Tea is one of the healthiest drinks people can buy and prepare. And among the plethora of tea leaves and bags you can buy from the store, green tea is one of the best options. Green tea has antioxidants and bioactive compounds, and many agree it helps keep their bodies and minds strong and sharp.
While water is still the best source of hydration for breastfeeding mothers, many might want to have something different every now and then. Green tea can cool you down on a summer day or warm you up throughout a snowy winter. However, is green tea safe for breastfeeding mothers?
Is Green Tea Safe While Breastfeeding?
Green tea is said to be one of the healthiest drinks in the whole world. No wonder this drink has gotten that title since it can help improve brain functions, lower cancer risks, and aid in weight loss.
Green tea is also known as a stimulant, like coffee. And what do these drinks have in common? They both have caffeine. (Although the amount greatly varies.)
In one cup of green tea (around 8 oz./237 ml.), you can expect 28 mg of caffeine. It is not as much as a cup of brewed coffee, which contains 96 mg, but it can add up if you drink more than one cup.
Caffeine can stay in the bloodstream for as short as 1.5 hours and up to 9.5 hours. But many factors can change your metabolism. Pregnancy can make caffeine stay in the body for as long as 15 hours!
And why do these factors matter? Many experts put a cap on the amount of caffeine a breastfeeding mother should consume. Generally speaking, moms should only consume around 300 mg of caffeine per day.
While 300 mg seems impossible to hit, remember that plenty of food and drinks contain caffeine, besides tea and coffee. Sodas, chocolates, and energy drinks are household items that contain caffeine. However, we do not recommend chugging cans of soft drinks while nursing your baby.
So should you avoid drinking green tea until you wean junior off breast milk? Not necessarily. You can still enjoy one to three cups of green tea, and your baby should not experience any side effects. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), less than 1 percent of caffeine is in your breast milk.
What Does Caffeine Do to a Breastfeeding Mother?
Let’s say you went above the recommended caffeine intake and drank five or more cups of tea in one sitting. (It happens!) How will this affect your baby?
If you are lucky, chances are your baby won’t even notice! Tolerance varies from person to person, and the truth also applies to babies. Some babies are also more sensitive to caffeine than others.
If your baby consumes too much caffeine, you will notice a change in their mood. They can either become too hyperactive or irritable. Your child might also have difficulty sleeping and feel restless.
Your caffeine consumption can also affect your milk supply. Mothers can experience a one-third decrease in iron in their breast milk if they consume coffee regularly. So if your baby has some form of iron deficiency, it might be from your cup of joe or tea.
What Are Alternatives for Green Tea?
Even though green tea is low on caffeine and a cup won’t immediately affect your baby, you might still feel conscious about drinking too much tea.
There are other tea options that you can try, many of which have less caffeine content. Many herbal tea drinks, such as chamomile, peppermint, and ginger tea, have zero caffeine.
White tea and decaf tea can also be your other options. But they still have caffeine. But at least it is not as caffeinated as green tea.
There are other drinks you can consider, and they are healthy and caffeine-free. Milk, protein shakes, and fruit smoothies are great options, and you do not have to worry about caffeine intake. But the best of all of your choices is a tall glass of water.
How Can I Avoid Giving Caffeine to My Baby?
Have your tea or coffee-drinking habits affected your little one? It can be concerning to see your baby having difficulties sleeping and experiencing shifts in their mood. So what can you do to keep caffeine away from your baby?
The first thing you can consider is pausing your caffeine consumption until you wean your baby off. Stopping lowers the risk of having caffeine sneaking into your bloodstream and breast milk.
But what if you cannot start the day without a tall glass of tea or coffee? The next thing you can do is feed your baby first before having that sip. But do not try feeding your baby again immediately after drinking anything caffeinated. Wait at least three hours for your body to break down the caffeine in your blood. Drinking water might also help you flush the caffeine out of your system.
You may also try the ‘pump and dump’ technique. Within 24 hours, pump as much breast milk, but do not feed it to your baby. Flush out all of the caffeine-rich breast milk from your ducts. After 24 hours, you can go ahead and nurse your baby again.
It can be hard to say goodbye to caffeinated drinks, and it is not only because they can give a powerful morning boost. But caffeine withdrawal can cause irritating and painful side effects that can hinder everyday life, such as headaches, depression, irritability, and restlessness. So going cold turkey on caffeine may not be the best option, even if it means helping your kid out. So go easy on yourself and let your transition to a caffeine-less or caffeine-free routine be smooth and careful.
Which tea has the least amount of caffeine compared to green tea?
After green tea, white tea, decaf tea, and herbal tea have the least caffeine, with herbal tea having a whopping 0 mg per cup.
Can I drink non-caffeinated tea while breastfeeding?
Decaf tea still contains some trace of caffeine, albeit around 2 to 20 mg, depending on the brand. As long as you do not reach the threshold of 300 mg of caffeine, you should be fine.
Can I drink iced green tea while breastfeeding
Iced green tea is a refreshing drink. But it contains the same caffeine content as a hot cup of tea. As long as you are within your limits, a cup of iced tea should not hurt you or your baby.