Is It Safe To Have Energy Drinks When Breastfeeding?

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Energy drinks are caffeinated beverages marketed as wonder products that increase stamina, boost concentration, and combat muscle fatigue (1). Since these claims are enticing, you may be tempted to consume energy drinks when breastfeeding to fight lethargy. However, you should understand the ingredients of these drinks before making a choice.

Since drinks aren’t healthy, regular consumption may affect you and your baby. Hence, pausing and contemplating your choices before reaching for an energy drink is worthwhile if your baby is still breastfeeding.

Keep reading to learn more about whether energy drinks are safe for nursing mothers, their ingredients, and better alternatives.

What Is An Energy Drink?

Energy drinks provides instant energy and stimulation

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An energy drink is a beverage that is rich in caffeine and sugar. As per the ad blitzkrieg, the drink provides instant energy and stimulation. It may be carbonated or non-carbonated. Some energy drinks contain herbal extracts as well as amino acids (2).

Is It Safe To Have Energy Drinks While Breastfeeding?

The International Sport Society recognized that the ingredients in energy drinks need further studies to establish their safety (3). A few studies also have shown that some of the ingredients used in energy drinks could have some side effects. These ingredients may make energy drinks unsuitable and unsafe for a nursing baby and the mother. However, having an energy drink occasionally and in moderation, may not be harmful to you or your baby.

Read on to know more about the ingredients used to make these energy drinks.

Ingredients Present In Energy Drinks

1. Caffeine

Avoid drinking energy drinks when breastfeeding due to presence of caffeine

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Caffeine is a stimulant and an ergogenic compound that raises the heart rate and blood pressure (4). The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a maximum daily intake of 300mg of caffeine for a breastfeeding mother (5). An energy drink usually contains 80-150mg of caffeine per eight ounces, which is equivalent to five ounces or approximately 140 grams of coffee (1).

If you are having coffee or any other caffeine-containing drinks, and also consuming an energy drink, you might be crossing the maximum threshold of caffeine intake.

Research suggests that if a baby is caffeine sensitive, consumption of a higher quantity of caffeine might cause fussiness, irritability, and inability to settle in the baby. This might lead to poor feedings, as well (6). Hence, it is wise to avoid large doses of caffeine while breastfeeding.

Caffeine Content In A Few Energy Drinks

DRINKServing Size (Oz.)Caffeine content (mg)
Red Bull8.480
Monster Energy Drink16160
5-Hour Energy2200
Mountain Dew Kick Start1690
NOS Energy Drink16160
Rockstar Energy Drink16160
V8 Fusion Energy Drink880
Starbucks Tripleshot Energy15225
Starbucks Refresher, Can1250

Source: Center For Science In The Public Interest (7)

2. Other Ingredients

A few other ingredients present in energy drinks may also pose problems when the beverages are consumed excessively. The ingredients are to consider are:

  • Sugars are the second most common ingredient in energy drinks. High-fructose corn syrup or sucrose acts as the main source of energy in these drinks. Long-term exposure to these sugars is associated with insulin resistance and obesity in the consumer. Also, fructose might pass into breastmilk (8).

    High amount of sugar is present in energy drinks

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  • Taurine, a sulfur-containing essential amino acid, is produced by humans. It is added to energy drinks to enhance the effects of caffeine (9). Breastmilk has high amounts of taurine, and its supplementation is not required for breastfed babies (10). The effects of taurine ingestion on babies, via energy drinks, are not well-documented.
  • Herbs like ginseng and ginkgo biloba are found in some of the energy drinks. Both these herbs are generally regarded as safe (GRAS) for consumption. However, their safety and efficacy while breastfeeding are unknown (11) (12).

Apart from these, energy drinks also contain a few other ingredients such as guarana, l-Carnitine, and antioxidants. The efficacy and safety of these ingredients during lactation are debatable. Moreover, the FDA does not warrant manufacturers to label the quantity of most of the ingredients in energy drinks. The only requirement stated is to list them as an ingredient.

Since the side-effects of these ingredients are not known, it is wise to consult your doctor if you are keen on having an energy drink while you are breastfeeding. If your doctor approves it, limit the intake to 16oz a day.

Alternatives To Energy Drinks

As the safety and efficacy of energy drink consumption during lactation stand questionable, it is suggested that lactating mothers consider these safer alternatives.

  1. Go for a cup of coffee (not more than two cups a day) or tea. Small amounts of caffeine in them can boost your energy without harming your baby. This way, you can cut down on many herbal ingredients and loads of added sugars in energy drinks. Remember to limit your caffeine intake to 300mg a day.

    Drink not more than two cups a day when breastfeeding

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Note: Even this little amount of caffeine can be too much for some infants. Just observe your baby and go as per his reaction.

  1. Try healthy and natural juices and soups with a well-balanced meal. They could help in keeping your energy quotient high, prevent dehydration, and boost your immunity. Follow a balanced diet, drink water, and get some sunlight to rejuvenate your body.
  1. Power naps could help in fighting weakness and gaining extra energy.
  1. Try and follow an exercise routine after consulting your doctor to build your stamina gradually.

    Follow an exercise routine

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You may use Ayurvedic medicine for kids as a natural treatment for different health conditions and overall growth and development. However, similar to most therapies and medicines, it should be considered only after consulting an Ayurveda expert to avoid adverse reactions, such as allergies or toxic reactions. By analyzing the child’s body constitution, and condition, the expert will recommend the right medicine and some lifestyle changes for effective treatment.


MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
1. Ahmed Abdulrahman Alsunni; Energy Drink Consumption: Beneficial and Adverse Health Effects; National Center For Biotechnology Information (2015)
2. Waguih William Ishak et al.; Energy Drinks (Psychological Effects and Impact on Well-being and Quality of Life—A Literature Review); National Center For Biotechnology Information (2012)
3. Nahla Khamis Ibrahim and Rahila Iftikhar; Energy drinks: Getting wings but at what health cost?; National Center For Biotechnology Information (2014)
4. John P. Higgins et al.; Energy Beverages: Content and Safety; National Center For Biotechnology Information (2010)
5. Maternal Diet; Centers For Disease Control And Prevention (2019)
6. Breastfeeding and caffeine intake; Michigan State University
7. Caffeine Chart; Center for Science in the Public Interest
8. Michael I. Goran et al.; Fructose in Breast Milk Is Positively Associated with Infant Body Composition at 6 Months of Age; National Center For Biotechnology Information (2017)
9. Energy Drinks; Minnesota Department of Health
10. Taurine; Health Encyclopedia; University of Rochester
11. Ginseng; Drugs and Lactation Database; National Center For Biotechnology Information (2018)
12. Jean-Jacques Dugoua et al.; Safety and efficacy of Ginkgo (Ginkgo Biloba) during pregnancy and lactation; Research Gate (2006)
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Swati Patwal

Swati Patwal is a clinical nutritionist, a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) and a toddler mom with over eight years of experience in diverse fields of nutrition. She started her career as a CSR project coordinator for a healthy eating and active lifestyle project catering to school children. Then she worked as a nutrition faculty and clinical nutrition coach in different...
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Joanne Aubrey

Joanne Aubrey is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), nurse, and a proud mom to three children. She is a member of the International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA) and Lactation Consultants of Great Britain (LCGB). Aubrey works internationally, supporting women to achieve their breastfeeding goals. With five years of experience, she specializes in maternal and infant health and lactation....
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