Can I drink caffeine if I'm breastfeeding?

Q: Can I drink coffee or soda if I'm breastfeeding?

A: It's totally fine to keep up your morning java habit if you're breastfeeding, but you should limit your intake of coffee (and soda, certain teas, and other sources of caffeine). Caffeine is transmitted through breast milk, but the amount that's passed through from any single beverage is actually very low. So caffeine consumption only becomes a problem if you overindulge, which can make your baby extra fussy or even sleep less. To play it safe, limit your intake to 200 to 300 milligrams a day -- the amount in two to three small cups of coffee or five to six cans of soda. And don't forget to factor in other surprising sources of caffeine, including dark chocolate and certain pain relievers or cold remedies (you can usually check the label to see how much caffeine there is). Moms who are breastfeeding preemies should cut back even more, since preterm babies are much more sensitive to the effects of caffeine.

Copyright 2009 Meredith Corporation.

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