It’s not advised for breastfeeding moms to drink Redbull regularly. It’s important to note that there’s no requirement or mandate to stipulate the exact amount of caffeine in an energy drink. This means that you might intake more caffeine than you thought. Large amounts of caffeine can lead to serious health issues like heart and blood vessel problems, increased heart rate, and increased blood pressure. Caffeine can also harm the still-developing cardiovascular and nervous systems in children.
For the most part, an energy drink is a quick-fix solution to help you deal with tiredness and fatigue. They are indeed a wonder drink that keeps you alert and energized.
But should breastfeeding mothers consider energy drinks as an option to replenish spent energy from being awake for long periods of time?
Mothering your baby in the first year can be taxing on the quality of sleep you get, which often brings on fatigue.
Without help from your partner or caregiver, you’ll most likely not get that much-needed rest you desperately need, and an energy drink will seem like your only way out.
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What’s in an energy drink?
Energy drinks are loaded with caffeine, sugar, and other chemicals that boost energy levels, mental alertness, and physical performance.
The main ingredient in energy drinks is caffeine, and the different types of energy drinks contain different quantities of caffeine.
An important point to consider is that some energy drinks are marketed as beverages while others are marketed as dietary supplements.
Adding to this point is the fact that there is no requirement or mandate to stipulate the exact amount of caffeine there is in an energy drink. As a result, some but not all energy drinks have this important detail printed on the label.
According to scientific studies, these “solution-solving” energy drinks can have a negative impact on all people and not just breastfeeding mothers.
Large amounts of caffeine can lead to serious health issues like heart and blood vessel problems, increased heart rate, and increased blood pressure.
Caffeine can also harm the still-developing cardiovascular and nervous systems in children.
Energy drink ingredients
Energy drinks are made with different ingredients, so the list below is a generalized list that covers the more common ingredients found in energy drinks:
- Caffeine: the main ingredient in all energy drinks.
- Taurine: levels in energy drinks are very low and considered safe.
- Sugar: A high amount of sugar is used in most energy drinks; too much sugar during pregnancy and early motherhood can lower your baby’s cognitive ability. Some energy drinks use artificial sweeteners, which are considered safe.
- Ginseng: Said to improve concentration and reaction time, but studies are ongoing. The FDA consider Ginseng safe but are no real benefits for lactation, so it’s best to avoid large amounts during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.
- Guarana: Contains small amounts of caffeine and is not considered harmful. Avoid large amounts while breastfeeding.
- B vitamins: B2, B3 and B12. There are no added benefits or risks while breastfeeding, but if you are taking preterm Vitamin B supplements, it’s best to consult your doctor for advice.
- Creatine: Although found naturally in breast milk, most health professionals advise against taking creatine supplements during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Most ingredients in energy drinks are in very small quantize and limiting your intake to one drink a day while breastfeeding falls within the safe consumption guidelines. However, it is still advisable to know what’s in the energy drink you’re drinking.
Caffeine and breast milk
As a breastfeeding mom, everything you eat and drink contributes to producing breast milk, and you have to be very mindful of your diet during your breastfeeding period.
An occasional energy drink might not be harmful to you or your baby. Still, regular intake comes with side effects that will leave you wondering about the benefits of energy drinks.
Caffeine and sugar transferred to your baby through your breast milk may cause increased fussiness, keep your baby awake, and may increase their heart rate.
The main issue with energy drinks is caffeine, yet only about 1% of what you consume will transfer to your baby through your breast milk. But this relatively small quantity of caffeine can still affect your baby because, unlike adults, babies take much longer to process caffeine through their system.
It takes about 3 to 7 hours for an adult, but newborn babies take anywhere between 65 and 130 hours to eliminate caffeine from their system. The big difference is because newborn babies are still developing their kidneys and liver.
Waiting for about 4 hours after you’ve had an energy drink before breastfeeding is considered safe, but this depends on the caffeine concentrate of the energy drink.
For peace of mind waiting a little longer won’t hurt, but you don’t want to let your baby go hungry either.
The whole idea about drinking an energy drink is to boost your energy level so you can take care of your baby, but this energy drink shortcut has repercussions. Your little one will become cranky because they will want to sleep but can’t.
This leads to overtiredness, and we all know that an overtired baby is not a happy baby. You will spend more energy looking after an unhappy baby, and before you know it, you will be crying out for help yourself.
Tips on how to juggle energy drinks and breastfeeding
What you have just read may sound scary but let’s face it, too much of anything can lead to a lot of unnecessary problems.
Having said this, drinking an occasional Redbull at times when you need a bit of extra energy can be helpful.
Here are few scenarios where a Redbull will be your saving grace:
- If your little one is sick and you have been up for hours nursing and monitoring your baby’s temperature, you will either want to fall asleep or do something to stay awake. When a baby is sick, any mom will not want to sleep because no matter how tired you are, the anxiety at that time won’t allow you to rest peacefully. Drinking a Redbull will give you that extra alertness you need, but the timing is important to minimize the carryover of caffeine to your breastmilk. Your baby will not be feeding well, and you may need to express milk to keep up with demand. But before you enjoy your energy drink, express milk so you can still feed your baby with “uncontaminated” milk. Don’t breastfeed for at least 4 to 6 hours after you have an energy drink.
- When your situation requires you to be alert and wide awake, like driving long distances with your baby. Express milk or use formula for your baby. The same timing rule will apply if you are solely breastfeeding. Don’t rely on an energy drink to keep you alert while driving long distances. Each person reacts differently to stimulants, so if you are tired, rather stop and rest for a while.
- Mothers who breastfeed and give their little one’s formula may have it easier and can comfortably apply the timing rule. However, you still have to monitor your breastmilk supply and demand. To keep this in check, you can drink a Redbull if the next feed is a formula feed and express a little while after that, but you must discard that breastmilk as it will have traces of caffeine in it. After the recommended waiting period of 4 to 6 hours has passed, you can once again safely breastfeed or express milk for your little one without worry.
Life is filled with unexpected events and having an energy drink once in a while to help you cope is not a train smash. Sometimes a mom just needs that little extra to get through a situation.
What alternative can I take for energy while breastfeeding?
You can drink coffee that contains much less caffeine. Still, the best is to get enough sunlight and drink more water as the combination of hydration and Vitamin D increases energy levels naturally.
How much caffeine can I have in a day while breastfeeding?
The suggested daily limit is less than 300 mg per day, but you should wait at least 4 hours for the caffeine to clear your breast milk before you breastfeed your little one.
How much caffeine is in a can of Redbull?
A 250 ml can of Redbull contains 80mg of caffeine. This is on the low end compared to other energy drink brands and within the daily recommended intake limit. Refer to this article for more details on caffeine and breastfeeding.
Health professionals constantly remind us of how great breastmilk is for the growth and development of babies. They also warn us about our diet and advise us to eat healthily.
They warn us about the dangers of smoking, alcohol, drug dependency, and even caffeine. They’re right on all counts.
There are times that the same health professionals will suggest drinking a cup of coffee or even an energy drink to cope with a pressing situation. However, when they do this, their advice goes a bit further, and they will insist on timing, daily consumption, and the dangers of too much caffeine, all discussed above.
The overall consensus is that breastfeeding moms can enjoy a Redbull from time to time, or perhaps a cup of coffee if you’re a coffee lover.
No harm will come to your little one as long as your timing is right and you stay below the suggested daily minimum intake of 300mg. If you are unsure about anything, speak to your doctor to get clarity.