Are Energy Drinks safe during Breastfeeding?
Breastfeeding women may experience disrupted sleep schedules and be tempted to turn to popular energy drinks to reduce fatigue and enhance alertness, prompting the question: What are the maternal and child health implications for breastfeeding mothers consuming energy drinks?
The high caffeine content in these drinks can be a concern for breastfed infants.
Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant and the most commonly ingested substance in the world. It is found in coffee, tea, chocolate, energy drinks, candy, bottled water, pharmaceuticals, and even food items. Though generally recognized as safe, caffeine consumption beyond moderate levels-about two cups per day-can pose safety concerns for infants. The relative infant dose for caffeine is 6% and anything less than 10% of the maternal dose is probably safe. The time interval from the administration of caffeine until it reaches the highest level in the mother’s plasma for caffeine is 60 to 120 minutes.
Ingredients Present In Energy Drinks:
The question on the safety of energy drinks majorly arises due to the presence of caffeine in it. One ingredient that is common in all the energy drinks like Red Bull, Monster drinks, and others is caffeine. In fact, most energy drinks have more than double the caffeine content present in Coke!
Some popular brands also contain additives such as Guarana, which has four times the amount of caffeine than coffee beans. Various energy drinks have repeatedly been pulled off the market as they have high caffeine and sugar contents. Health experts strongly feel that energy drinks that uniquely claim to boost your alertness and physical performance should come with a special caffeine content label.
Moderate consumption of caffeine is considered safe for most breastfeeding mothers and nursing infants. But in infants, who are very sensitive to caffeine, it could cause fussiness, irritability, and inability to settle.
Even though caffeine is used to treat neonatal apnea in preterm infants, they are closely monitored for adverse effects.
2. Other Ingredients
Other ingredients can also pose problems when you take energy drinks when breastfeeding.
For instance, a herb named ginseng is believed to enhance endurance and interfere with the normal estrogen activity. According to Drugs.com, ginseng is not recommended for breastfeeding moms due to lack of evidence on its safety. Monster energy drink while breastfeeding is not advised as it has high contents of ginseng.
There are no regulations on another ingredient taurine, an amino acid that may be present in the energy drinks. A high taurine amount needs to be avoided while breastfeeding. The popular energy drink Red Bull has a high amount of taurine.
There is no regulation on a few others too. Certain popular energy drinks, such as the 5-hour energy drink, have a high amount of vitamin B6. Taking more than 50 milligrams B6 each day is not recommended.
As a matter of fact, the information related to many ingredients included in most energy drinks is just not revealed, making them unsafe to have during breastfeeding!
Age Makes a Difference
The effects of caffeine are influenced by the age of your nursing infant. Very young babies cannot metabolize caffeine the way older children and adults do. For example, it takes four days for caffeine intake to be reduced by half in a baby less than 1-month-old, and then another four days for it to be reduced by half again. This means that if you have large doses of caffeine every day, a baby less than a month old will accumulate that caffeine in her body and will be more susceptible to the potentially harmful effects. When your baby is 6 months old, however, caffeine in their system will be reduced by half in as little as a couple of hours.
Alternatives for Energy drinks
Talk to your doctor about alternate ways to boost your energy. A cup of plain coffee or tea doesn’t contain any herbal ingredients, but you’ll still get a small amount of caffeine for energy. Plain coffee and tea also don’t contain added sugar, found in most Monster energy drinks; that extra sugar isn’t good for you whether you’re breastfeeding or not. Instead of having energy drinks like a red bull while breastfeeding, try healthy and natural juices and soups. They help in keeping your energy quotient high, prevent dehydration, and boost your immunity.
Things to remember
* Energy beverages (i.e., drinks and shots) are not recommended for children, pregnant, or nursing women and persons sensitive to caffeine.
* Severe fatigue and sleep problems are most prevalent during the weeks following childbirth; however, these problems are sometimes overlooked.
* Encourage breastfeeding women to read product labels for ingredient content, and serving size; explain adverse side effects.
* Discourage consumption of energy drinks when taking vitamins, to avoid potential vitamin toxicity; discourage use in combination with alcohol or other medications.
* Lactating women should limit caffeine consumption to <300 mg/day.
* A typical energy beverage contains 70-200 mg of caffeine per serving; however, some products contain more than one serving.
* Caffeine is being increasingly added to a variety of foods and beverages, making it challenging to determine actual caffeine exposure.
* Lactating women should be cautioned that there is limited evidence to support the use of herbal products and dietary supplements during breastfeeding.
Seek your doctor’s advice if you are keen on including any energy drink in your breastfeeding diet. If your doctor approves it, limit the intake to 16-ounce a day.
Try and follow an exercise routine after consulting your doctor to build your stamina gradually.