After Natali’s post about how caffeine affects a baby in utero, I thought I’d tell you about what happens to a breastfed baby when his mama forgets to order her favorite frozen mocha drink with decaf espresso.
My little boy (henceforth known as Nic) was about six weeks old and the sun was finally out on a pretty spring day. I decide to take him on a walk to the cute downtown area about a mile and a half from our house. On the way, we stopped at my favorite smoothie place, where I routinely order the least healthy thing on the menu—a frozen mocha (I’m breast feeding, I need the calories, right?). However, I usually share this giant coffee drink with my husband, and we normally get it decaffeinated. I’ll blame mommy brain on forgetting to go decaf, and I knew once I tasted it that there was no way I was going to throw it out and deprive myself of all of its chocolately goodness. “I can just give him a bottle of expressed milk when we get home,” I thought to myself.
We strolled downtown while I drank 20-plus ounces of what was essentially frozen crack. By the time I was done, I felt amazing, literally high (I haven’t had much caffeine lately). We window shopped and then took the long way home. When we returned, I still had the energy of Magda from There’s Something About Mary. I buzzed around the house doing dishes, folding laundry and tidying up while Nic slept.
It was a particularly long nap, and by the time he awoke, I was feeling back to normal. I wondered to myself if I should still give him that bottle, but because pumping doesn’t yield much for me, I tend to hoard my frozen supply of milk. Since it had been hours since I drank the caffiene and he had never shown any effects from something I ate before, I decided it would be a safe experiment to conduct—I’d just feed him and see if I could have the occasional mocha.
Everything seemed fine until nighttime when he proceeded to wake up every hour and a half instead of his usual three-to-four-hour intervals of sleep. The next morning when he was tired, cranky and gassy I knew my experiment had failed. Only decaf mochas from now on for me and Nic.