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Nursing & Effects of Caffeine

If you rely on caffeine to help you through the sleep deprivation endemic to new motherhood, you can let go of any guilt you feel. Less than 1 percent of the caffeine you ingest ends up in your breast milk, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, and most babies show few or no sensitivities to breast milk. Stick with moderate amounts, and spread your caffeine consumption throughout the day.

RELATED: Nutrition for Breastfeeding

Sleep Troubles

If your baby has trouble falling asleep or staying asleep at night, your caffeine consumption might be the problem, but it's more likely that your baby's just being a baby. In a study conducted in 2004 and 2005 -- results of which were reported in 2012 in "Pediatrics," the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics -- researchers found that babies whose mothers consumed more than 300 milligrams of caffeine per day were only slightly more likely to wake at night than babies whose mothers consumed less caffeine. Regardless of the mother's caffeine consumption, about 41 percent of the babies in the study woke up at least once each night, and 14 percent woke up more than three times each night, Marlos Rodrigues Domingues -- one of the three researchers who conducted the study -- told National Public Radio.

Irritability or Alertness

Your daily cup of Joe might make your baby more alert and wide-eyed, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, "However," warns the American Academy of Pediatrics, "if you feel that your infant becomes more fussy or irritable when you consume excessive amounts of caffeine (usually more than five caffeinated beverages per day), consider decreasing your intake.

The Guidelines

Babies don't seem to metabolize or absorb caffeine the way adults do, so chances are you won't notice any side effects from consuming caffeine in moderate amounts while breastfeeding. The AAP suggests that you keep your intake under 300 milligrams per day, which is the amount of caffeine typically found in three cups of coffee. At higher amounts, you may notice poor feeding and sleep routines, says the International Food Information Council Foundation.

RELATED: 15 Tricks to Better Sleep

Keeping Track

Keep track of how much caffeine you're consuming, especially if your baby seems sensitive to it. A regular 8-ounce cup of coffee contains between 95 and 200 milligrams of caffeine, but specialty gourmet coffees may contain 330 milligrams of caffeine or more per 16-ounce cup. Account for caffeine in tea, soft drinks, chocolate and pain medications, as well.

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