel that if I would have talked about caffeine, also, I would have gone all the way over that 30 minute mark. So if you're curious about alcohol, pause this episode, go back to last week's episode, which is episode 151. Learn about alcohol and then you can come back to this week's episode and learn everything you need to know about caffeine and breastfeeding or at least everything that we currently know on caffeine and breastfeeding. I'm always hopeful that new studies and new information will come out and they have on other topics. There's things that I've talked about on this podcast episode that I've learned over time are from new studies that perhaps that's not the best way to do it. And I know it can be kind of frustrating and in health care when we do things a certain way. And then we say Oh, actually, maybe that's not the best way to do things. And now we have this new information. And this is how we're going to do things. So it may have even been true with some of the things that I've talked about on this podcast episode. But I'm excited to talk to you today about caffeine. And breastfeeding. Again, this was a topic that was submitted by one of you, I love it when I get requests for episodes. It keeps things fresh for me. Not that I'm ever worried about running out of things to say. But sometimes I feel like I've talked about something like caffeine and breastfeeding. And then when the suggestion comes through, I actually look back and I do a search on my breezy baby's website and I realized oh my gosh, I actually don't have a podcast episode on that. So please keep the suggestions coming. You can send me a message on Instagram at breezy babies or you can email me Bri at I love hearing from you. I love hearing what's going well what's your liking, and then also suggestions for my podcast. I'm really open to all the suggestions, even suggestions for improvement. Before we jump in today I want to tell you that today's podcast episode is brought to you by Amara, a baby food company that does things a little differently. Amara is what I stock in my kitchen for when I need a grab and go meal or snacks for my 18 month old Amara as baby food is organic and it looks smells and tastes homemade. Plus one cool thing is that you can rehydrate the powder with water or your breast milk. You know I love that option. If you could take a peek into my pantry right now you'd see packets of their oats and berries oatmeal. Mila loves that but her absolute favorite is the mango carrot smoothie melts I throw them in my diaper bag for an on the go snack. no added sugar just good clean ingredients. If you and your little one would like some Mr and your life then before you order let me share a discount code with you go to Amara organic and use my affiliate discount code BREEZY20 for 20% off. That's Amara organic and discount code is BREEZY20 for 20% off. I'll also have that link in the show notes as well with the discount code. Now, before I get into my top three tips, I'm gonna do a little repeating from last last week's episode, because there are some things that cross over with alcohol and caffeine when it comes to breastfeeding. And there's also some things that don't crossover, which is why I think it was really important that we kept these two episodes separate so that the information wasn't all congealing in our heads and to one. So I want to go back and reiterate that it's very important to consider the age of your baby. Because the baby, for example, under three months is going to have a very immature liver and would be very sensitive to things like alcohol or caffeine, an older baby or a toddler, on the other hand, would be able to metabolize a bit easier came. So keep that in mind that applies to alcohol and caffeine. But we're going to focus specifically on caffeine for this podcast episode. On the Kelly mom website, they talk about how some babies particularly those under six months may be more sensitive to the caffeine that you drink. On the Kelly mom website, they say baby whose babies whose mothers avoided caffeine completely during pregnancy seem to react more to caffeine in your diet. Even if baby is sensitive to the caffeine. Now, he may not be when he's a little bit older. So if you do have to stop or limit your caffeine intake, you can try again when your baby is older. So we do know that age matters. But also preterm or sick babies are something to take into consideration too, because we know that preterm or ill infants might also have more problems with your caffeine intake. I really like this chart, where it talks about the half life of caffeine. This is really interesting, because then it really shows the difference between taking in caffeine with a newborn, versus a baby who's older than six months. So they were talking about the half life of caffeine, let me just explain and remind, this is good reminder for me as well what half life means. Half Life, by definition means the time required for the quantity of a substance. In this example, it's caffeine. So how much time it takes for caffeine to reduce to half of its initial value. Okay, so the half life of caffeine for a newborn is up to 97 and a half hours. Okay? Now compare that now to a baby that is three to five months old. The half life of caffeine goes from 97 and a half hours and it drops way down to about 14 hours. Okay, that's a huge difference. So again, you may need to be careful about your caffeine intake with a newborn, but maybe you could try again to increase a little bit at three to five months because that half life is greatly decreased. Okay, so 14 hours, three to five months. Now look what happens past six months, that half life of caffeine decreases to 2.6 hours. Isn't that so crazy? And then for an adult, it says that the half life of caffeine is 4.9 hours, which is really interesting. This is information that's from Hill 2017. Hal is one of the experts when it comes to what goes through our breast milk and at what amounts especially when it comes to things like medications, but today we're talking specifically about caffeine. So what signs would you see if your baby wasn't handling the caffeine wealth? Well hill again, this table comes from Hill, he tells us that your baby would be irritable, fussy and wouldn't sleep blog. So again, this is not a one size fits all situation. This is going to be something that you're going to be watching for with how it sits with your body and also how it fits and sits with your specific baby. So tip number one today is the exact same tip that I gave last week. And that is important to reiterate because tip number one is drinking caffeine is not a necessity but an option. Again, this episode is not here to talk you into drinking caffeine. For me, I find it doesn't serve my body to take in caffeine but I know so many that love their soda and or a coffee. And so I talk with a lot of my clients about caffeine intake and how Oh to take that in and signs and symptoms to watch for their baby. So don't take this podcast episode as a oh, you should be drinking caffeine, it's something that would be good for you. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't. Maybe it's something that you would like to do, and find out how to do it safely. But I just need to start tip number one with that. So let's dive a little bit deeper now, because we know that for caffeine levels and breast milk peak one to two hours after you take in the caffeine, okay. There also haven't been any studies to show that caffeine decreases milk supply. In fact, there was one study done in 1994, that indicates that caffeine can stimulate milk production. A baby who was fussy and jittery from caffeine stimulation may not nurse Well, however, which could lead to a decrease milk supply over time. And that's due to the baby not nursing as often rather than you the mom drinking caffeine. So that's kind of an interesting study, I'm going to be mainly referencing two studies in today's podcast episode just like I did last week, they're just two different studies. If you would like to go and read through the studies and fool yourself, I will have them linked in the show notes. But I'm going to be pulling from those two studies as I talk today. So I'll be taking all the main points for you. Just to be clear, caffeine can be found in many different places that can be found in coffee, tea, sports drinks, energy drinks, soft drinks, even some over the counter prescription medications, some foods. I also want to tell you what. Well let's say this I also want to talk about what is the right amount of caffeine. Most sources tell us that 300 to 750 milligrams per day is a reasonable range. Most sources have specifically narrow that down to 500 milligrams of caffeine while lactating. Now for comparison, during pregnancy, most sources suggest limiting caffeine to 300 milligrams per day as an upper limit. And one source actually recommends an upper limit of 150 milligrams of caffeine per day during pregnancy. So how much is that? Okay, let's look at how many milligrams of caffeine is in a Starbucks coffee. In eight ounces, which is short Starbucks coffee, there are 250 milligrams of caffeine, and a tall which is 12 ounces. There's 375 milligrams of caffeine in a 16 ounce Starbucks, which is the Grande that's 500 milligrams of caffeine. Now let's look at soda possibly Diet Coke. I know that's a really well loved one or I live in Utah, a 12 ounce can of diet coke has 46 milligrams of caffeine, a 20 ounce bottle has about 77 milligrams of caffeine. If we look at tea, eight ounces of tea has about 48 milligrams of caffeine, a monster energy, which would be a 16 ounce can has 160 milligrams of caffeine in one monster energy. They're also listed on here is Haagen DAAS, coffee ice cream and a four ounce serving, there's 24 milligrams of caffeine. So you can see with most of these options, it would be kind of tricky to go over the 500 milligram limit. Yeah, if you're pounding Monster Energy cans, then it could be very easy to go over. But overall, as long as you're not going crazy, you're going to be just fine with your caffeine intake, you're going to be watching your the effects on your body and also the effects on your baby's body as well. Okay, I want to read from you specifically from one caffeine study that I have linked in the show notes. They looked at two different sample sizes of people and they were looking specifically about moms drinking caffeine. And what they found in these groups were that there was no significant effects on 24 hour heart rate, 24 hours sleep time or frequent Night Waking of the breastfed child. One study found a decreased rate of full breastfeeding at six months postpartum. Two studies indirectly investigated caffeine exposure, maternal chocolate and coffee consumption was associated with increased infant colic and Severe to moderate exacerbation of infant atopic dermatitis. Okay, but that would be a skin issue. However, whether caffeine was the casual ingredient is questionable, the insufficient and inconsistent evidence available has quality issues and pending conclusions on the effects of maternal caffeine consumption on the breastfed child. Okay, so, you know, that's that's not like the most specific information, but it's what we have. Now let's look at caffeine study number two. They say here that coffee intake of more than 450 milliliters daily might decrease breast milk iron concentrations, and result in mild iron deficiency anemia in some breastfed infants came, if this rings an alarm in your minds, maybe you're dealing with, you know, anemia with your baby, then this could be something to consider. So what they did in this study is they took a group of moms, they looked at their caffeine intake, and they looked at the effects on nighttime wakening. And they asked these moms to revive their caffeine intake during pregnancy while they were lactating and to also look at their baby's sleep patterns at three months of age. So what they found is women who ingested more than 300 milligrams of caffeine daily, reported slightly more nighttime awakenings in their infant than those who ingested less than 300 milligrams daily, but the difference was not statistically significant. The authors concluded that a limit of 300 milligrams of caffeine daily is reasonable. And another study of low income nursing mothers in Costa Rica subjects were divided into high intake, which they classified as over 450 milliliters daily, of and non drinkers of coffee. Okay, so they had one group with high intake, and then also, a group of moms who were not drinking coffee and infants of the coffee drinkers had a lower birth weight and decreased concentrations of maternal and infant hemoglobin and hematocrit at birth. iron levels and breast milk are also lower among coffee drinkers than their infants hemoglobin and hematocrit values word lower at one month postpartum. So again, I don't think that drinking caffeine is something everyone should be doing. But I also strongly believe that making breastfeeding convenient and not restrictive for families is key to you meeting your lactation goals. I have never personally been a fan of long lists of do's and don'ts for what to eat and drink while lactating. There's no need to restrict right off the bat unless you happen to notice something you're consuming is not sitting well with you and or your baby. And that case, you can restrict or at least limit which takes me into tip number two. This is gonna sound really familiar for your listening last week and that is moderation. It's the same with caffeine. Yes, you can have some but don't go crazy. See what they are writing them out for you is see what the right amount for your baby is. Just like we learned last week with alcohol the age of your baby matters. A newborn can react to caffeine and breast milk, way more than a baby over three months as an example or six months. Okay, tip number three is read the labels, caffeine, maybe hiding in places you don't even know. So you have to look at the labels. The Litchi League website which I'll link this also in the show notes, they break down some food and drinks that can have caffeine. And I mentioned some of these towards you know the middle of this episode. Chocolate coffee tea, specifically black tea green tea herbal teas. They say on here that much. Matcha Green Tea contains much more caffeine than other green teas, but some teas could be caffeine free. Some other food and drinks that can have caffeine are energy drinks, soda sports drinks flavored water, but you also have to consider medications both over the counter medications and prescription medications. Your pain reliever might have caffeine in it. Your menstrual relief tablets like they talk about Malece League website may have caffeine in it. weight loss supplement could have caffeine in it. So there are many different things where caffeine can be present. There's even more listed on there. They talk about monta. They talk about kola nuts, you know, there's some other things that may apply to you. So Make sure you're reading the labels that if you're confused, like, Oh, I'm not going over that daily recommended limit, look at the labels of medications and supplements that you're taking. And that might be the hidden source of what's putting you in your baby over that limit for caffeine. One more little pro tip for you, is a little tip that I got from the latte League website and they say it is best to reduce your caffeine intake slowly. As you may experience headaches if you stop too quickly. As your baby gets older, they may be less affected by caffeine. So again, you can start adding that in again. All right, there you have it. I hope this was helpful for you. I hope this answered all your questions about caffeine, and breastfeeding. Again, the top three tips from today is drinking caffeine is not a necessity, but it is an option. Tip number two is moderation. Okay, those are the same tips as last week for alcohol. But Tip number three is a little bit different. And that is read the labels, look at the things that you're taking and look to see if they have caffeine in them. I hope this was helpful for you. If you know of someone in your life who is having questions about whether they can drink caffeine while they're breastfeeding, then could you do me a favor and share this podcast episode with them. Also, if you found this podcast episode helpful, I would so appreciate if you took just one minute to leave me a podcast review. I would so appreciate it. And of course I'm gonna leave you with you are strong. You're smart, you are beautiful. You're a good friend to all. Be back next week for more. Bye. If you would like more help, check us out at breezy It's the happy place for boobs and babies, where you can take an online workshop on topics from breastfeeding to baby gas. Learn baby massage, get a pumping plan before returning to work and even get one on one lactation help from our IBCLCs we meet with families both in home and also all over the world via secure video and guess what? These lactation consultations might even be covered by your insurance. Click the link in the show notes or visit breezy to see if you qualify. Also connect with us at breezy babies on Instagram and YouTube. And last if you love what we do, please leave us a review on Google or Apple podcast. Bye



  • Bri’s introduction. 0:00
    • Welcome to the breezy babies podcast.
  • Intro to caffeine and breastfeeding. 0:51
    • Last week, alcohol and breastfeeding, and this week, caffeine and breastfeeding.
    • Bite-sized, actionable tips.
  • Bri’s request for listener feedback. 3:09
    • Breezy is open to suggestions and suggestions for improvement.
    • Today's podcast is brought to you by Amara.
  • Caffeine intake and age. 4:52
    • Remember to consider the age of your baby.
    • Babies under six months may be more sensitive.
  • What is the half-life of caffeine? 6:51
    • The half life of caffeine.
    • Signs that a baby may not be handling caffeine well.
    • Drinking caffeine is not a necessity, but an option.
    • Caffeine can stimulate milk production.
  • What is the right amount of caffeine during pregnancy? 11:42
    • The right amount of caffeine per day.
    • Starbucks vs diet coke.
  • Caffeine effects on breastfed babies. 13:45
    • No significant effects on 24-hour heart rate or sleep time.
    • Caffeine study on breastfeeding.
  • Caffeine and breastmilk iron. 15:29
    • Caffeine intake during pregnancy and three months of age.
    • Low-income nursing mothers and their babies.
  • Caffeine and breastmilk. 17:22
    • Making breastfeeding convenient and not restrictive.
    • Moderation is key to meeting lactation goals.
  • Look at the labels for caffeine. 18:41
    • Look at the labels on the le leache league website.
    • Consider medications and prescription medications.
    • Top three tips for caffeine and breastfeeding.
    • Breezy babies, the happy place for boobs and babies.

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