How Long Does Caffeine Stay in Breastmilk?
During pregnancy, women are not allowed to drink coffee and alcohol. The caffeine present in a coffee can affect the heartbeat of the baby and even risk miscarriage.
Alcohol can result in stillbirth or fetal alcohol syndrome that may lead to heart defects, facial deformities, and mental retardation.
For women who are avid coffee or alcohol drinkers, overcoming the nine months is indeed a big feat.
But after the baby is born, do you still have to abstain from coffee or alcohol?
But there are other factors to be considered if you want to drink alcohol and caffeine during breastfeeding.
So how long do alcohol and caffeine stay in your breastmilk? Let's find out!
What Is In Your Breastmilk?
The milk produced by your body is filled with nutrients and minerals. But then, the content of the milk is affected by the food you drink and eat.
You should know how to keep you and your child have a healthy breastmilk.
Studies have shown that what the mother consumes somehow gets into the breastmilk which can be consumed by the baby. Because of this, precautions must be made when a woman is breastfeeding. Substances including drugs, caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol should be ingested with care.
Caffeine During Breastfeeding
Taking care of your baby can be challenging and scary at the same moment because they are fragile. When they cannot stop crying at night, even the mothers cannot have a good night sleep.
In this scenario, it is tough not to drink caffeine.
As we all probably know, caffeine is a stimulant that affects the central nervous system including your brain. Most people rely on coffee or caffeine to remain alert and awake. Caffeine is also given as a prescription for a headache, weight loss, and migraine.
The good news is that drinking caffeine during breastfeeding is allowed.
The frequency and concentration of the coffee that you can drink should be moderated. Too much coffee may lead to some of the caffeine to be passed on through breastmilk.
To keep your child from acquiring the caffeine, it is important to know how long the caffeine stays in your breastmilk. According to studies, the concentration of caffeine peaks after approximately 2 hours after breastfeeding.
It means that if you know you had more than the usual amount of caffeine, you should do the “pump and dump” technique.
The “pump and dump” technique is simply pumping out the breastmilk then throwing it out. Since the caffeine will increase only after breastfeeding, you have you to draw the out the milk before it gets high amounts of caffeine.
If you simply do not pump out the milk, there is still a possibility that the next batch of milk you pump out is still high with caffeine.
How much caffeine is acceptable?
The advised concentration of caffeine for breastfeeding women is about 300 milligrams which are equivalent to 2 cups of 8oz. coffee. Monitor the caffeine content not only in coffee but as well as the other drinks you take. Note also the time of your next breast pump so that you can throw it away if you had too much caffeine.
Mothers who intake excessive amounts of caffeine during breastfeeding may result in the child’s caffeine stimulation which includes fussiness, poor sleep patterns, and jitteriness. Increased amounts of coffee (~450 mL) may also lead to reduced iron concentration in your breastmilk.
The half-life of caffeine also varies depending on the age of your baby.
Newborn infants have caffeine half-life of 65-130 hours. Babies that are 3-5 months have a caffeine half-life of 14 hours. 4 months old and up babies have a caffeine half-life of 3-7 hours.
Younger infants take a longer time to get rid of the caffeine in their body. Thus, the fussiness and other effects of caffeine stimulation may last from a few days to a week.
Once you notice caffeine stimulation in your baby, make the effort to lessen your caffeine intake.
Despite some claims, no clear evidence has shown that caffeine can reduce the amount of milk supply. To be able to drink coffee successfully, moderation and awareness is the key. Keep in mind how much you caffeine you had.
Alcohol And Breastmilk Don't Mix
Alcohol is harmful to the child whether through pregnancy or breastfeeding. But there are instances when you want to drink some wine just to relax from a hectic day.
The good news is:
You can drink alcohol during breastfeeding provided that you take precautionary measures.
Timing is crucial to drink alcohol successfully while breastfeeding. Instead of giving your child the current batch of milk, what you can do is offer the previously pumped out milk to ensure that there are no alcohol contents in the milk.
Another way to drink alcohol is immediately after the last feeding session.
You can drink alcohol during the longest sleep of your baby. It will give you time to let the alcohol in your body subside. By the time feeding comes again, the alcohol in your body is almost gone already.
The alcohol content in your bloodstream is highest during the next 30 to 90 minutes after your first drink. The time for the alcohol to subside usually varies for each person.
According to studies:
The amount of time the alcohol stays in your body is about 4 hours after breastfeeding. During this time, the mother produces 20% less milk. The half-life of alcohol for infants younger than three months is double compared to an adult.
The liver of a baby cannot fully process substances like alcohol yet. When a baby consumes alcohol from the breastmilk, you will notice the baby becomes drowsy and sleepy.
Aside from that, the alcohol may also hinder the development of the baby.
So what can you do?
Drinking of plenty of water will help in flushing out the alcohol in your body.
The advised time to resume drinking alcohol is when your baby is three months old already. If you can avoid alcohol, it would be better. You can use breast milk test strips to detect the presence of alcohol in your breast milk.
How About Smoking ?
Smoking should be avoided at all costs during breastfeeding. The nicotine present in the cigarettes can be passed on to your baby and cause vomiting and diarrhea.
Aside from that, smoking also significantly decreases the milk supply and reduces prolactin levels of the mother.
Taking care of yourself and your baby does not stop after you give birth. In fact, the process of nurturing your child is only beginning. Learning how to take care yourself and your baby is part of the process of being a mother.
Reading books or articles about proper health after pregnancy will help a lot. Numerous materials on the internet will guide you in choosing the right kind of food and drinks. By keeping yourself healthy, you are also nurturing your baby to good health.
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