Can Coffee Cause Diaper Rash When Breastfeeding?

  • By: Sandra
  • Date: March 18, 2022
  • Time to read: 4 min.

Every new mom’s dreaded question. As you reach for that all-important mug of pick me up/wake me up coffee, it suddenly dawns on you?

Will caffeine harm my baby?

Caffeine is known to pass through breast milk to the child, so it would seem reasonable that caffeine consumption could result in a baby with a diaper rash. However, because of the paucity of research done on this subject, we don’t know for sure.

Human breast milk does not normally cause allergy responses in nursing infants, although women may be concerned that their newborns may be sensitive to something they eat and transfer into their breast milk.

In reality, only two or three out of every hundred babies who are solely breastfed have an allergic reaction—usually to the cow’s milk in their mother’s diet. In this situation, the newborn may exhibit severe colic, gastrointestinal pain, or a skin rash such as eczema or hives, or may respond with vomiting, severe diarrhea (sometimes with blood in the stool), or trouble breathing that lasts for many hours after nursing.

Can I drink coffee while breastfeeding?

Yes. Caffeine in moderation is safe. Caffeine, on the other hand, enters breastmilk and, since their systems aren’t designed to absorb caffeine properly, can function as a stimulant for a baby, causing irritation and sleep problems. Consider having that cup of coffee just after you’ve finished nursing, giving the caffeine time to leave your system before the next feeding.

Women who are nursing may also wish to minimize or avoid coffee since tiny levels of caffeine transfer from the mother to the infant through breast milk.

Most women who breastfeed can safely consume 300–500 mg of caffeine each day. Excessive coffee consumption may reduce iron contents in breast milk, resulting in moderate iron deficiency anemia in certain newborns.

Can babies be allergic to coffee in breast milk?

Whilst your morning coffee might be an irritate to your baby, it is unlikely to be an allergen. It might cause your baby to develop diaper rash as it makes the baby’s stools more acidic. The milk in your coffee might be more at risk of causing a milk allergy.

Caffeine is a stimulant that also acts as a diuretic, which distinguishes allergies from intolerances. Caffeine ingestion by a newborn through breast milk has been shown in studies to impact the infant’s sleep habits.

Caffeine has been shown to accumulate in breast milk with repeated consumption throughout the day, which can cause babies to become overstimulated and sleep less.

If Certain Foods Make Diaper Rash Symptoms Worse…

The acidic nature of coffee can also irritate the sensitive digestive systems in babies. Read our guide to how acidic poo can cause diaper rash. Along with citrus fruits, tomato based products (including spaghetti sauce) and other acidic foods, caffeine via the mother’s milk can cause diaper rashes.

Some mothers prefer to ‘tone’ down their diet avoiding spicy foods, foods high in acidic compounds and other gassy foods which may make diaper rash symptoms worse. Or just make sure in combination, they have not had too much acidic food overall. You can balance them out with more starchy foods.

While most women do not need to restrict their meals while nursing, they should strive to consume a balanced and varied diet. However, if they have found certain foods they are eating are making diaper rash worse on their baby, then breastfeeding moms might prefer to ease diaper rash by avoiding some foods until the baby’s immature digestive system can cope with them better.

Also when introducing new foods always make sure to keep a food diary to see how your baby responds whether via mom or in food directly. This should include known trigger foods like fish, wheat, eggs, chocolate etc.

Take Away on Breastfeeding Mothers Drinking Coffee

Like everything in life, everything in moderation is the key to a healthy milk supply. Hey you can even drink alcohol in small quantities! If your baby has already sensitive skin and you notice certain foods seem to trigger food allergy symptoms such as diaper rash symptoms or eczema, then cutting out acidic foods like citrus fruits and coffee in limited quantities could help your baby’s sensitive skin too.

Dairy products or milk products in a baby’s diet are much more likely to be the cause of any food sensitivities or diaper rash, rather than coffee. Overall it’s more when you introduce your baby to solid foods and other foods that you need to look at foods to avoid for a sensitive skin baby.

It is important that breastfeeding moms have a healthy and nutritious diet and if that cuppa coffee keeps you awake, enjoy it, mama!