drinking coffee while breastfeeding

Ask Amanda: Drinking Coffee While Breastfeeding Your Questions Answered By Our Expert RD

Hi Amanda.  Is it ok to drink coffee while breastfeeding? I keep seeing conflicting information about this.

Great question. One that many bleary-eyed, sleep deprived breastfeeding moms have questions about. The answer is yes, but read on to learn about what the science says.

The caffeine in coffee does enter breastmilk but in fairly small amounts. While there is some differing research, the general consensus is that 200-300 mg of caffeine per day consumed by a breastfeeding mom (or the equivalent of two 8 oz cups of coffee) is considered safe for breastfed babies.

In studies, caffeine consumption can cause irritability and poor sleeping patterns in infants, with increased symptoms noted in breastfed infants whose mother’s consumed greater than 300 mg of caffeine per day while breastfeeding.  However, this can be tricky to figure out in a breastfed infant, who can likely have interesting sleeping and feeding patterns initially!  Every baby’s caffeine tolerance is different.

Coffee and other caffeinated drinks can also be dehydrating, so be sure to drink extra water when drinking coffee or other caffeinated beverages or foods.

Before you run out to order your favorite coffee brand or coffee drink, do your research.  CSPI has a good list of the amount of caffeine in food and drinks that you can use to avoid going over the 200-300 mg per day recommendation for breastfeeding mothers.

Ask Amanda is a weekly column from Feed to Succeed dietitian Amanda Gordon. Have a question? Email Amanda and let her know or submit an “Ask Amanda” question for a future column.