Is caffeinated food allowed during breastfeeding?

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Yes, but in moderation. Caffeine passes into breast milk 1 to 3 hours after the mother has consumed it and it can accumulate in the child’s body.

However, it seems that the amount of caffeine found in breast milk is low and should not affect the child. Taken in moderation, caffeine is permitted in lactating women.

For pregnant women, Health Canada recommends a maximum consumption of 300 mg of caffeine per day. This recommendation also applies to breastfeeding women, since a moderate consumption of caffeine is equivalent to 2 cups of coffee per day, or 120 mg to 360 mg of caffeine depending on the type of coffee.

It is not certain that coffee consumption in the mother affects the sleep of her child. However, if you notice your child cries more, he is moody or has difficulty sleeping, stop caffeine intake and observe whether his condition improves.


Caffeine is found in coffee and tea (hot or iced), soft drinks, chocolate and even some medicine.

Food or beverage Portion Average caffeine amount (mg)
Percolator coffee 250 ml (1 cup) / 8 oz 103-200 (~ 118)
Filter coffee 250 ml (1 cup) / 8 oz 103-200 (~ 179)
Instant coffee 250 ml (1 cup) / 8 oz 27-173
Decaf coffee 250 ml (1 cup) / 8 oz 3-15
Regular mixed tea 250 ml (1 cup) / 8 oz 43
Green tea 250 ml (1 cup) / 8 oz 30
Tea (leaves or bags) 250 ml (1 cup) / 8 oz 50
Espresso coffee 30 ml / 1 oz 30-90
Regular soft drink (cola) 1 can (355ml/12 oz) 36-46
Sweetened iced tea 1 can (355 ml/12 oz) 15-67
Hot chocolate (1 pouch) 250 ml (1 cup) / 8 oz 5
Chocolate milk 250 ml (1 cup) / 8 oz 8
Milk chocolate 28 g/1 oz 7
Dark chocolate 28 g/1 oz 3-23

For more information on caffeine content of certain brand items, click here and here.

Theobromine, a substance that causes the same effects as caffeine, is also present in chocolate. It should therefore be consumed in moderation.

For coffee lovers who drink several cups a day, grain coffee (eg Caf-Lib or Postum) is an interesting alternative to coffee because it is made from chicory. It is a vegetable drink, natural, containing no coffee or caffeine. Grain coffee can be easily found in grocery stores.


Agence de la santé publique du Canada. (2014). Grossesse en santé : Caféine.

Guilbault, L. (2008). Formation de base en allaitement maternel.

Le Guennec, J.C., Billon, B. (1987). Delay in caffeine elimination in breast-fed infants. Pediatrics, 79(2), 264-268

Lowinson, J.H., Ruiz, P., Millman, R.B. et Langrod, J.G. (2005). Substance abuse: a comprehensive textbook (4e édition). Philadelphie: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Santé Canada. (2012). La caféine dans les aliments.

Santos, I.A., Matijasevich, A., Dominigues, M.R. (2012). Maternal caffeine consumption and infant nighttime waking: prospective cohort study. Pediatrics, 129(5), 860-868.


Baribeau, H. (2014). La caféine et ses effets néfastes sur la santé

Diététistes du Canada. (2013). Sources alimentaires de caféine.

Extenso. (2012). Quoi manger quand on allaite?

Ligue la lèche. (2009). L’alimentation durant l’allaitement.


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