Babies are not able to metabolize or excrete caffeine very well, so a breastfeeding mother's consumption of caffeine may lead to caffeine accumulation and symptoms such as wakefulness and irritability, according to an interview with expert Ruth Lawrence, MD, published in Journal of Caffeine Research.  The interview is available on the Journal of Caffeine Research website.

Caffeine is found in a wide range of products in addition to coffee, tea, and chocolate, including soft drinks, sports drinks, and some over-the-counter medications. In a provocative discussion with Dr. Ruth Lawrence, Department of Pediatrics, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Jack E. James, PhD, Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Caffeine Research, asks a variety of probing questions. Is there a safe level of caffeine intake while breastfeeding? Are there potential long-term effects of caffeine exposure on development and intellect? Can a baby whose mother consumed caffeine during pregnancy experience withdrawal if she then abstains from caffeine while breastfeeding? Dr. Lawrence bases her responses on the scientific and medical evidence related to caffeine exposure in breastfed babies, and distinguishes between what is and what is not well understood in this developing field of study.

"Usually a mother, particularly if she is breastfeeding, is cautioned to limit her caffeine intake," says Dr. Lawrence, who is Editor-in-Chief of the peer-reviewed journal Breastfeeding Medicine. After giving birth, mothers "should consume all things in moderation and try to avoid the excesses that might really add up to a lot of caffeine."
References:
*http://www.liebertpub.com/jcr

Citations:
Mary Ann Liebert, Inc./Genetic Engineering News. "Breastfeeding And Caffeine Consumption." Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 23 Feb. 2012. Web.
5 Mar. 2012. <http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/241990.php>

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Comments

as long as i know, the nutrition from breastfeeding milk is depend from their mother consumption. so the caffeine can affect our baby's.

It would be interesting to know if there really were a tolerable amount of caffeine that would be ok. My wife has completely stopped her soda and coffee drinking while nursing but that's not so easy for everyone.

Although the clinical implications are clear, I wonder if life would be so terrible if we just went back to doing what we enjoyed (within moderation) and not worrying about possible implications of every little thing we do…

I'm so glad you posted this blog. I only knew that we're not supposed to drink caffeine while pregnant, but didn't know about the suggestion not consuming caffeine during breastfeeding. Thank you!

this seems to make a lot of sense although i do believe more studies are needed to prove conclusively that small amounts of caffeine during breast feedings can have a significant effect on a child. Actually a my denitist was the first person to mention this to me which is why i am now doing more research seeing as she is currently 6 months preg and dying for a cup of good coffee

My wife found that while breastfeeding our daughter that her high intake of caffeine (she drank a lot of coffee)was caused our daughter to have erratic sleep patterns. This was found out because her sleep became so much better when my wife went over to herbal tea... Maybe a little caffeine would be OK but we went for none to be on the safe side.

As in the case of any drug (I do believe that caffeine is a drug), there are going to be implications for babies who have been exposed to passive consumption. The message really doesn't seem to be getting through to many people that taking such stimulants is potentially harmful. Just think about how caffeine affects the functioning of a fully grown adult - that's scary enough as it is.

Although the clinical implications are clear, I wonder if life would be so terrible if we just went back to doing what we enjoyed (within moderation) and not worrying about possible implications of every little thing we do…

This post is intriguing, given the facts that babies might be affected from a breastfeeding mother who happens to have caffeine intake in the body, what health problems the baby might encounter? Thank you.

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