Everything You Wanted to Know About Coffee and Breastfeeding

I've never been a huge coffee or tea drinker, but whenever I had a new baby in the house? GIVE ME ALL THE COFFEE. Unfortunately, you have to be mindful of the caffeine you're drinking (and eating) while you're nursing a baby. Being a breastfeeding mom is hard enough, but to do it without caffeine? Yeesh.

Doesn't it seem like a bad joke? At a time when moms need a jolt of caffeine the most, they have to be careful about just how much they consume in a day! Most of the time, breastfeeding moms can drink a small amount of caffeine (less than 500mls). Just remember: some babies may be more sensitive to it than others. They may become irritable and fussy; this is more obvious in babies that are under 6 months old. The good news is, that even if your young baby is sensitive now, you can try to re-introduce caffeine when she’s a little older.

Starbucks, here you come!

When you drink or eat something with caffeine, it usually peaks in your bloodstream about 1-2 hours afterwards and only about 1% of the caffeine that you drink will be passed into your breast milk. It would make sense to drink your morning coffee before or during your morning breastfeed, right?

Just to get an idea of how long it takes your baby to break down caffeine, check this out:

(“half-life” is the amount of time it takes for the body to break down a substance to half of the strength that it was when it was first consumed.)





2.7-5.4 days

3–5 months

about 14 hours

4-9 months

3-7 hours


3-7 hours


How Does Caffeine Affect my Breastfeeding Baby?


Babies can be so weird- some are SUPER sensitive to caffeine, and some just aren't. None of my babies ever reacted to caffeine, but like I said- I didn't drink a lot of it.

If you're a breastfeeding mama who just loves your java, you should know some of the signs of caffeine sensitivity in babies:

  • May make your baby fussy

  • Baby may be wide-eyed and alert

  • Baby may be unable to sleep for long or have a hard time falling asleep


What Do I Do if My Baby Seems Sensitive to Caffeine?


Have you ever tried to quit caffeine cold-turkey? It is PAINFUL. The headaches, the brain fog...so if your baby seems sensitive to caffeine it’s important to cut back slowly and gradually. It may take several days for your baby to become less fussy after cutting back, so give it some time.


How Will Drinking Caffeine Affect My Milk Supply?


Some mamas think that drinking caffeine decreases your milk supply, but there just isn't any evidence that this is true. Many moms drink caffeine and breastfeed without any problems at all.


If your baby is fussy and jittery from caffeine, she may not breastfeed well. When a baby doesn’t feed well, your body won’t make as much milk and that’s how caffeine can affect your milk supply. It’s not the caffeine as much as it’s the effects of the caffeine on the baby who’s sensitive that affects milk supply.


Caffeine, Caffeine, Everywhere!


Caffeine can be found in soooo many products. Coffee is the biggest carrier: A short regular blend from Starbuck's can contain about 250mg! But if you're baby is sensitive you may need to stay away from other caffeine culprits like:

  • soft drinks (can have between 22-55mg caffeine)

  • black tea (about 48mg of caffeine)

  • sports/energy drinks  

  • some over-the-counter and prescription medications (eg Midol)  

  • foods that contain coffee or chocolate (coffee ice cream may have about 24mg!)

  • herbal products containing guarana/paullinea cupana, kola nut/cola nitida, yerba maté

  • Green tea (can have up to 35mg of caffeine!)


So there you have it, Mama! If your baby isn't sleeping well or seems fussy, try weaning yourselves off of caffeine. If your baby is happy and sleeping well, caffeine in moderation.

If you're wondering about other breastfeeding topics, click below to check these out:

Smoking While Breastfeeding

Smoking Weed and Breastfeeding

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Joanne Ilaqua - CEO of MamaSoup

Hey there, I’m Joanne.

I’ve spent about 20 years serving women as a nurse, doula and Lamaze educator. I have 4 kids and I know firsthand how lonely and isolating motherhood can be, so I created MamaSoup. I'm mostly known for my love of red wine, spontaneously singing and my confidence in being my true self on social media. When I’m not busy building women up, you can catch me taking Instagram stories of my bulldog Ruby, watching The Handmaid’s Tale, playing MUber (Mom Uber) to my kids or vacationing in my favourite town: Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

I love serving the world by providing a space for moms to connect and support each other. In my opinion, moms are the backbone of communities because they are (literally) raising the future!

As the founder and CEO of MamaSoup, I’ve been featured on CHEX TV Morning Show, KawarthaNOW, Economic Development- The City of Kawartha Lakes and MyKawartha.

Still with me? Join me over at MamaSoup to keep the conversation going!

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