Thursday Tip: Chocolate and Breastfeeding

At this time of year particularly there seems to be lots of discussion about chocolate and whether breastfeeding mothers should not eat it.

The potential area of concern is a substance called theobromine. Theobromine is a stimulant which has an effect on the body similar to caffeine. Chocolate does not naturally contain caffeine although most discussions on the internet regarding the simulating effects of chocolate use caffeine interchangeably with theobromine. (referemce HERE) There are some chocolate products which contain added caffeine. Theobromine is generally not an issue for breastfed babies unless mum is eating chocolate in very large amounts.

A small cup of brewed coffee contains about 130 mg of caffeine, a cup of decaffeinated coffee has about 3 mg of caffeine and an ounce of milk chocolate has about 6 mg of theobromine. If mothers are consuming more than 750 mg of caffeine and/or theobromine a day they may find that their babies are irritable, fussy and don’t sleep for long periods. Eliminating caffeine and theobromine sources for a week or two will help clarify whether the issue is caffeine related.

Theobromine is found in the cocoa solids. Dark chocolate is dark in colour because it contains a greater percentage of cocoa solids and therefore it will contain higher levels of theobromine than milk chocolate. White chocolate has no cocoa solids and therefore no theobromine. More information about theobromine and human health can be found in the US National Library of Medicine ToxNet database. Click HERE

For more information about caffeine and breastfeeding click HERE

For more information about how what you eat affects your breastmilk click HERE

Are you wondering if your baby is fussy because of something you are eating or drinking? A La Leche League Canada Leader can help you figure out what is going on. Contact a Leader by phone or e-mail by clicking HERE

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