Caffeine and breastfeeding
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Can you drink coffee when breastfeeding? Can you have chocolate breastfeeding?
Caffeine is in many drinks and foods and so it is important to know what it is contained in to make sure you don’t have too much caffeine on a daily basis.
You should not have more than 200mg a day of caffeine while breastfeeding1, so when having coffee and breastfeeding make sure to stick to 2 cups of instant or 1 of filter a day.
Caffeine is found in coffee, tea, energy drinks and chocolate2.
Caffeine levels peak in your breast milk an hour after eating or drinking a caffeinated drink/food3.
Caffeine can enter breast milk, via entering your bloodstream and can therefore stimulate your baby, which can cause some long-term health effects for your baby, e.g. high blood pressure3. It is therefore best to keep your caffeine content as low as possible. However as with alcohol and breastfeeding, caffeine is alright to consume while breastfeeding, if in moderation.
How much caffeine can you have when breastfeeding?
The NHS advise to only consumer 200mg a day of caffeine to avoid stimulating your baby1. Here are the levels of caffeine in different foods and drinks, so you can make sure you don’t overstimulate your baby when consuming caffeine and breastfeeding.
Caffeine levels of common foods and drinks2,4
|Source||Caffeine Level (mg)
|- Cup of Instant Coffee||100|
|- Cup of Filter Coffee||140|
|Cup of Tea||50|
|Can of Diet Coca Cola
|Can of Energy Drink
|50g of Dark Chocolate
|50g of Milk Chocolate
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Can you drink coffee while breastfeeding?
Yes, you can drink coffee while breastfeeding. Coffee contains 140mg per filter cup and so you shouldn’t exceed more than 1 cup of filter or 2 cups of instant coffee a day while breastfeeding, to ensure that you don’t exceed the caffeine limit of 200mg a day recommended by the NHS1.
Chocolate and breastfeeding4
Chocolate contains 10mg caffeine per 50g for milk chocolate, and so unless consuming large amounts should not stimulate your baby. However, chocolate does also contain theobromine, which a similar stimulant to caffeine. Theobromine levels in chocolate are also not high, but when combined with caffeine could have a stronger effect. So, it is best to consume small amounts of chocolate to not overstimulate your baby. So, in short you can still have chocolate while breastfeeding, just make sure you aren’t consuming large amounts.
- nhs.uk. (2020). Breastfeeding and diet. [online] Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/breastfeeding-diet/ [Accessed 6 Jan. 2020].
- Mitchell, D., Knight, C., Hockenberry, J., Teplansky, R. and Hartman, T. Beverage caffeine intakes in the U.S. Food and Chemical Toxicology, 2014;63:136-142.
- Tyrala, E. and Dodson, W. Caffeine secretion into breast milk. Archives of Disease in Childhood, 1979;54(10):787-800.
- Zoumas, B. Kreiser, R. and Martin, R. Journal of Foods Science 1980;45(2): 314-316
Last reviewed: 18th August 2020
Reviewed by Nutricia’s Medical and Scientific Affairs Team
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