An energizing and healthy way to start the day is with a cup of green tea. Women often feel the need for extra stamina during the breastfeeding period. However, what a breastfeeding mother eats can affect the quality and quantity of her breast milk. It’s only natural that breastfeeding mothers would like reassurance that their diet won’t negatively impact the quality and quantity of their milk supply. As a nursing mother and a green tea lover, one question that will cross your mind is can I drink green tea while breastfeeding?
Can I Drink Green Tea While Breastfeeding?
Just like moderate consumption of green tea is safe during pregnancy, green tea can be consumed safely while nursing too. Moderate maternal consumption of green tea has no negative effects on the health of a nursing infant. Polyphenols and antioxidants are abundant in green tea. Green tea does contain some caffeine. However, the caffeine content of green tea is very low.
There are no known adverse effects of caffeine in this dosage on nursing infants. However, consumption should be restricted to no more than two cups per day. Green tea, in moderation, can help a nursing mother feel more refreshed and energized and even aid digestion. In particular, for women who need slimming, green tea while breastfeeding can be a healthy option.
How Much Green Tea Is Not Too Much During Breastfeeding?
To be on the safe side, limit yourself to just two cups per day, each of which should be no more than 237 ml. Green tea is an excellent source of a variety of antioxidants, but it also contains caffeine. Intake of caffeine should be limited to 300–500 mg per day during breastfeeding1.
A single cup (237 ml) of green tea contains about 29mg of caffeine2. It’s important to keep track of all sources of caffeine, such as coffee, chocolate, soda, energy drinks, etc. when calculating daily intake. Experts recommend staying well below the recommended maximum caffeine intake. Because of this, you’ll need to modify how much green tea you drink so that your combined caffeine consumption stays within safe limits. If you go overboard, it could have a harmful effect on the baby.
Does Green Tea Affect Breast Milk Supply?
Many mothers doubt if green tea diminishes breast milk production. There is no proof that drinking green tea will decrease breastmilk supply or completely dry it up. Theanine is a non-essential amino acid that can be found in high concentrations in green tea leaves. Concerns have been raised about how this may impact milk production in nursing mothers. But there is no hard data to support either the positive or negative effects of theanine on breastfeeding.
Related Reading: 12 Signs Of Low Milk Supply You Should Pay Attention To
Side Effects Of Green Tea On Lactating Mothers
There is no scientific evidence to suggest that green tea has any direct adverse effects on nursing mothers. Only one percent of the total amount of caffeine consumed by the mother enters breast milk. Unless it is consumed in excessive quantities, green tea does not have any negative effects on either the mother or the infant who is breastfed. An infant who is breastfed can show signs of irritability and restlessness if the mother consumes more caffeine than is considered safe3.
The following are some of the negative side effects of drinking excessive amounts of green tea.
1. May bring about anemia & iron deficiency
When consumed in large quantities, green tea interferes with iron absorption and can lead to iron deficiency anemia4. This is considered one of the most dangerous side effects of drinking too much green tea. A chemical called tannin is found naturally in tea. Tannin may interfere with iron absorption5.
Consuming an excessive amount of green tea alongside iron-rich foods can reduce the body’s ability to absorb iron6. Thus, it is recommended to avoid drinking green tea with meals and to wait at least three hours after eating before drinking green tea. When it comes to healthy eating, it’s, not just about what we eat, but also about when and with what we eat.
2. It may cause persistent headaches.
Consuming an excessive amount of green tea may result in headaches due to its caffeine content. The severity of headaches depends on how sensitive the person is to caffeine. Severity ranges from very mild to extreme7. And if you already have a headache, drinking green tea could make it worse.
Iron deficiency, which may result from ingesting green tea at the wrong time or in excess, is another potential source of these headaches. However, nursing mothers who are sensitive to caffeine or who experience frequent headaches should steer clear of green tea.
3. Can potentially interfere with sleep patterns.
Caffeine, which is found in green tea, is a stimulant that prevents sleep. Even though the caffeine content of green tea is relatively low, those who are sensitive to caffeine may still have trouble sleeping8. Green tea’s active ingredients stop the body from producing sleep-inducing hormones like melatonin.
4. May cause thyroid issues
Catechins, the flavonoids in green tea, have been linked to a decreased risk of thyroid cancer. However, excessive green tea consumption can impair thyroid function due to its elevated catechin content9.
5. Impacts bone health
The suggested daily intake of calcium for breastfeeding mothers is 1,300 milligrams per day10. Drinking too much green tea during breastfeeding can put sensitive people at risk for bone diseases like osteoporosis. Green tea contains compounds that inhibit calcium absorption11. If you don’t get enough calcium while breastfeeding, your supply and quality of breast milk may suffer. Bone loss in mothers decreased calcium in breast milk, and stunted bone development in infants are also risks12. Limit your daily green tea intake to no more than two cups if you have a family history of bone diseases.
6. Some rare side effects
Excessive green tea consumption is associated with the following risks and side effects, though they are extremely rare:
- Certain compounds in green tea can reduce fibrinogen, a protein that aids in blood clotting, resulting in bleeding disorders. . Consequently, those who have a history of bleeding disorders should abstain from drinking green tea13
- Extremely high or low heart rates are another rare but possible reaction to ingesting large quantities of green tea14. There needs to be more investigation into this potential negative effect, though
7. Side effects on babies
Consuming excessive amounts of green tea causes excess caffeine to transfer into breast milk, resulting in adverse effects on the infant15. Only less than 1% of caffeine makes its way into breast milk16. However, some infants are more sensitive to caffeine due to their lower tolerance. Keep an eye out for the following symptoms in infants, even if you stick to the recommended serving sizes of green tea.
- Continual waking and bad sleep
Related Reading: 12 Foods To Increase Breastmilk Supply In New Moms
How Green Tea Is Safe To Be Consumed During Breastfeeding?
Here are some pointers to remember while drinking green tea while breastfeeding:
- Choose green teas that only have tea and no other ingredients
- Since the effects of many herbs on a nursing child are not yet known, herbal green teas that contain additional herbs should be avoided
- Green tea that has been bottled and sold to consumers is safe to consume only if it contains nothing but green tea and no other flavors or additives
- To get the most out of green tea while breastfeeding, stick to unsweetened varieties
- To the extent possible, only buy organic tea from reputable growers
- Instead of tea bags, choose whole leaf green tea. These green loose leaf teas are made from the youngest tea leaves. Since the essential oils remain intact inside the leaves of loose leaf green tea, you will enjoy a superior taste and flavor in addition to all of the health benefits
What is Matcha Tea? Can you drink Matcha Tea while breastfeeding?
Matcha is a type of green tea. 20-30 days prior to harvest, farmers cover their tea plants to prevent them from being exposed to sunlight and growing matcha. This boosts chlorophyll production, amino acid content, and greenness. After tea leaves are picked, they are processed by removing the stems and veins before being ground into a powder.
This powder is mixed with hot water to produce green tea. This differs from traditional green tea, in which the leaves are steeped in water and then removed. Matcha has more caffeine and antioxidants than green tea because it contains the entire tea leaf.
In terms of the safety of matcha tea during breastfeeding, it is safe if you restrict the intake to one cup per day. Matcha’s caffeine content varies by grade, but it’s usually much higher than that of green tea. On average, 280 mg of caffeine is contained in one cup (237 ml) of standard matcha (prepared with 4 teaspoons of powder). Compare that to the 35 mg of caffeine in a cup of green tea, and you can see how much higher this is17. Therefore, don’t forget to adjust your caffeine intake from other sources accordingly. For this reason, if you had a cup of matcha, you should reduce your consumption of caffeine from other sources as well.
Alternatives To Green Tea
Many mothers seek out decaf green tea to reduce their caffeine exposure. What you should understand is that even the decaf varieties contain a small amount of caffeine. Teas like chamomile, ginger, and peppermint are great alternatives to green tea because they don’t have any caffeine.
Other options are:
- White tea
- Dandelion tea
- Rose hips tea
Green tea has been praised for its health benefits for centuries. Even traditional Chinese and Indian medicines make use of this ingredient. Among the many types of tea, green tea has one of the highest concentrations of antioxidants. It has fewer calories and less caffeine than black tea and coffee. So, yes, you can have green tea while breastfeeding, but keep in mind the considerations discussed here.
You certainly can. However, make sure you first brew your tea properly and then either cool it over ice or place it in the fridge.
Interestingly, cold green tea may retain a smaller amount of caffeine, which could be beneficial.
Some types of tea can aid in healthy weight loss for breastfeeding mothers without negatively affecting the baby. Green tea is one of them.
If you drink green tea first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, you might get an upset stomach. Antioxidants and strong polyphenols found in green tea may play a role in stimulating the production of stomach acid, which can cause digestive system disturbances like bloating, gas, and more.
Green tea in a bottle, like the kind you might find in a store, has about the same amount of caffeine as a cup of hot green tea. Aside from green tea, it could also have sugar and herbal extracts.
Read the label carefully before purchasing a green tea that comes in a bottle. In addition to checking the sugar content, you should check the list of ingredients for any potentially harmful herbs or extracts, such as ginkgo biloba or ginseng. Although both are natural ingredients commonly used in beverages, neither is considered safe for nursing mothers.
Caffeine-free green tea is an excellent choice for those who limit their caffeine consumption. During the decaffeination process, substantial quantities of caffeine are extracted from green tea.
However, decaf green tea is not completely caffeine-free, as it contains between 2 and 5 mg of caffeine per cup (237 ml). Also, levels of caffeine elimination vary with brands. Hence, adjust the number of cups appropriately based on the residual caffeine levels on the label.
Green tea extract capsules and pills should be avoided during breastfeeding because they contain more caffeine than two cups of green tea combined.
A single pill may keep your caffeine intake within safe limits, but it may still exceed the amount found in two cups of green tea. Better not take risks during breastfeeding.