Exhausted moms can now gulp their morning joe with a little less guilt. A study out of Brazil published in Pediatrics this month shows that moderate caffeine consumption during pregnancy or by moms who are breastfeeding their babies does not increase night-waking in three-month olds. Reuters has a good summary of the new research.
Parents of newborns have enough to worry about and stress over. It seems in the last several years that pregnancy and breastfeeding has become a field of land mines, with new risks to avoid at every turn. When I was pregnant the first time, I felt sick for months. The only thing that made me feel better was a Diet Coke and a handful of peanut M&Ms in the afternoon. Something about that magic combination of caffeine, chocolate, protein from the peanuts, and chemicals from the soda just settled my stomach and gave me enough of a boost to get me through the afternoon, more or less. I already felt so deprived of many of my favorite foods and beverages that were forbidden or frowned upon during pregnancy. I couldn’t imagine having to give up that one treat that made me feel almost human again during those tough months.
Debbie and I have always been proponents of “Everything in Moderation.” And I’m happy to hear that medical research can give some comfort when pregnant women and nursing moms reach for their caffeinated beverage of choice. In this case, moderation means keeping our caffeine consumption to less than 300 mg per day, which translates roughly to 16 oz of regular drip coffee, five 8-oz cups of tea, or six cans of soda. Watch out for those energy drinks – many of them have more than 300 mg of caffeine in a single serving.
One of the best things we can do to help our babies sleep well is to feel good ourselves, and if a cup of coffee after a rough night makes you feel better, please go ahead!