Eating well isn’t just for pregnancy. Even when you’re breastfeeding, you should be mindful of what you consume. Your body needs enough nutrients to recover from giving birth.
Fortunately, diet won’t affect your newborn like it did in the womb. And while caffeine can be passed into your breastmilk, it doesn’t bother most infants. It’s recommended to limit or avoid caffeine if your little one can’t sleep well.1
Yet, you might be wondering if drinking decaf coffee while breastfeeding is OK. Here are three reasons why it’s safe.
1. Contains Very Little Caffeine
You might be surprised to learn that decaffeinated coffee isn’t free of caffeine. Depending on the brand, it can have up to 7 mg of caffeine in an 8-ounce cup.2 Yet, when you compare it to regular coffee, it has significantly less. One 8-ounce cup of brewed or drip coffee can have anywhere from 85 to 350 mg.3
At high levels, caffeine can cause irritability and poor sleeping patterns in a lactating infant. However, the specific amount matters greatly. You would have to drink a lot of coffee for this to happen.
Even with regular coffee, it’s OK to drink 2 to 3 cups each day, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.4 This equals out to a max intake of 300 mg daily. By going decaf, you’ll have the advantage of knowing that you’re definitely below that limit. It’d take 42 cups of decaf to reach 300 mg!
2. Satisfies Your Craving
Longing for a cup of joe? Drink decaf coffee while breastfeeding. It’ll play games with your head – in a good way.
Caffeine addiction is very real. It is, after all, the most consumed psychoactive drug in the world. About 90 percent of adults in North America take some kind of caffeine daily. Over time, an addiction can easily develop.5Withdrawal symptoms include headaches, drowsiness, nausea, irritability, and difficulty concentrating.6
At the same, part of caffeine addiction may be all in your head. Studies have shown that people who think they were given decaf – but got regular coffee – have reported higher withdrawal symptoms.7
So if you’re trying to cut back on caffeine, make decaf coffee. It’ll help kick the habit even while breastfeeding.
3. Provides Antioxidants
Coffee is teeming with healthy antioxidants. These compounds can fight radicals and oxidative stress, helping you stay healthy and well! It’s one of the lesser known benefits of this popular drink.8
The good news is that decaf has a similar level of antioxidants. It isn’t affected by the decaffeination process. This means you’ll get beneficial antioxidants like chlorogenic acid, along with some magnesium and potassium.
This doesn’t mean you should skimp on the fruits and veggies. But if you want to increase your intake even more, coffee will fit the bill.9It’ll give your health a boost while breastfeeding.
Words Of Caution
Compared to older babies, newborns may be more sensitive to caffeine. It’s vital to pay attention even if you are drinking decaf. The small amount of caffeine might be a lot for her little body.10
Caffeine can be found in other products, too. Tea, soda, chocolate, and some over-the-counter drugs contain caffeine.11Keep this in mind even when you are drinking decaf.
Despite the safety of decaf coffee while breastfeeding, it’s important to drink other beverages. Stay hydrated with lots of water. For an extra boost of vitamins, make fresh fruit smoothies.
|↑1||Diet for Breastfeeding Mothers. Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.|
|↑2||McCusker, Rachel R., Brian Fuehrlein, Bruce A. Goldberger, Mark S. Gold, and Edward J. Cone. “Caffeine content of decaffeinated coffee.” Journal of analytical toxicology 30, no. 8 (2006): 611.|
|↑3||Caffeine. NSW Government.|
|↑4||Ward, Robert M., Brian A. Bates, William E. Benitz, David J. Burchfield, John C. Ring, Richard P. Walls, and Philip D. Walson. “The transfer of drugs and other chemicals into human milk.” Pediatrics 108, no. 3 (2001): 776-789.|
|↑5||Caffeine: Understanding the World’s Most Popular Psychoactive Drug. Journal of Young Investigators.|
|↑7||Caffeine’s wake-up call. American Psychological Association.|
|↑8||Liang, Ningjian, and David D. Kitts. “Antioxidant property of coffee components: assessment of methods that define mechanisms of action.” Molecules 19, no. 11 (2014): 19180-19208.|
|↑9||Coffee is number one source of antioxidants. EurekAlert!, American Association for the Advancement of Science.|
|↑10||Diet for Breastfeeding Mothers. Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.|
|↑11||Caffeine Intake During Pregnancy. American Pregnancy Association.|