Is It Safe To Drink Energy Drinks While Breastfeeding?

Having an infant can be nothing short of exhausting. Between nighttime feedings and fitful naps, the fatigue of caring for a baby might make you reach for something like an energy drink to keep you going — but if you're breastfeeding, is an energy drink a safe option?

Breast milk is the perfect blend of nutrients with just the right amount of fat, sugar, protein, water, and minerals to help your baby develop and grow (via American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists). The nutritional profile of breast milk changes as a baby's nutritional demands evolve. It contains antibodies that help protect babies from things like infections and other illnesses. A mother needs 450-500 extra calories per day while breastfeeding, along with plenty of extra fluids to make enough milk. There are some foods that should be avoided, however, like fish with high levels of mercury. Some drinks, like alcohol and those that contain caffeine, should be consumed in moderation and with special care.

Timing is everything while breastfeeding

Energy drinks are full of caffeine, but you can still enjoy them safely while breastfeeding, according to UpSpring. The key is in timing. If you're going to have an energy drink, the best time to do so is right after breastfeeding to maximize your chances of the caffeine leaving your system by the next feeding. Caffeine stays in an adult's system for about three to seven hours, but infants take much longer to eliminate it — anywhere from 65 to 130 hours due to their kidneys and liver not being fully developed yet. Because infants are more sensitive to caffeine, it's best to consume drinks that have less than 100mg. For reference, a Monster Energy Drink has about 92mg of caffeine.

Energy drinks have other ingredients to take into consideration, too. They usually have a huge amount of sugar, which research shows may lower a child's cognitive skills when high amounts are consumed during pregnancy and just after (via UpSpring). Energy drinks usually contain taurine, which is an amino sulfonic acid that we produce naturally and is thought to increase energy. While taurine supplements should be avoided during pregnancy, it doesn't pose any risk while breastfeeding. Energy drinks can also contain supplements like ginseng and guarana, which shouldn't be consumed in large quantities while breastfeeding.