Is there too much caffeine in your breast milk?

Caffeine passed onto babies through breast milk may make them irritable and unable to sleep, according to new research

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Breastfeeding mums have been advised to keep an eye on how much caffeine they’re drinking, as it could have a bigger impact on their babes than they realise.

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Caffeine in drinks such as tea, coffee and cola, as well as foods such as chocolate, passes into your blood stream and can reach your baby through breast milk. According to a study by Dr Ruth Lawrence, from the University of Rochester, babies’ metabolisms can’t cope with caffeine and may become irritable, restless and stay wide-awake.

“Usually a mother, particularly if she is breastfeeding, is cautioned to limit her caffeine intake,” Dr Ruth explained. “Unfortunately a lot of things about breastfeeding are based on opinion, and I do not know that the ‘safe’ amount of caffeine for daily use has been carefully measured.”

Dr Ruth added that it’s the accumulation of caffeine over a day that can cause problems because mums don’t realise how much is in their bloodstream.

“We had a case here in which a child was brought in, thought to be having seizures,” Dr Ruth said. “In the emergency room we drew a caffeine level. It was off the charts! The mum said, ‘Oh yeah, I drink coffee all the time. Is that a problem?'”

If it’s become habit to reach for a cuppa or chocolate bar when you’re sleep deprived and in need of a boost, keep an eye on how much caffeine you’re actually having a day. Try switching to herbal tea or decaffeinated varieties if you think you’re on the high side.

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