Can You Drink Coffee When Breastfeeding?

Can You Drink Coffee When Breastfeeding?

Breastfeeding your baby comes with its fair share of adjustments, and your diet is one of the most important factors. There are plenty of foods and drinks your baby’s developing body can’t handle, so you’ll need to make sure you’re eating the right things for their health. One of the biggest things new mums need to watch is caffeine consumption. If you’re like the rest of us and you’ve been known to sip coffee throughout the day to stay awake, it’s something you’ll need to cut back on while breastfeeding. You don’t need to cut coffee out entirely, you just need to make sure it’s not affecting bub. To clear things up, we’re going to take a look at how caffeine affects babies and answer the question “Can you drink coffee when breastfeeding?”

Can You Drink Coffee When Breastfeeding?

It’s considered safe to drink 2-3 cups of coffee per day when breastfeeding. Australia’s Food Standards board recommends that breastfeeding mums should consume less than 200mg of caffeine per day.

Apart from keeping an eye on your total caffeine intake, you should also think about when you’re drinking coffee, tea and other caffeinated drinks. The amount of caffeine in your breastmilk peaks about an hour after drinking it. It’s best if you can avoid drinking coffee and tea before feeding times. Try to time your pick-me-ups for quiet parts of the day when you’ll have a couple of hours to let the caffeine pass out of your system.

Caffeine and Breastfeeding

Caffeine is a mild stimulant that increases the activity in your brain and nervous system. That’s why most of us start our day with a cup of coffee. The small dose of caffeine helps to wake the body up and improves focus. While that’s great for adults, it doesn’t have the same effect on babies.

Your baby’s body is still developing. That means they don’t process caffeine the same way you do. In adults, caffeine is absorbed into the bloodstream and processed by the liver in 3 – 7 hours. A baby’s body takes much longer to break it down, and caffeine can stay in their system for 65 – 130 hours. The good news is that you don’t have to cut coffee and caffeinated drinks out entirely! Only about 1% of the caffeine you drink ends up in your breastmilk. As long as you’re paying attention to how much you consume and don’t let it build up in your baby’s body over short periods of time, you shouldn’t have a problem.

The Effects of Too Much Caffeine on Babies

Caffeine builds up in babies’ bodies quickly. Their organs are still developing and it can take days for them to process the stimulant. That means even the low levels of caffeine in your breastmilk can have an effect. Newborns are especially prone to the effects of too much caffeine and your baby might show symptoms like:

  • Fussy or unhappy behaviour
  • Jitteriness
  • Colic
  • Poor sleep

The amount of caffeine that passes into your breastmilk is different for everybody. If you want to drink coffee while breastfeeding then you’ll have to pay attention to whether it’s affecting bub. If it’s not causing problems with your baby’s health or sleep then there’s nothing to worry about!

How Much Caffeine Is in a Cup of Coffee?

Minding your caffeine intake while breastfeeding is beneficial for your baby. Less caffeine means they’ll be happier and better rested, and that’s great news for everyone in the family. When adding up how much caffeine you’ve had throughout the day, make sure you include all caffeinated foods and drinks in the total. Here’s how much caffeine is in common foods:


Caffeine Levels


145mg per 50mL shot

Energy drinks

80mg per 250mL can

Instant coffee

60mg per teaspoon

Black tea

50mg per 220mL cup


36mg per 375mL can

Milk chocolate

10mg per 50g bar

Dark chocolate (70%)

40mg per 50g bar

Did you see that sneaky entry there at the end? That’s right, chocolate also contains small amounts of caffeine. There’s no need to stress about it, just try to remember to include it in your daily totals. Dark chocolate contains more caffeine than milk chocolate, so maybe stick to the light stuff while you’re nursing!

Get Ready for Your Breastfeeding Journey with Mad House Mums!

So, the bad news is that you might have to cut back on coffee while you’re breastfeeding. The good news is that you’re going to save TONNES of money on those morning coffees! At least, that’s how we’d look at it. Getting your coffee consumption in line is just one part of the breastfeeding journey, and for everything else there’s Mad House Mums! Mad House Mums is run by real mums who know all about the ups and downs of nursing a baby. There’s challenges ahead, and we’ve designed our range of breastfeeding clothes and dresses to help get you ready for anything. Our breastfeeding clothes Australia wide are all about comfort. Whether you’re spending your day around the home or headed out for date night, our range makes sure you’re in control of your breastfeeding experience. You can browse our online shop for a Breastfeeding Jumper or our range of Breastfeeding Pyjamas Australia wide at any time, or get in touch with us if you’d like to know more about our products!

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