An exhausted nursing mom got shamed for drinking a second cup of coffee. But according to experts, she didn't do anything wrong.

By Maressa Brown
September 27, 2019
woman breastfeeding and having cup of coffee
Credit: Adobe Stock

Before you find out you're expecting, it's likely you'll hear you need to cut down on your coffee habit. It's recommended pregnant women limit caffeine to 200 mg or less a day—roughly the amount in two cups of brewed coffee. But what about when you're breastfeeding? A mom of a 2-month-old recently took to the Parenting subreddit to seek support after being shamed by her step-grandmother for enjoying her usual two cups of morning joe.

Writing under the handle Kurlsandpearls, the original poster (OP) shared, "I got mom-shamed by a family member because I'm breastfeeding my almost 2-month-old and had a second cup of coffee which I usually do every day, because I'm 22 and overworked and tired and have a pile of homework and assignments to do. There's that." Later, in an update to the post, she clarified that the family member was her step-grandmother who said, "Didn't I tell you yesterday that too much caffeine is bad for the baby?"

The OP described her response to the shaming relative: "I didn't even hesitate to say, 'Well, I dropped him this morning, because I was so tired, so caffeine is probably the least of our worries. Here's the baby, I'm going to go smoke a cigarette!'...Her face was priceless. Don't worry, I didn't drop my son and I do not smoke. She knew that. When I went to go get the baby, she apologized for being too pushy and said she would mind her business and I said that it sounded like a good idea."

But that wasn't the end of it. The OP's stepmom reacted to the showdown by making a "joke" about the OP's hormones being crazy postpartum. She said "that everyone should watch out because I'm on a mean streak. And that joking about dropping the baby is not funny." The OP noted, "I was probably wrong on that part, and I did come off strong, but her face was still funny."

Commenters applauded the OP's response to her step-grandmother and stepmom. StrawberryThirty wrote, "You sound like me. After I had my kids, I just stopped filtering myself when people tried messing with me. There’s something about the sleep-deprived frazzled anxiety kids provide that makes people grow shiny spines after a while to tackle life."

Lennvor wrote, "Well-done on snapping back! It's good to defend yourself when you're being attacked, and even when the people think they're well-meaning and not attacking and we might consider the defense an overreaction, it still establishes a boundary and tells those people that you are feeling hurt by their behavior and that if they don't want to annoy you they should stop it."

The OP was grateful for her fellow Redditors' support and the science backs her up. According to the American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists (ACOG), the same amount of caffeine that's recommended during pregnancy is considered safe while breastfeeding. That said, newborn and preterm infants are more sensitive to caffeine, so ACOG recommends consuming a lower amount of caffeine in the first few days after your baby is born or if they're preterm.