News | Published April 12, 2012

Ask the pediatrician

Dear Dr. C.,

Will drinking caffeine hurt my breastfed baby?

I get asked this question a lot. Can I drink caffeine? How much is too much and will it affect my baby? These are very understandable questions from moms who are not getting enough sleep and are looking for some help to get through their day. Based on this article, it looks like caffeine should be avoided. I always have tried to recommend against it as I have seen how caffeine can make breastfed infants irritable and throw off their normal sleeping patterns (if they have one).

It is somewhat ironic that we actually prescribe caffeine for premature infants in some circumstances. These premature babies can have periods of apnea where they forget to breathe. The caffeine stimulates them enough to stay alert and keep breathing, which we all know is very important.

In summary, caffeine for breastfeeding moms is not a good idea and should be minimized. Sleep when you can, eat and drink healthy foods, and you'll make it through the most challenging but wonderful of times.

Hope that helps,

Dr. C.