Is it safe to drink green tea while breastfeeding? In my opinion, breastfeeding is one of the healthiest processes in the early life of a child. Mothers pass on vital nutrients, antibodies, and healthy transfer factors to their babies through this process, but harmful chemicals and diseases can be transmitted through the breast as well.
Recently, many mothers have been asking the question "Is it safe to have green tea during breastfeeding?"
This is because green tea is high in caffeine, and caffeine can be harmful to a developing infant, but exactly how harmful can it be to a baby's development?
As a new parent, I wanted to find out if there's any inherent issues with drinking green tea while my wife breastfeeds. Here's the information that I came up with.
Why Worry About Green Tea at All?
Well, green tea has become very popular in the last few years for good reason.
Green tea is packed with antioxidants and minerals that can help with digestion, can help your body ward off cancer growths, and can even help you manage your cholesterol levels.
I, for one, drink a lot of green tea on a relatively regular basis for these reasons and so does my wife.
As a general rule, this type of tea is an excellent substitute for the sugary drinks that many people consume on a daily basis.
The Dangers of Green Tea
Modern green tea is definitely great, but it does have its issues. First and foremost of these is its high amount of caffeine.
While green tea has less caffeine than a cup of black coffee, its caffeine content is relatively high compared to most other teas, and unfortunately, caffeine isn't great for the development of the little ones.
While the effects of caffeine aren't considered life-threatening, there are several additional issues that can be caused by too much caffeine.
We've all had issues with having to wake up at late hours to feed our newest family members.
Every parent has heard that earsplitting wail that means that it's time to feed.
The caffeine in this drink can actually contribute to your sleepless nights because it's giving your baby sleepless nights as well.
This is because, just like in adults, caffeine can inhibit your baby's ability to sleep peacefully.
In addition to this, it can even cause your child to be more irritable in his or her waking hours.
The Japanese Belief about Green Tea and Babies
In Japan, it is a widely held belief that green tea can be a detriment to the iron absorption process in the mother's body.
This can result in newborn babies not quite receiving the iron that they need to develop at that early stage.
As a result of this belief, it's considered vital for women who drink things like green tea, which are believed to reduce a mother's iron, to take iron supplements so that the baby can receive the appropriate amount of this key element.
The Percentage of Caffeine in Breast Milk
Based on a study conducted by The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), a mother's breast milk contains less than one percent of the caffeine consumed by the mother.
While I agree that this might seem like a trivial amount, with several cups of green tea a day, and especially considering that people drink it like a soft drink, you can pass a lot of caffeine to your baby if you aren't careful.
The study also stated that five or more caffeinated drinks is the point where you'll notice that your baby will become increasingly fussy.
Avoided Caffeine During Your Pregnancy?
If you've avoided caffeinated drinks during your pregnancy, then your baby is more likely to feel the effects of the caffeine that you ingest while you are breastfeeding.
With this in mind, try to reduce your consumption so that your baby isn't made sleepless or irritable by your green tea consumption.
The Safest Amount of Daily Green Tea
It's recommended that pregnant and breastfeeding women ingest no more than 200 milligrams of caffeine a day.
To figure how much green tea you can drink in a day, consider that each eight ounce serving of this tea contains about 48 milligrams of caffeine.
This means that to be safe, you shouldn't really drink more than two or three cups of green tea a day when you are nursing your baby.
Some Healthy Alternatives That You Can Drink While You Are Breastfeeding
According to Healthline, there are several tea alternatives to green tea. These consist of:
Tea Forte GARDEN HARVEST WHITE Single Steeps Organic White Tea Loose Leaf Tea Sampler – This is a delicious tea sampler that has several fruit-flavored teas that have zero to minimal caffeine.
Sweet Chamomile Loose Leaf Herbal Tea – Chamomile tea is a tea that's known for its ability to take the edge off. This is a great caffeine-free option for mothers who are looking to reduce their caffeine intake.
Yogi Ginger Tea – Ginger tea supports digestion, which is great for your baby as well. This is also a naturally caffeine-free option.
Stash Peppermint Herbal Tea – This is just a naturally refreshing tea that has zero caffeine so that you can drink it without feeling guilty.
Traditional Medicinals Organic Dandelion Leaf and Root Tea – Another tea that supports healthy digestion, dandelion leaf tea is also naturally caffeine-free.
Another great tea option is fenugreek tea; as a matter of fact, there are even teas of this type that are designed for lactating moms. Nursing & Lactation Tea by Mother's Select is a great fenugreek tea option for women who like to drink tea.
Tea drinking has become very popular. There are cold green tea as well as hot versions that moms love.
If you find yourself to be a tea lover, you don't have to go cold turkey because you are lactating.
Simply lower your overall tea consumption to about two to three cups a day and your baby won't be affected by the additional caffeine.
If you are looking to cut your caffeine intake completely, then definitely try out the Nursing & Lactation Tea by Mother's Select, it provides herbs that help in breast milk production and will even boost nutrition transfer as well.