For a sleep-deprived mom that has to do various and demanding chores the rest of the day, coffee could easily be your quickest remedy. Besides the need to ward off drowsiness while you keep things clean and organized for the baby, you could simply be just longing for that quick sip that could keep you going like an Energizer bunny.
However, if you are still breastfeeding and have noticed your baby’s seeming restlessness at night, your caffeine addiction may just be the culprit. More importantly, caffeine is gained not just from your coffee intake. Sodas, teas, chocolates, and energy drinks contain caffeine in different amounts. If you happen to like coffee and chocolates while your baby still depends on your milk for nourishment, you might want to step back and evaluate things.
Caffeine Safe Limits: Determine Your Safe Daily Dose
When it comes to figuring things out, start at the bare essentials of the whole issue, which is knowing specifically the caffeine content of what you are eating or drinking. It is best to make an effort in noting the foods and drinks you consumed during the day and their caffeine content. Based on a scientific study, instant coffee contains 90mg and can extend all the way to 240mg if it is brewed. Energy drinks hover around 80mg, colas at 40mg, tea at 30mg, and milk at 20mg. A closer look at a specific product will give you correct caffeine amount.
The common belief is that a breastfeeding mom can have caffeine in her system between 300 to 600 mg. If you consider the approximate numbers of caffeine content, it does not take much for you to go beyond the suggested limit.
How Long Does the Caffeine from Coffee Stay in Your System?
Knowing the caffeine measurements in your food and drinks is one thing and is a huge help with the evaluation process. How long does the caffeine stay in your system for it to affect your baby is also another very important factor. As you might have already guessed, the younger the baby is, the longer it takes for him or her not to be affected by the coffee in your system.
A newborn baby normally needs around 65 to 130 hours before he or she can drink milk without getting affected by caffeine. Within 3 to 5 months, it goes down to about 14 hours. By the time the 4th month rolls, it would be whittled down to around 3 to 7 hours.
Based on this information, you can have a good plan of how much time you have before the caffeinated foods and drinks affects your baby’s sleeping pattern. The good thing with this information is the baby’s increasing tolerance to caffeine as he or she ages. In a little over 9 months, caffeine may no longer be able to affect his or her nighttime rests.
Is Your Baby Sensitive?
The above information is needed to help you with the next step. In order to conclude that your baby is sensitive to caffeine, you simply have to make some drastic actions. Yes, it means having to eliminate caffeine from your foods and drinks. If this is just too much for you, you can settle for at least half of what you normally consume during the day. As you can see, when you settle for the compromise, you clearly must be diligent enough to write down your caffeine consumption.
For the plan to really work, you have to do this for three days. Otherwise, you could just end up guessing, which would defeat the plan in the first place. If you can see changes after three days, then you should know it is about time you kick caffeine out of your system or lower even more the half a day caffeine consumption. Obviously, it will work better if you just remove it out of your system.
The Vicious Cycle
There is very real danger when you rely on caffeine to keep you awake for you to do your multiple tasks. The more you use caffeine for survival, the harder it is for the baby to sleep. It goes to form a vicious cycle with both you and your baby suffering.
Caffeine addiction might be very hard to do away with, but a restless baby is an irritated baby. If you know babies, you do know just how crazy things can be when a baby is stressed out for lack of sleeping. Besides, days and days of little or no sleep is just pure hell. You might as well try the Navy’s Hell Week to weed out hopefuls. How long do you think you have before your body gives up? For your health and sanity, eliminate caffeine from your system as long as you are still breastfeeding.
Is Caffeine Affecting Your Baby’s Sleep?
All the facts point out to a very solid possibility that caffeine addiction does indeed affect your baby’s sleep. The possible contention stems from the fact that babies have varied tolerance to caffeine. But, for moms who have had issues about their babies sleeping, they have noticed substantial changes in their babies’ sleeping patterns once caffeine was removed or at least consumed at half the usual amount.
If your dependence to caffeine is really strong, think about your current situation of restless days and nights both for you and the baby. By now, there is a very real possibility that you are firmly entrenched in that vicious cycle, which is really not good for you and the baby. Why not give the suggested plans a try since they can be very helpful to you in the long run.
Think about those cozy nights of sleep for everyone to keep you motivated. Think about how much energy you have the next day and how “normal” your baby is. It may really be difficult, but your caffeine diet will not last you for more than a few months. Don’t you think you and your baby deserve it?
Lastly, if a night’s cozy sleep and a less irritable baby are not reasons enough, think about the beauty rests you can get. You do know the reasons why zombies look exactly the way they are. Truth be told, it’s not for some virus or something. It is from lack of sleep!