Breastfeeding and Caffeine: Can I Drink Coffee?

We get it—you’re sleep deprived and all you want is a Cup of Joe! But are you stressed that coffee might impact your baby? Let’s dive in and talk in detail about caffeine and breastfeeding. 

Breastfeeding and Caffeine: How Much Caffeine Can I Have?

It’s true that the things you eat and drink can enter your breast milk and impact your baby as a result. But caffeine is typically okay to consume in moderate amounts while you’re breastfeeding (2, 3). Yay!

For most women, less than 1.5% of the caffeine you consume will appear in your breast milk (4, 6). If it is consumed in moderation, then it should not impact your baby (2). No studies have shown that caffeine can harm a nursing infant (1).

Both the CDC and American Academy of Pediatrics say 300 mg or less of caffeine is acceptable per day for breastfeeding women (2, 4). Also, the European Food Safety Authority recommends 200 mg or less (4).

Breastfeeding and Caffeine: Can I Drink Coffee?

Good news for all you exhausted mamas out there — you can have your coffee while breastfeeding! Per the CDC and AAP recommendations, you can have 300 mg of caffeine or 2-3 cups of coffee per day (2, 4).

Other Foods and Drinks that Have Caffeine

Many adults, particularly in our Western society, do not realize how much caffeine they consume in a day (5). For example, an 8oz cup of black tea can contain 25-48 mg. Even more, an 8 oz cup of coffee contains 95-165 mg of caffeine (5).

The following foods and drinks also contain caffeine (2, 4):

  • Chocolate
  • Coffee (decaf coffee still contains 3% caffeine)
  • Tea (black, green, herbal)
  • Energy drinks
  • Soda
  • Sports drinks
  • Flavored water
  • Some medications

Just remember—moderation in all things! 

Breastfeeding and Caffeine: Everyone is Different

Although very little caffeine passes through breast milk, remember that everyone is different. Every mom and every baby will have different tolerances and sensitivities (1).

The amount of caffeine in breast milk varies from person to person (5). Some women have low caffeine absorption and high metabolism, while others do not (5).

Newborns and preemies might be more sensitive to caffeine, because their stomachs are more sensitive (4, 5). As a result, it may take them longer to get caffeine out of their system (4, 5).

Breastfeeding and Caffeine: Effects on Baby

Are you worried your baby is reacting to your caffeine intake? Babies usually only have a reaction for one of the following reasons (2, 4, 5):

  • Mom consumed large amounts of caffeine (e.g. 5-10 cups of coffee a day)
  • The baby is very young or small

Also, FYI, caffeine levels usually peak in your breast milk about 1-2 hours after you ingest it (4).

If your baby has a reaction to caffeine, then she might act overstimulated (5). Look out for the following signs (2, 3, 4, 5): 

  • Unusually fussy
  • Awake more than usual
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Hyperactive
  • Jittery
  • Colicky behavior

If you think your baby is reacting to caffeine, then reduce or cut out caffeine for 2-3 weeks. This will give you time to know if caffeine is the root of the problem (4). Warning: you may experience headaches if you cut out caffeine quickly (4). 

Good news! Babies usually become less sensitive to caffeine as they get older (4). If you have any questions, then call your doctor.

Here’s to an end of sleepless nights soon, mama!

Kopa Birth’s online childbirth classes allow you to prepare for a natural childbirth in the comfort of your own home, 24/7. Enroll today in our free online childbirth class to learn more about preparing for natural childbirth. 


  1. CAPPA: Childbirth & Postpartum Professional Association. (2016). Lactation Educator Manual (Ninth Edition).
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2020, October 8). Breastfeeding: Maternal Diet. Retrieved October 24, 2020, from
  3. Injoy Health Education. (2016). Understanding Breastfeeding: Your Guide to a Healthy Start (Seventh Edition). Longmont, CO: InJoy Birth & Parenting Education.
  4. La Leche League International. (2021). Breastfeeding Info: Caffeine. Retrieved 2021, from
  5. Lauwers, J., Swisher, A. (2021). Counseling the Nursing Mother: A Lactation Consultant’s Guide (Seventh Edition). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
  6. Simkin, P., Whalley, J., Keppler, A., Durham, J., & Bolding, A. (2016). Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn: The Complete Guide (Fifth Edition). Minnetonka, MN: Meadowbrook Press.

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Meet Katie Griffin

I’m a registered nurse, Lamaze certified childbirth educator, and the mother of 7. I help women realize their dream of a natural, intimate, and empowering hospital birth.

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We get it—you’re sleep deprived and all you want is a Cup of Joe! But are you stressed that coffee might impact your baby? Let’s dive in and talk in