Mothers-to-be know very well that smoking and drinking should be avoided at all costs while pregnant. It is also known that living a healthy lifestyle and eating healthful foods is extremely important during pregnancy, but how significant is diet and lifestyle after the baby is born? The significance of what mothers ingest while breastfeeding may be clearly revealed by breast feeding expert Dr. Ruth Lawrence, who says drinking caffeinated beverages may be the reason babies can’t sleep.
Substances Consumed by Mother Appear in Breast Milk
Mother’s milk contains small amounts of whatever is ingested by the mother. Drinking coffee, tea, soft drinks, or even chocolate increases the level of the stimulant in the blood. When babies drink the milk, they may become restless, awake, or irritable due to difficulties with breaking the chemical down and removing it from their bodies. Although the ‘safe’ amount of caffeine consumed is not necessarily agreed upon, Lawrence recommends no more than 300mg, or 3 cups, daily.
“Usually a mother, particularly if she is breastfeeding, is cautioned to limit her caffeine intake,” she told the Journal of Caffeine Research. “Unfortunately a lot of things about breastfeeding are based on opinion, and I do not know that the ‘safe’ amount of caffeine for daily use has been carefully measured.”
While passing down stimulants like caffeine in breast milk is an issue, unfortunately there are larger threats which should be recognized.
Found to be present in over a third of 55 popular brand-name food and beverage products, research has shown that those consuming processed foods and many beverages are also consuming mercury. Similarly, another heavy metal, arsenic, resides in many apple juice brands, grape juice, and products containing organic brown rice syrup. Breastfeeding mothers consuming these foods and beverages are risking their new-born also ingesting these toxic substances. The negative effects, however, are much greater.
It is important for mother’s to recognize that being health-conscious is important both during pregnancy and following pregnancy. By consuming processed foods, tap water, alcohol, or any other substance, new mothers are also risking these substances coming out in their breast milk.