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.

In This Article

What Is An Energy Drink?

Energy drinks provides instant energy and stimulation

Image: IStock

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?

Yes, you can consume energy drinks while breastfeeding. Read the label carefully and opt for energy drinks with less than 300 milligrams of caffeine. Excessive caffeine intake can negatively affect both you and your baby, so it’s important to be mindful of your consumption. It all comes down to moderation, just like drinking coffee while breastfeeding. The International Sport Society recognized that the ingredients in energy drinks need further studies to establish their safety (3).

protip_icon Caution
Avoid energy drinks if you take vitamins and herbal supplements to avert potential vitamin toxicity (13).

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

Image: Shutterstock

Caffeine is a stimulant and an ergogeniciXSomething that enhances performance. 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.

protip_icon Research finds
Generally, less than 1% of the caffeine consumed by the mother makes it into breast milk. Thus, moderate caffeine intake doesn’t negatively affect the nursing baby (14).

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 sucroseiXSugar composed of glucose and fructose. 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, fructoseiXA simple sugar found in plants, also known as fruit sugar. might pass into breastmilk (8).

    High amount of sugar is present in energy drinks

    Image: Shutterstock

  • Taurine is a sulfur-containing essential amino acid found in energy drinks (9). Breastmilk has high amounts of taurine, so breastfeeding mothers will not require its supplementation (10). However, the effects of taurine ingestion on babies via energy drinks are not well-documented.
  • Herbs like ginseng and ginkgo bilobaiXA plant native to China rich in antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties. 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 guaranaiXA plant native to the Amazon that is a common ingredient of energy drinks. , l-CarnitineiXA chemical produced in the human brain, liver, and kidneys that helps turn fat into energy. , 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

    Image: Shutterstock

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.
protip_icon Quick tip
Consume homemade fruit juices with pulp to get sufficient dietary fiber and avoid added sugar.
  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

    Image: IStock

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Does caffeine in breast milk affect the baby’s sleep?

Caffeine passes into the breast milk, and babies get only 1.5% of the caffeine the mother ingests. Although the amount of caffeine that reaches the baby is small, the baby’s system takes longer to get rid of the caffeine. Hence, high caffeine intake by the mother may affect the baby’s sleep (15).

2. Does caffeine cause colic in babies?

Yes. Studies have shown maternal caffeine consumption is associated with colic symptoms in breastfed babies and infants (16).

3. How long do energy drinks stay in breast milk?

Energy drinks contain caffeine which is found to enter the breast milk. The peak levels of caffeine in breast milk are known to occur between one to two hours after consumption. Therefore, it is best to time your consumption of energy drinks between feeds (17).

4. Do energy drinks affect a breastfeeding mother’s milk supply?

A small amount of energy drink will not affect breast milk production as it contains low amounts of caffeine. However, excessive intake can cause dehydration and affect milk supply (18).

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.

Infographic: Caffeine Content In Different Energy Drinks

If you love enjoying a soft drink once in a while or are guilty of sipping a cup of coffee once every few hours at work, you may be interested in these details. This infographic sheds light on the amount of caffeine in some popular drinks to help limit your consumption.

how much caffeine do popular energy drinks have (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Get high-quality PDF version by clicking below.

Download Infographic in PDF version Download Infographic
Download Infographic in PDF version

Key Pointers

  • Energy drinks are highly caffeinated drinks with other stimulants that can pass into breast milk.
  • Commercially available energy drinks have large amounts of sugar which may lead to weight gain and other health issues in lactating women.
  • It is advised to keep the consumption in the limit as it may cause fussiness and irritability in babies in case of sensitivity.
  • It is recommended to find alternative options in the form of healthy drinks such as natural juices and soups to retain energy levels while breastfeeding.


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. Jonathan J Caine, Thomas D Geracioti; Taurine, energy drinks, and neuroendocrine effects; Cleve Clin J Med. (2016)
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)
13. Janet Thorlton et al.;Energy Drinks: Implications for the Breastfeeding Mother; MCN. The American journal of maternal child nursing (2016)
14. Goun Jeong et al.; Maternal food restrictions during breastfeeding; Korean journal of pediatrics (2017)
15. Caffeine and Breastfeeding; La Leche League USA
16. Aimee McCreedy et al.; Effects of maternal caffeine consumption on the breastfed child: a systematic review; National Center For Biotechnology Information (2018)
17. Caffeine and Breastfeeding; La Leche League USA
18. 6 factors that won’t decrease your breast milk supply; The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
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