Is It Safe To Eat Chocolate While Breastfeeding?

Chocolate is a delicious treat that many people love to relish. Therefore, craving for chocolate while breastfeeding isn’t uncommon for nursing women. But since chocolates contain caffeine, nursing mothers would contemplate if they can eat some chocolate or avoid it entirely.

Caffeine is a psychostimulant, which can pass through breast milk to your baby when consumed in excess. Since babies have sensitive bodies, even small amounts of caffeine can make them irritable, fussy, and sleepless.

Keep reading as we give you an insight into different components of chocolate, how caffeine affects babies, and should you avoid chocolate-mixed foods when lactating.

Components Of Chocolate

  • Chocolate hardly needs an introduction! It is typically a sweet, usually brown-flavored, food prepared from roasted and grounded Theobroma cacao seeds.
  • The main ingredients of chocolate are chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, and added sugar.
  • It contains carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals, water, caffeine, cholesterol, and theobromine.

Can You Eat Chocolate While Breastfeeding?

Yes, you can eat chocolate when breastfeeding. But limit it to moderate amounts as it is high in fats and sugars and has little nutritive value. A nursing mother needs to eat a healthy diet rich in vegetables and fruit to maintain her and her newborn’s health. Thus, you may consume sugar and processed foods in small amounts as occasional ‘treats’. This will keep you healthy and energetic enough to take care of your infant.

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If the nursing baby shows side effects such as the below, avoid chocolate.

  • Restlessness
  • Rashes (due to an allergy of dairy products)
Avoid chocolate while breastfeeding if the baby shows side effects such as rashes
  • Hyperactivity
  • Insomnia
  • Refusal to drink milk

Some babies may also exhibit digestive issues, such as upset stomach. If your baby shows any of these side effects, stop chocolate consumption temporarily and see if your baby recovers; else see a pediatrician.

Caffeine In Chocolate And Breastfeeding

  • Chocolate may affect a nursing baby for many reasons but caffeine in it is believed to be the primary one.
  • Less than 1% of caffeine that enters the mother’s bloodstream ends up in breast milk and would be at peak after an hour of consumption.
  • A baby’s system takes a longer time to clear caffeine and high intake by the mother could make babies irritable.
  • Moreover, a breastfeeding mother may find caffeine affecting her let-down reflex or making nipple vasospasm worse, in case she has it (1).
Desserts Amount Caffeine
Dark chocolate (70-85% cocoa solids) 1oz 23mg
Milk chocolate 1.55oz 9mg
Coffee ice cream or frozen yogurt 8oz 2mg
Hot cocoa 8oz 8-12mg
Chocolate chips, semisweet 4oz 53mg
Chocolate milk 8oz 5-8mg

Why High Caffeine Intake Irritates Breastfeeding Baby?

The high half life of caffeine in infants makes sleeping difficult

Half-life is the time required for the concentration of a substance in the body to become half. The half-life of caffeine is high in infants and makes it difficult for them to fall asleep (2). Thus, lactating women should stay wary of their total caffeine intake and focus on their diet and nutrition.

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Theobromine In Chocolate And Breastfeeding

Theobromine is not a cause of worry for the nursing baby if the mother eats normal amounts of chocolate. A study has found that if a mother ate a 4-ounce chocolate bar every six hours and the baby was breastfed when the theobromine concentration in milk was at its peak, the baby could ingest about 10mg of theobromine a day (3).

Is Dark Chocolate Or White Chocolate Good During Breastfeeding?

Small amounts of dark chocolate is better than white chocolate. Dark chocolate has less sugar than white chocolate and contains flavonoids, which is good for your heart (4). White chocolate is highly processed and contains high levels of sugar.

Should Chocolate-Mixed Foods Be Avoided When Breastfeeding?

Take nutriitous diet if you are taking chocolate mixed foods occasionally
  • Chocolate-mixed foods, such as chocolate cookies, chocolate ice creams, chocolate cakes, or chocolate almond milk, can be occasionally consumed during lactation. But remember that you need to take a nutritious maternal diet to maintain your health and provide the essential nutrients to your infant.
  • A few babies may be intolerant to cow’s milk or have food allergies, such as nut or egg allergies. In such cases you should avoid products containing potential allergens, including chocolate.

Healthy Chocolate Recipe For Nursing Moms

If you cannot resist the temptation of relishing chocolate while breastfeeding, here’s a healthy recipe for you to try.

Lactation chocolate chip cookies:

You Will Need:

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2tsp vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾tsp salt
  • ½tsp baking powder
  • 3tbsp ground flaxseed
  • ⅓ cup brewer’s yeast
  • 2tbsp almond butter
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1½ cups chocolate chips

How To:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F and prepare two baking sheets by covering them with parchment paper.
  2. In a bowl, mix the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until it’s fluffy and light.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time, and then mix in the vanilla.
  4. Mix the flour, salt, baking powder, flaxseed, and brewer’s yeast in a different bowl.
  5. Combine these dry ingredients with the mix in the first bowl, stirring until they just mix.
  6. Add the almond butter, oatmeal, and chocolate chips, blending until they’re just mixed in.
  7. Take about 1.5 tablespoons of dough and drop portions onto the lined sheets.
  8. Bake for 10-12 minutes until the base turns golden.
  9. Let them cool on the sheets for 10 minutes, then shift them to a wire rack for complete cooling.
  10. Keep your cookies fresh in an airtight container for about a week.
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Breastfeeding can leave one hungry and craving some chocolates. Nursing mothers may want to be sure before consuming chocolates while breastfeeding because of their caffeine content. However, moderation is the key, as too much chocolate may lead to caffeine passing through the breast milk. Moreover, chocolate is rich in sugar and fats; therefore, it is good to indulge in occasional bites. Dark chocolate may be a better choice as compared to white chocolate. Remember, following certain dietary restrictions when nursing is vital for the mother and her baby’s health.

Learn how to embrace caffeine-containing products while breastfeeding. Learn helpful tips for striking a balance between caffeine consumption and breastfeeding.

Key Pointers

  • Chocolates are prepared using roasted and ground cacao seeds, chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, and added sugar
  • Breastfeeding mothers can consume chocolate in moderate amounts as it has less nutritional value.
  • Consuming chocolate may slow down the let-down reflex and exacerbate nipple vasospasm.
  • Chocolate can also enter the baby’s system through breast milk, leading to caffeine-induced side effects and allergies.
  • Refrain from consuming chocolate if the baby exhibits difficulty sleeping, irritability, lactose intolerance-induced rashes, and hyperactivity.

Article written by Baby Plumbing

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