Mommies, I have some great news! The majority of nursing moms can consume moderate amounts of caffeine, particularly if those moms had some caffeine during pregnancy. The theory is that a baby introduced to caffeine via the placenta while in utero may be better able to tolerate it via breastmilk later on. I was never a huge caffeine drinker, but I do love decaf coffee, diet soda, and iced tea – they all have caffeine. And I’ve consumed all these beverages while pregnant and now while breastfeeding, they do not seem to pose any problem for Sophia.
If your baby is reacting to the caffeine in your diet, try to eliminate it for now and then reintroduce it again at a later date. Keep in mind that some babies may be extra sensitive to caffeine in the first few weeks of life, but may be more tolerant of it after a few months. This is because the length of time for metabolism of caffeine is different for different age groups. Newborns take a lot longer to fully process caffeine than older infants.
How would you know if your baby is being stimulated by caffeine? A baby who is receiving excessive amounts of caffeine will display a hyper-active and fussy temperament. Such a baby will nap poorly and fight her sleep. If you think your baby may be showing these signs due to the caffeine in your diet, cut out the caffeine and then wait a week before assessing any improvements. It can take this long to see a noticeable difference!
Don’t forget that caffeine can be found in coffee, tea, sodas, energy drinks, medicines, and chocolate. So even if you do not regularly consume double-shot espressos, you may still be passing on caffeine to your baby, and if your baby is acting hyper-alert, it just may be a sensitivity to the caffeine in your diet.