As a new nursing mom you are likely pretty tired. I know I sure was.
It can be easy to reach for any remedy to help get you through the day. Being tired is one of those things that is pretty common with nursing moms, and energy drinks are a quick way to feel a little less tired.
But is it ok to drink energy drinks while breastfeeding?
The question isn’t only about the safety of such drinks on the mother’s and infant’s health; it’s also a question of whether these drinks deliver their promise in the first place. If they do, would it be worth it?
In this article, we’ll look at the contents of energy drinks and consider if it’s safe to drink energy drinks while breastfeeding
Watch Breastfeeding And Coffee: Can I Drink Energy Drinks While Breastfeeding?
What Is in Your Breastmilk?
Your breastmilk naturally provides your nursing baby everything that their growing body needs, including all the good stuff, such as protein, carbs, and fats. However, it can also pass along any chemicals swimming freely in your bloodstream, including harmful chemicals such as alcohol and caffeine.
What Do the Energy Drinks Contain?
Energy drinks are mainly composed of caffeine, sugars, and taurine. Each of those components has an alarming profile on its own. These ingredients are not recommended for babies or children, so you can maybe guess the sort of effects that energy drinks may have on you or your baby.
Lets look at these ingredients a little more closely.
Caffeine and Breastfeeding
We all need a coffee from time to time. Drinking coffee while breastfeeding has become normalised and is now quite common.
But despite caffeine’s casual use, it can have some significant effects on your heart as it increases blood pressure. It also affects your nervous system, causing arousal and excitation. This is why some people feel jittery after drinking coffee.
It is important to note that studies show that caffeine can pass from mother to baby during pregnancy and breastfeeding, which subjects your baby to the previously mentioned side effects.
How much caffeine can I drink while breastfeeding?
400 mg of caffeine per day is the maximum safe limit that you shouldn’t exceed as a non-breastfeeding mother. While you are breastfeeding, you may need to consume less coffee while breastfeeding, depending on how your baby reacts.
Keep an eye on your baby’s behavior. If your baby shows symptoms like alertness, jittering, difficulty sleeping or night-time wakefulness, this might indicate that the caffeine in your breastmilk is messing with his nervous system, and you may need to reduce or eliminate caffeine from your diet.
Sensitive babies may develop wakefulness, irritability, and fussiness upon the faintest intake. Also, keep in mind that caffeine circulates in your baby’s blood longer than it does in yours: It stays there for up to 132 hours during his first months.
And be aware, caffeine will peak in your blood in approximately 45 minutes, so it’s advisable to avoid breastfeeding for 1–2 hours after consuming caffeine.
If Your Baby Has Any of These Conditions, Caffeine Will Make Them Worse!
If your baby is born with any heart conditions, it’s better to avoid caffeine altogether. The most notable disease of this category is arrhythmias, which refers to any abnormality in your baby’s heartbeat. As mentioned earlier, caffeine affects the heart dramatically, so an already diseased heart may find it hard to cope with anything that interacts with the heart.
Also, if you are struggling to get your baby to sleep or to sleep through the night, consuming caffeine will complicate the already dysregulated sleep cycle.
To make it all worse, recent research is suggesting that Caffeine also has the potential of worsening diabetes.
In this respect, you and your baby are equally affected: If you have any of the above-mentioned conditions, caffeine will be detrimental to your health as well.
Sugars and Breastfeeding
Energy drinks have their fair share of sugars, including glucose and fructose. Generally, excessive sugar increases the risk of obesity. But in this case, fructose, in particular, is the most harmful to your baby.
High levels of fructose are associated with increased fat storage, which may appear on your baby at the age of six months. That may set the stage for future child obesity and diabetes.
Taurine and Breastfeeding
Taurine is an essential amino acid that your baby needs. Luckily, it exists naturally in your breastmilk. But administering extra taurine through energy drinks may take its toll on your baby’s metabolism, kidney, and even growth.
Will Energy Drinks Decrease Breastmilk Supply?
If there is an element that can affect milk flow in these drinks, it’s the caffeine. However, there is a lack of direct correlation and conclusive evidence regarding this point.
Caffeine doesn’t directly decrease your milk flow doesn’t mean that it can’t lower it indirectly. But, caffeine can make the baby jittery, thereby reducing his nursing duration. And when nursing drops, breastmilk supply will reduce.
Caffeine can also effect your breastmilk supply by causing dehydration. To combat this, make sure to eat lots of water and hydrating fruits and vegetables, such as cucumber, lettuce, watermelon, tomatoes, etc.
Other articles you may like:
- Is it OK to breastfeed with a fever?
- Benefits of Breastfeeding vs Pumping
- Lactogenic Foods to Increase Milk Supply
What’s a Healthy Substitute for Energy Drinks?
I understand how stressful it can be to take care of a newborn. But I don’t think that you need to resort to energy drinks. Here are some natural, healthy ways to restore your energy.
The first and most important alternative is proteins: Diminished protein intake is one of the common causes of fatigue. If you’re in the habit of skipping meals while breastfeeding, make sure not to skip breakfast in particular: It’ll help you power through the day.
Coffee is another option to consider, but not more than two cups, so you don’t exceed the daily 400mg limit.
And finally, the one that may genuinely deserve to be called a panacea — exercise. Once your doctor has cleared you for exercise, exercise will increase your heart rate, improve your blood flow, and release lots of endorphins, which will collectively ramp up your energy.
List of Things to Skip Along With Energy Drinks
During breastfeeding, there are a couple of things you should keep your distance from:
- Non prescription medication
Drinking energy drinks sparingly while breastfeeding can be perfectly fine, however, their regular and habitual use can be negative, especially during breastfeeding. It is important to consider your baby’s health and reaction to your diet while breastfeeding. Ultimately, you can use them in moderation after consulting your doctor. But a healthier option is to consider skipping the energy drinks and choosing a healthier alternative.