Can I Drink Coffee While Breastfeeding? Yes, But…

Coffee is a staple for many moms because it provides the much-needed energy boost to get through the day. However, many moms are careful with drinking coffee when they have a breast-fed baby because of the fear that caffeine passes through breast milk to the baby.

If you, too, are asking: Can I drink coffee while breastfeeding? Then, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s look closer into whether drinking coffee while breastfeeding is safe and what you should do to ensure your baby’s well-being.

can i drink coffee while breastfeeding

Is It Safe to Drink Coffee While Breastfeeding?

Many new mothers wonder whether it is safe to drink coffee while breastfeeding. The answer lies in understanding how caffeine affects both the mother and her baby. When a breastfeeding mother consumes coffee, caffeine passes into her breast milk. Although the amount transferred is relatively small, it still raises concerns.

Most healthcare professionals agree that moderate caffeine consumption is generally safe for breastfeeding mothers. However, each baby reacts differently to caffeine. Some infants might be more sensitive, showing signs of irritability or poor sleep patterns. To navigate these concerns, it's essential to understand the limits and effects of caffeine on both mother and child.

Research shows that consuming up to 300 milligrams of caffeine per day, which is roughly equivalent to two to three cups of coffee, is unlikely to harm the baby. Nonetheless, mothers should observe their babies for any adverse reactions. If a baby appears unusually fussy or restless, it might be wise to reduce caffeine intake and monitor for improvements.

How Much Caffeine Is Adequate for a Breastfeeding Mother?

Mothers don’t want to fall any harm to their child and it’s just right to be extra careful on what you put in your body when breast feeding. You might be wondering: how much is safe?

For a breastfeeding mother, moderate consumption equates to about 200-300 milligrams of caffeine per day. This amount translates to roughly two to three 8-ounce cups of coffee.

To illustrate, imagine starting your day with a cup of coffee. As you go through your morning routine, you might decide to have another cup in the early afternoon. This routine keeps your caffeine intake within safe limits while allowing you to enjoy coffee without significant risks to your baby.

Keep in mind that caffeine is not only found in coffee. It's also present in tea, chocolate, certain soft drinks, and some medications. Being mindful of all sources of caffeine will help you manage your intake effectively.

Determining the appropriate amount of caffeine is crucial for maintaining a healthy balance while enjoying your favorite beverage.

how much caffeine for breastfeeding mother

What Are the Effects of Caffeine on a Breastfed Baby?

Understanding how caffeine affects a breastfed baby is crucial for making informed decisions about coffee consumption during breastfeeding. By being attentive to their baby’s reactions and adjusting their consumption accordingly, mothers can enjoy their coffee while minimizing any negative impact on their baby’s well-being.

Here are the primary effects in more detail:

1. Irritability

Babies exposed to caffeine through breast milk may exhibit signs of increased irritability. This can manifest as excessive crying, fussiness, or an overall unsettled demeanor. The stimulating effects of caffeine, which make adults feel more alert, can have a similar impact on infants, leading to discomfort and difficulty in calming down.

2. Poor Sleep

One of the most notable effects of caffeine on breastfed babies is disrupted sleep patterns. Caffeine can make it harder for infants to fall asleep and stay asleep, leading to shorter naps and more frequent awakenings during the night. This lack of restful sleep can affect a baby’s mood, appetite, and overall development. As sleep is crucial for a baby’s growth and brain development, prolonged sleep disturbances can have significant implications.

3. Restlessness

Beyond irritability and poor sleep, caffeine can cause general restlessness in infants. A baby might seem more jittery or hyperactive, with an inability to remain calm or focus on activities like feeding. This restlessness can interfere with important bonding and feeding times, as the baby might struggle to nurse effectively or stay engaged during feedings.

4. Gastrointestinal Distress

Some babies may experience gastrointestinal issues such as gas, colic, or reflux when exposed to caffeine. These conditions can cause discomfort and pain, leading to more crying and difficulty in feeding. The immature digestive system of an infant might not process caffeine efficiently, resulting in prolonged symptoms.

5. Sensitivity Variability

It is important to note that not all babies will react to caffeine in the same way. Some infants may be more sensitive to even small amounts of caffeine, while others might tolerate moderate levels without any noticeable effects. This variability means that mothers need to observe their babies closely to determine if caffeine is impacting their behavior or health.

Practical Tips for Coffee Drinking During Breastfeeding

If you want to minimize the impact of drinking coffee while you are breastfeeding your child, there are a few things you can do. Below are just a few of them:

  1. Drink coffee after breastfeeding: This timing helps minimize the amount of caffeine in your breast milk during your baby's next feeding.
  2. Monitor your baby's reactions: Pay attention to signs of irritability or poor sleep, which might indicate sensitivity to caffeine.
  3. Gradually reduce caffeine intake: If you notice adverse effects, try cutting back on caffeine gradually to see if there's an improvement.
  4. Consider decaffeinated options: Switching to decaf can allow you to enjoy coffee without too much of a caffeine boost.
  5. Stay hydrated:  Drink plenty of water to help flush caffeine from your system and stay well-hydrated.

If you have free time and you want to collect milk before coffee drinking immediately, you can use a wearable breast pump. These breast pumps easily fit into your bra, allowing you to collect milk discreetly, even in public. They are quiet compared to electric breast pumps.

We highly recommend getting the eufy breast pump because of its built-in heating feature. It provides a comfortable heat of 95 degrees to 105 degrees Fahrenheit around the nipples. Thus, helping reduce clogs and promote a better milk flow.

eufy breast pump

Other Beverages and Foods to Be Cautious of While Breastfeeding

In addition to coffee, there are other foods and beverages that nursing mothers should approach with caution. Here are some to consider:

  • Herbal teas: Some herbal teas contain ingredients that may not be safe for breastfeeding mothers or their babies. It's best to consult with a healthcare professional before consuming them.
  • Alcohol: Alcohol can pass into breast milk and affect your baby's development. If you choose to drink, it's important to do so in moderation and time it carefully.
  • Spicy foods: While not harmful, spicy foods can sometimes cause digestive discomfort in babies. Observe your baby's reaction to see if adjustments are needed.
  • Fish high in mercury: Certain fish, like swordfish and king mackerel, have high mercury levels that can be harmful to a baby's developing nervous system. Opt for low-mercury alternatives like salmon or shrimp.
  • Chocolate: Chocolate contains caffeine and other stimulants. Eating large amounts may affect your baby in the same way coffee does.


We hope that this answers your question regarding: Can i drink coffee while breastfeeding? The good news is that you can still enjoy drinking your favorite beverage. However, you may need to wait after you have breastfed your baby before drinking another cup. In some cases, you may also need to cut down your consumption.


How long should I wait after drinking coffee to breastfeed?

It’s best to wait at least one to two hours after drinking coffee before breastfeeding. This allows the caffeine to peak in your bloodstream and begin to decrease, reducing the amount that passes into your breast milk. If you drink coffee right after breastfeeding, it will give your body more time to process the caffeine before the next feeding.

Does coffee affect milk supply?

Moderate caffeine consumption does not significantly affect milk supply. However, excessive intake might lead to dehydration, which could impact milk production indirectly. Maintaining adequate hydration is essential for ensuring a steady milk supply. If you notice a decrease in milk production and suspect caffeine as a cause, try reducing your intake and observe any changes. Consulting with a lactation consultant can also provide guidance tailored to your situation.

Are there caffeine-free alternatives that are safe during breastfeeding?

Yes, there are several caffeine-free alternatives that you can enjoy while breastfeeding. Herbal teas, such as chamomile or dandelion, are popular choices that provide a soothing effect without the caffeine. 100% fruit juice is another option that benefits moms without the caffeine. Additionally, flavored water or milk-based beverages can be refreshing and hydrating.

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