Is Green Tea Safe To Drink While Breastfeeding?

While you were pregnant, you probably paid close attention to your diet to make sure your baby got all the nutrients they needed. You can ease up on your diet a little bit after your baby is born, but if you’re breastfeeding, it’s still important to keep an eye on what you eat and drink.

One question many women have is whether they can drink green tea after their baby is born. In general, the answer is yes – small amounts of green tea are safe for breastfeeding women. However, it’s important to know the potential risks of drinking green tea and make the decision that’s best for your baby.

What You Consume Affects Your Baby

Your baby may not be in the womb anymore, but they’re still completely dependent on you for all the nutrients they need. That’s why it’s important to be responsible about what you eat while breastfeeding. Everything you eat and drink gets into your breast milk, and while this is a good thing when you’re eating a healthy diet, it can also be a bad thing if you’re eating or drinking things that aren’t safe for your baby.

Green tea contains B vitamins, folate(folic acid), manganese, magnesium, caffeine and other antioxidants. Even though it contains a lot of different nutrients, the most important one which can have an impact on your kid is the caffeine.

There is some controversy surrounding the issue of how much caffeine is safe to consume while breastfeeding. Some doctors recommend consuming none at all, while others recommend limiting daily intake of caffeinated beverages to a few cups. This conflicting information can make it hard to know what to think, but a brief primer on caffeine and breastfeeding can help shed some light on the issue.

Caffeine and Breastfeeding: What’s Safe?

Some women swear up and down that they had to give up their daily coffee habit because it was making their breastfed baby too hyper. Others say that a cup of two of caffeinaged beverages every day makes no difference at all to their baby’s health. Who’s right?

Both might be right, actually. Caffeine does get into breast milk, and different babies have varying levels of sensitivity to it. If you drank coffee or caffeinated teas throughout your pregnancy, your baby might not be sensitive at all. If, on the other hand, you stayed away from caffeine while you were pregnant, your baby might be more sensitive than usual to it.

Only a small amount of the caffeine you consume actually gets into your breast milk – one to three percent, on average. That’s not enough to cause discomfort or health problems for most babies, as long as you keep your caffeine consumption low. Most experts recommend limiting yourself to 200 or 300 milligrams of caffeine a day. If your baby still gets fussy or has a hard time falling asleep, cut out the caffeine and see if that helps.

There’s one exception to this rule: if your baby is premature, you shouldn’t drink any caffeinated beverages at all. Premature babies are extra sensitive to caffeine, and even a little bit may cause problems for them.

How Much Green Tea is Okay?

An eight-ounce cup of green tea contains up to 50 milligrams of caffeine, depending on the quality of the tea leaves and how strong you like your tea. (By comparison, eight ounces of coffee contains between 150 and 200 milligrams of caffeine.) Even if you prefer to limit yourself to a conservative 200 milligrams of caffeine daily, this means you can drink three to four cups of green tea every day without causing your baby any problems.

It’s important to keep in mind, though, that tea and coffee aren’t the only sources of caffeine in the average person’s diet. Chocolate and soda also contain caffeine. If you can’t give up your soft drinks or your daily square of dark chocolate, you should cut back your green tea consumption accordingly to avoid going over your daily limit.

Is Green Tea in Bottles Safe?

Plain green tea is safe to drink in small quantities while breastfeeding, but what about the bottled kind? That’s a little trickier. Pre-brewed green tea, which is typically sold in bottles or cans like soda, is okay to drink as long as it doesn’t have anything added to it. Some of these teas have additives and flavorings that may not be safe for your baby, though.

The main additives you should look for are ginseng and ginkgo biloba, both of which are frequently added to green tea. Steer clear of these herbs – neither of them is safe for your baby. In general, it’s always a good practice to look up ingredients you’re unfamiliar with to make sure they’re okay to consume while breastfeeding.

Alternatives to Green Tea While You’re Breastfeeding

If you’d rather not take the chance of consuming any caffeine at all while you’re breastfeeding, there are plenty of good alternatives to green tea. The simplest option is to switch to an herbal tea, such as peppermint or chamomile tea – there are dozens of options for herbal teas, with flavors ranging from spicy to floral. For a deeper, earthier flavor, try rooibos or roasted barley tea.

Final Thoughts

Green tea has a lot of benefits for our health. It can boost weight loss, reduce cholesterol, combat cardiovascular diseases etc. But, when you are pregnant, you should be more careful on how much green tea you drink. It contains caffeine and whatever you drink, it passes to your baby through breast milk.

While it may be a huge controversy when it comes to how much caffeine is safe to consume while breastfeeding, still you should be careful to only drink about three to four cups per day of green tea. This amount is recommended only if you don’t consume other caffeine rich beverages, such as sodas, energy drink or cola. If you drink more than the recommended amount, your baby may have a few health problems and should be checked by a pediatrician, especially if you notice serious health-related signs.

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