Breastfeeding mum shamed by a relative for drinking too much coffee

A new mum has been shamed for drinking too much coffee while breastfeeding [Photo: Getty]
A new mum has been shamed for drinking too much coffee while breastfeeding [Photo: Getty]

A breastfeeding mum has detailed her experience of being shamed by a relative for drinking too much coffee.

Earlier this year, a pregnant woman was applauded for putting a stranger in their place after she called her out for ordering a coffee at her local Starbucks.

And back in May a woman went online to reveal why she’d intervened after witnessing a pregnant woman being ‘womb shamed’ by a barista at a coffee shop.

But it seems pregnant women aren’t the only ones who are having their caffeine intake monitored, breastfeeding mums are also falling victim to the parenting police.

Case in point the Reddit user who recently shared her frustration with a relative who criticised her for drinking coffee while breastfeeding her 2-month-old son.

“I got mum shamed by a family member because I'm breastfeeding my almost 2 month old and had a second cup of coffee which I usually do everyday bc I'm 22 and over worked and tired and have a pile of homework and assignments to do,” she wrote.

The new mum went on to explain that her step-grandmother chastised her for drinking coffee to keep her energy levels up.

“'Didn't I tell you yesterday that too much caffeine is bad for the baby?'" she said her relative had told her.

When the new mum hit back, her step-grandmother “apologised for being too pushy and said she would mind her business, and I said that it sounded like a good idea,” the woman continued.

READ MORE: Mum called 'disgusting' and told to 'cover up' after breastfeeding in cafe

And her post was flooded with supportive responses from other breastfeeding mums.

“This is a rough time in those first months,” one user wrote. “I wouldn’t have survived without my coffee. I had 1-2 small cups a day, 6 oz mug. Plenty of cream. No sugar. You need the good things in life, however small, to get you through. Babe was fine. We all survived. Go you, OP.”

“Well done on snapping back!” another agreed. “It's good to defend yourself when you're being attacked, and even when the people think they're well-meaning and not attacking and we might consider the defence an overreaction, it still establishes a boundary and tells those people that you are feeling hurt by their behaviour and that if they don't want to annoy you they should stop it.”

Is it okay to drink coffee while you’re breastfeeding?

While drinking caffeine during pregnancy is considered to be ok in moderation, it’s a little more tricky to know how much of the brown stuff is safe for breastfeeding mothers to drink?

While traces of caffeine have been found in breast milk, the amount that’s passed to babies is usually too small to have any real negative impacts, says Rachel Fitz-Desorgher, Author of “Your Baby Skin To Skin” and breastfeeding expert at The Baby Show.

“Boobs are actually a very good sieve and so are very effective at taking the bad stuff out,” she explains. “So whatever you eat or drink does not have a huge impact on the baby and women shouldn’t feel too restrained.”

When it comes to caffeine Fitz-Desorgher says one or two cups of coffee a day is absolutely fine, which corresponds with the NHS recommendation that breastfeeding women restrict their caffeine intake to less than 200mg a day.

“However, what I would say is that it’s important to eat and drink healthily when you are a new mum for your own physical and mental health so do follow the NHS guidelines but don’t be afraid to have what you want to eat and drink as a breastfeeding mum.”

How much coffee is it safe for breastfeeding mums to have? [Photo: Getty]
How much coffee is it safe for breastfeeding mums to have? [Photo: Getty]

READ MORE: Dad reveals his five tips for fathers to help share the load with breastfeeding mums

Of course, every baby is different and some babies might be more sensitive to caffeine and according to the NHS as caffeine is a stimulant it can make babies restless.

Nevertheless, Fitz-Desorgher says breastfeeding mums should cut themselves some slack when it comes to the food and drinks they are consuming.

“All babies are erratic and most mums often blame themselves for eating or drinking the wrong thing when in actual fact it is just very normal for babies to be unsettled and cry a lot (especially in the evenings) and to need lots of love and attention,” she says.

“It is also difficult to control a baby’s routine and so, whatever the mum eats or drinks, it is likely that your young baby will be unsettled for many hours each day.”

If you’re still concerned about the impact caffeine could have on your baby, lactation consultant Vanessa Christie explains that caffeine levels are at their peak in breast milk around 1-2 hours after you have your coffee and are still only tiny compared to that in the mother's blood circulation.

“In spite of this, caffeine takes at least 2–3 days to clear out of a newborn's system, compared with only a few hours for a 6 month old, so it is possible for some new babies to be sensitive to caffeine building up in their bodies,” she adds.

“It is thought that having around 200mg of caffeine in 24 hours is a reasonable limit. This equates to roughly two mugs of tea or coffee (instant or filter) or around five cans of Diet Coke per day (not that I'm suggesting that's a great idea!).”

According to Christie signs of caffeine-related stimulation in a baby include increased wakefulness or fussiness.

“If you think this may be going on, it may well be worth ditching or minimising caffeine for a few days to see if this makes any difference," she adds.

The bottom line? Experts agree that breastfeeding mums shouldn't feel bad about having a second cup of joe.

“If you love that morning cup of coffee to get you going, don’t hold yourself back,” Fitz-Desorgher adds.

“Behave as normally as possible as you did before your baby arrived to keep yourself fit and healthy and your baby will follow suit.”