Energy drinks give you instant energy. They are tasty too. But they may not be healthy, which is why you avoid them during pregnancy. If you love them, then you might want to drink them as soon as possible after your delivery.
However, it is now the breastfeeding phase, and you need to be as careful as you were during pregnancy. So, if you are wondering if it is safe to take energy drinks while breastfeeding, we have the answer. Also, MomJunction tells you what constitute the energy drinks and if you can have any alternatives to them.
What Is An Energy Drink?
An energy drink is a beverage that is rich in caffeine and sugar content. 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.
Most brands promise that the energy drinks can work wonders to increase your stamina and physical performance, improve mental processing and concentration and fight muscle fatigue. Despite the tall claims, research is yet to ascertain the health benefits of consuming these energy drinks that flood the market globally.
Is It Safe To Have Energy Drinks While Breastfeeding?
The ingredients used in the energy drinks can lead to many side effects, making them unsuitable and unsafe for a nursing baby and the mother. A few reasons are listed below.
Ingredients Present In Energy Drinks:
The question on the safety of energy drinks majorly arises due to the presence of caffeine in it. One ingredient that is common in all the energy drinks like Red Bull, Monster drinks, and others is caffeine. Its usage in these drinks is not regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration. In fact, most energy drinks have more than double the caffeine content present in Coke!
Some popular brands also contain additives such as Guarana, which has four times the amount of caffeine than coffee beans. Various energy drinks have repeatedly been pulled off the market as they have high caffeine and sugar contents. Health experts strongly feel that energy drinks that uniquely claim to boost your alertness and physical performance should come with a special caffeine content label.
What does caffeine do?
Caffeine consumed by a nursing mother can enter the breast milk and pass on to the baby. An infant can receive 0.06 to 1.5% of caffeine consumed by the mother, through the breast milk. The caffeine has a long half-life in infants compared to older babies, and thus, takes more time to clear out, meanwhile triggering reactions.
The half-life of caffeine is 120 hours in a newborn and gradually decreases to 14 hours by the time the baby reaches three to five months of age. So, large doses of maternal consumption lead to its accumulation in the baby’s body, causing caffeine stimulation.
Caffeine Content In A Few Energy Drinks
|Monster Energy Drink||10|
|5 Hour Energy||100|
|Spark Energy Drink||15|
|NOS Energy Drink||10|
|Rockstar Energy Drink||10|
|V8 Fusion Energy Drink||10|
|V Energy Drink||9.2|
Moderate consumption of caffeine is considered safe for most breastfeeding mothers and nursing infants. But in infants, who are very sensitive to caffeine, it could cause fussiness, irritability and inability to settle.
Even though caffeine is used to treat neonatal apnea in preterm infants, they are closely monitored for adverse effects.
2. Other Ingredients
Other ingredients can also pose problems when you take energy drinks when breastfeeding.
For instance, a herb named ginseng is believed to enhance endurance and interfere with the normal estrogen activity. According to Drugs.com, ginseng is not recommended for breastfeeding moms due to lack of evidence on its safety. Monster energy drink while breastfeeding is not advised as it has high contents of ginseng.
The US FDA has not levied any regulations on another ingredient taurine, an amino acid that may be present in the energy drinks. A high taurine amount needs to be avoided while breastfeeding. The popular energy drink Red Bull has a high amount of taurine.
There is no regulation on a few others too. Certain popular energy drinks, such as the 5-hour energy drink, have a high amount of vitamin B6. Taking more than 50 milligrams B6 each day is not recommended.
As a matter of fact, the information related to many ingredients included in most energy drinks is just not revealed, making them unsafe to have during breastfeeding!
Seek your doctor’s advice if you are keen on including any energy drink in your breastfeeding diet. If your doctor approves it, limit the intake to 16-ounce a day.
[ Read: Coconut Water While Breastfeeding ]
Alternatives To Energy Drinks
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 little one. This way you can cut down on many herbal ingredients and loads of added sugars in the energy drinks. Remember to limit your caffeine intake to 300mg a day.
Note: Even this little amount of caffeine can be too much for some infants. Just observe your baby and go as per his reaction.
Instead of having energy drinks like red bull while breastfeeding, try healthy and natural juices and soups. They help in keeping your energy quotient high, prevent dehydration, and boost your immunity. Also, make sure that you eat a healthy and balanced diet. Get some sunlight; the rays can rejuvenate your body.
[ Read: Is Green Tea Safe While Breastfeeding ]
Power naps are an excellent idea to escape weakness and gain extra energy. Try and follow an exercise routine after consulting your doctor to build your stamina gradually.
How did you maintain your energy while breastfeeding? Share your experience in the comments section below.
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