by Cassandra R. Elias
We know that too much caffeine during pregnancy is ill-advised, however, too much caffeine while breastfeeding can cause a serious health problem for your little one.
If you're struggling to get baby to sleep and drinking more coffee to keep yourself awake in the process, you may be sabotaging yourself!
Dr. Ruth Lawrence, editor of the peer-reviewed Journal of Breastfeeding Medicine and a professor from Rochester University in New York, said that babies have difficulty breaking down and removing caffeine from their bodies, especially during the first few weeks of life, which can lead to the accumulation of adverse symptoms. She tells the Journal of Caffeine Research.
"Usually a mother, particularly if she is breastfeeding, is cautioned to limit her caffeine intake. Mothers should try to void the excesses that might really add up to a lot of caffeine."
But how much is too much?
According to Dr. Lawrence, it depends on the individual mother. As a general rule, she says, "mothers are advised to have no more than 300 mg of caffeine or three cups of coffee daily." However, Dr. Lawrence says that most things about breastfeeding are "based on opinion" so that she doesn't know that the "safe" amount of caffeine for daily use has been carefully measured.
So what is a chocoholic or exhausted mom who counts on that caffeine boost supposed to do? Consider this worst case scenario.
According to Dr. Lawrence, "We had a case here in which a child was brought in, thought to be having seizures and was headed for the million-dollar workup, the EEG, the MRI, the works. In the emergency room we drew a caffeine level. It was off the charts! Taking a history from the mother, she said, 'oh year, I drink coffee all the time. I have a cup ready for me all day long. Is that a problem?'"
Caffeine is found in coffee, tea, chocolate as well as some soft drinks, sports drinks and some over the counter medications such as some pain relievers. So you may not even be aware that you are consuming caffeine -- it pays to read the labels.
Dr. Lawrence's advice at this point? "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."
This brings us back to square one, doesn't it? What do you think? Do you consume caffeine while breastfeeding and do you think it affects your baby?
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