When you are breastfeeding, you may want to eat a lot of things, with chocolate being no exception. You can indulge yourself as long as your baby does not turn colic (1) or has trouble with her bowel movements.
If you have a craving for chocolate, have it in limit. But you may have to stop them if your baby begins to show some reaction. To understand why and how chocolate may affect your little one, let us begin with the components present in it.
Components Of Chocolate
- Chocolate hardly needs an introduction! It is typically a sweet, usually brown-flavored, food prepared from roasted and grounded Theobroma cacao seeds.
- Main ingredients of chocolate are chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, and added sugar.
- It contains carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals, water, caffeine, cholesterol, and theobromine.
Can You Eat Chocolate While Breastfeeding?
If the nursing baby shows no side effects or reaction to chocolate, then the mother can eat it in moderate amounts. Each baby is different, and no one food fits all. The one common criteria is that a nursing mom’s diet needs to be well-balanced and healthy (2).
If a nursing infant’s body reacts to chocolate then below are the signs of possible side effects:
- Gas formation
- Refusal to drink milk
If your baby shows any of these side effects, stop chocolate consumption temporarily and see if your baby recovers; else see a pediatrician.
Caffeine In Chocolate And Breastfeeding
- Chocolate may affect a nursing baby for many reasons but caffeine in it is believed to be the primary one.
- Consumption of too much chocolate means high caffeine intake, which tends to lower the breast milk production in nursing mothers (3).
- Less than 1% of caffeine that enters the mother’s bloodstream ends up in breast milk and would be at peak after an hour of consumption.
- A baby’s system takes longer time to clear caffeine and high intake by the mother could make babies irritable.
- Moreover, a breastfeeding mother may find caffeine affecting her let-down reflex or making nipple vasospasm worse, in case she has it (4).
[ Read : Caffeine While Breastfeeding ]
|Dark chocolate (70-85% cocoa solids)||1 oz||23 mg|
|Milk chocolate||1.55 oz||9 mg|
|Coffee ice cream or frozen yogurt||8 oz||2 mg|
|Hot cocoa||8 oz||8-12 mg|
|Chocolate chips, semisweet||4 oz||53 mg|
|Chocolate milk||8 oz||5-8 mg|
Why High Caffeine Intake Irritates Breastfeeding Baby?
Half-life is the time required for the concentration of a substance in the body to become half. The half-life of caffeine is high in infants (5), and makes it difficult for them to fall asleep.
Theobromine In Chocolate And Breastfeeding
Theobromine is not a cause of worry for the nursing baby if the mother eats normal amounts of chocolate. It has similar effects as caffeine on the infant. If the nursing mother consumes foods containing theobromine like cocoa powder, specific candy, koala nuts, and instant breakfast, the baby may turn extremely gassy after breastfeeding.
If a mother consumes over 750mg of caffeine and/or theobromine a day, then the nursing baby may become fussy, irritable, and have trouble falling asleep.
[ Read : Tips To Handle A Fussy Baby ]
Is Dark Chocolate Or White Chocolate Good During Breastfeeding?
Dark chocolate contains high caffeine content compared to white chocolate. It also contains a high percentage of cocoa solids and therefore high theobromine levels, while white chocolate has no cocoa solids or theobromine (6).
If you can’t say no to chocolate, shift to white chocolate, which has fewer potential side effects than dark chocolate, on the nursing baby.
Should Chocolate-Mixed Foods Also Be Avoided When Breastfeeding?
- Chocolate-mixed foods like chocolate cookies, chocolate ice creams, chocolate cakes, or chocolate almond milk can be taken by the breastfeeding mother if the baby is alright with these.
- A few babies may be intolerant to cow’s milk or show up egg allergies. If the mother consumes chocolate-mixed foods made of these allergic food items, the allergens may enter the breast milk and trouble your baby.
[ Read : Signs And Symptoms Of Egg Allergy In Babies ]
1. How Much Caffeine Can I Consume While Breastfeeding?
Every baby’s caffeine tolerance is different, and so you should adjust your intake based on your baby’s acceptance.
However, some doctors suggest that it is ideal to stop consuming caffeine while the digestive system of the baby is still developing.
2. Can I Take Chocolate Laxative While Breastfeeding?
A few medications like chocolate laxative pass into breastmilk but are unlikely to harm a nursing infant. However, it is advisable to consult your doctor before using them.
3. Can I Drink Hot Chocolate During Breastfeeding?
It is better to stay away from hot chocolate if your baby is becoming gassy. Or else you may have it in moderate amount to limit the caffeine intake.
Hope you have chocolates but with care! If you like to share any of your experiences, write them down here.
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