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Caffeine and Alcohol

When I was pregnant with my first child, I was very good: I stopped drinking coffee and colas, and stopped eating chocolate. It was very hard - especially the chocolate part! But I did it.

When the baby finally arrived, I couldn't bear it any more. How much more do I need to suffer for this child? As it turns out, you can have caffeinated drinks while breastfeeding. You can even have an alcoholic drink as long as you do so in moderation.

Caffeine
breastfeeding and caffeine coffeeCaffeine is found in many things including coffee, tea, colas, chocolate, and in some medicines such as pain relievers and cold medicines. Studies have shown that a baby is not adversely affected when the breastfeeding mother drinks less than 5 cups of coffee that are 5-ounce in size. Okay, let me repeat: 5-ounce in size (a regular cup is 8 ounces and a Starbucks venti is 20 ounces).

Caffeine does accumulate in the baby's body. Infants have immature livers and cannot metabolize (break down) caffeine. A baby can begin to metabolize caffeine after 3 months of age. Probably the best thing to do is to try a cup of coffee and observe your baby for irregular reactions. Is he OK? Or is he hyperactive?

So, the answer is, Yes, you can drink coffee while breastfeeding, but do so in moderation and check for adverse effects on your baby. Read more from this LLL article.





Alcohol
breastfeeding and alcohol wine beerSimilar to coffee, it is alright to drink alcohol while breastfeeding if you do so in moderation. [Photo by Aka]

Consider this: if you have one beer or one glass of wine (on an empty stomach), the alcohol can be found in your breast milk within 30 to 60 minutes. It takes about 2 to 3 hours for a 120 pound woman to clear that alcohol out of her system. It takes longer to clear the alcohol from hard liquor. So, it would be prudent to breastfeed your baby, have a drink, and then wait a few hours before breastfeeding again.

Infants have immature livers and cannot filter out the alcohol from their blood stream. As the baby gets older, he will be able to clear the alcohol better.

Excessive drinking and breastfeeding is not recommended. Women who drink more than two alcoholic drinks every day have babies with poor motor skills. If you happen to get drunk by accident (if there's such a thing), then you should not breastfeed until you are sober. Once you are sober, the alcohol has cleared out of your body and will not be in the breast milk. In the mean time, if your breasts are engorged and painful, you can pump out your milk and throw it away.

In moderation, an occasional drink may give you much pleasure and have no apparent affect on your baby so, the benefits seem to outweigh the risks. Read more from LLL articles here and here.