Caffeine, a stimulant naturally found in, or added to coffee, tea, chocolate, some soft drinks, energy drinks, sports drinks and some over-the-counter medications, are a part of everyday life for most people. During pregnancy, women are cautioned to limit their caffeine intake because of potential adverse effects of caffeine on the fetus. But what some women may not know is that experts recommend limiting caffeine while breastfeeding as well.
According to research data, babies are unable to properly metabolize or secrete the caffeine they may receive from mom’s milk. This can lead to “caffeine accumulation” in infants – a condition that can produce irritability and wakefulness.
So how much is too much? And just how harmful is it to a baby? Are there any other adverse or long-term effects for infants that consume caffeine through breast milk?
Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be any real answers for these questions. There is, however, a caution to nursing mothers.
“Usually a mother, particularly if she is breastfeeding, is cautioned to limit her caffeine intake,” stated Dr. Ruth Lawrence of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. She also advises that all mothers, during and after pregnancy, to “consume all things in moderation and try to avoid the excesses that might really add up to a lot of caffeine.”
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