Green tea has been a favored beverage for centuries and has many reputed health benefits. You might wonder if you can safely drink green tea while breastfeeding. Well, the answer is not a simple yes or no. There are several factors to consider.
Green tea is created using the leaves from the Camellia sinensis plant. It is a low-calorie tea choice because one cup usually only contains one calorie. Green tea has been widely used in Indian and Chinese traditional medicine to treat a bevy of ailments.
It is believed to be a strong diuretic, astringent, and improves your health dramatically when regularly consumed. Many people also believe that it helps individuals lose weight.
Avoiding Caffeine During Pregnancy
It is recommended by most physicians that breastfeeding women avoid consuming caffeine. Unfortunately, green tea contains caffeine. It does not contain as much as a cup of coffee but it does have levels that are generally not acceptable for a breastfeeding woman. One 8-ounce glass of green tea has about 24 to 45 mg of caffeine, coffee contains 95 to 200 mg.
How Much Caffeine is Too Much?
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) states approximately one percent of all caffeine consumed reaches a woman’s breastmilk. Consuming three or fewer cups of green tea per day will probably have no adverse effects on your baby. Most physicians recommend that breastfeeding women consume no more than 300 mg of caffeine per day.
What Happens if you Consume Too Much Caffeine?
If you consume more than five cups per day your infant may start to become fussy and agitated from the caffeine spike in the breast milk. However, everyone is unique. Some individuals may have a higher tolerance for caffeine than others.
Green Tea is a Mild Diuretic
Most people notice that after they drink a cup of green tea they immediately have to urinate. This is because green tea is a mild diuretic. Additional consumption or combining green tea with other caffeine-containing substances can cause dehydration which will lower your body’s breastmilk production.
It is very important that all breastfeeding mothers avoid dehydration and make sure that they consume plenty of fluids. Ideally, all breastfeeding women should consume 2.5 to 3 liters of liquid per day. If you opt to consume a bit of green tea during the day then you should also make sure you drink other types of fluid to maintain your hydration levels.
Green Tea and Iron Absorption in Infants
Green tea contains tannins. The tannins within the tea have been found to block the absorption of iron, according to studies done by researchers at the Section of Hematology and Oncology, Department of Medicine, Ministry of Health and Welfare Changhua Hospital, Chang‐Hua County in Taiwan.
In Japan, it is widely believed by the medical community that if a mother drinks green tea while pregnant or breastfeeding then she should take an iron supplement. The green tea may also make the absorption of B12 difficult so taking a B Complex may also be beneficial.
Green Tea Alternatives
If you are a green tea lover and you are tired of water then there are no and low caffeine tea options. You can purchase decaf green tea that is just as yummy as regular caffeine filled teas.
Here are several teas to consider as a safe alternative to green tea.
- Chamomile tea
- Ginger tea
- peppermint tea
- Dandelion tea
- Rose hips tea
- White Tea
Figuring out Your Daily Caffeine
Green tea gives you a bit of an energy boost, it is a powerful antioxidant, and may even help you lose the baby pounds that you packed on during pregnancy. If you decide to drink a cup or two per day then you need to remember that other things also contain caffeine so you will need to factor that into your dietary plan. Items such as chocolate, soda, and coffee all contain caffeine.
Pumping Breast Milk
If you should overindulge in caffeine-laced green tea or other beverages then you can always pump your breast milk for 24 hours and simply not feed it to your infant. This will rid your body of the caffeine so you can then resume breastfeeding as a clean slate.
What the Experts Say
“Caffeine can stay in your system for five to 20 hours. If you are taking medications, have higher body fat, or other medical problems, it may stick around longer.In general, you can drink one to three cups of green tea a day and not have any harmful effects on your newborn It’s recommended not to consume more than 300 mg of caffeine a day if you’re breastfeeding.”
Dr. Sherry Ross, OB-GYN and women’s health expert at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California
“Your milk supply is primarily dependent on your hydration status. Opt for water and herbal or decaf green tea. Don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink! By then, you are already 1 to 2 percent dehydrated. Keep a glass or insulated, non-plastic water bottle with you at all times, and sip frequently.”
Nutrition, fitness, and wellness coach Erin Macdonald, RDN
“Green tea is loaded with antioxidants and potential cancer-fighting compounds known as polyphenols. Some say that green tea can boost metabolism, but I’d don’t know that I’d rely on a steamy mug of the stuff to make pounds pour off.”
Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN, creator of BetterThanDieting.com and author of Read It Before You Eat It – Taking You from Label to Table.
Tea drinking is very popular nowadays. The store shelves and pre-made tea sections are bursting with green tea varieties. You should always consult with your physician prior to making the choice to drink green tea while breastfeeding.
When consumed in small quantities green tea appears to be safe but many women opt to consume absolutely no caffeine during pregnancy because of the possible dangers. You will need to weigh both the pros and cons before making the decision to hydrate yourself with green tea while breastfeeding.