Saturday, February 25, 2012

Can Consuming Caffeine While Breastfeeding Harm Your Baby?

Babies are not able to metabolize or excrete caffeine very well, so a breastfeeding mother’s consumption of caffeine may lead to caffeine accumulation and symptoms such as wakefulness and irritability, according to an interview with expert Ruth Lawrence, MD, published in Journal of Caffeine Research, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.

Caffeine is found in a wide range of products in addition to coffee, tea, and chocolate, including soft drinks, sports drinks, and some over-the-counter medications.

In a provocative discussion with Dr. Ruth Lawrence, Department of Pediatrics,

University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Jack E. James, PhD, Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Caffeine Research, asks a variety of probing questions. Is there a safe level of caffeine intake while breastfeeding? Are there potential long-term effects of caffeine exposure on development and intellect? Can a baby whose mother consumed caffeine during pregnancy experience withdrawal if she then abstains from caffeine while breastfeeding? Dr. Lawrence bases her responses on the scientific and medical evidence related to caffeine exposure in breastfed babies, and distinguishes between what is and what is not well understood in this developing field of study.

“Usually a mother, particularly if she is breastfeeding, is cautioned to limit her caffeine intake,” says Dr. Lawrence, who is Editor-in-Chief of the peer-reviewed journal Breastfeeding Medicine. After giving birth, mothers “should consume all things in moderation and try to avoid the excesses that might really add up to a lot of caffeine.”

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The above story is based on the February 21, 2012 news release by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc./Genetic Engineering News.

The interview is published in the Journal of Caffeine Research, a peer-reviewed journal dedicated to caffeine science, addressing the need for an authoritative source for advancing knowledge of caffeine science and its effects on human health:

James J. Can Consuming Caffeine While Breastfeeding Harm Your Baby? An Interview with Ruth Lawrence, PhD. Journal of Caffeine Research, December 2011, 1(4): 192-194.

CLICK HERE for the full text of the interview


  1. Caffeine during pregnancy or breast feeding has so many side effects which can badly effect your child so keep it away from you specially during pregnancy and breast feeding.

  2. Caffeine during pregnancy may lead to risks of miscarriage. The higher the intake the more would be the chances of miscarriages. Pregnancy and caffeine do not relate with each other as the medical studies proposed.

  3. One of the statistics says that, women consuming caffeine in more than 200mg ratio is prone to the risk of miscarriage for up to 56percent. Beside miscarriage, caffeine during pregnancy causes constriction in the blood vessels. This way limited amount of blood and oxygen supply would be delivered to the fetus which in turn halts the proper growth of the baby.

    1. Medlineplus reported that a new research by Eva Loomans, of Tilburg University in the Netherlands, and colleagues finds no link between caffeine consumption during pregnancy and later behavioral problems in kids.

      But De-Kun Li, M.D., Ph.D., senior research scientist, Kaiser Foundation Research Institute, Oakland, Calif., said, "it is premature to make any conclusion based on the finding from this study, certainly not about the safety of caffeine consumption in pregnancy, even in the context of children's behavior."
      He said other research suggests risks other than miscarriage in women who consume high levels of caffeine. One is slowed growth of the fetus, Li said, and "there could be other adverse effects on the fetus that we do not know yet."
      How much caffeine is too much?