Just as the vitamins and minerals you get from food pass through to your nursing infant through breast milk, potentially dangerous ingredients can also make it into your milk. Monster energy drinks contain large doses of caffeine, as well as certain herbs and other ingredients, and these can be potentially harmful to your little one. For that reason, talk to your pediatrician before consuming any energy drink while you're breastfeeding.
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A 16-ounce serving of Monster energy drink contains 160 milligrams of caffeine. Although it's usually fine to consume small amounts of caffeine while you're breastfeeding, large doses can pose hazards to your nursing infant. Limit yourself to 300 milligrams or less of caffeine per day, about the amount you'd get from a 16-ounce cup of brewed coffee, according to BabyCenter. More caffeine than this can cause your baby to become irritable and fussy, and lead to problems with sleep, according to the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center.
Age Makes a Difference
The effects of caffeine are influenced by the age of your nursing infant. Very young babies cannot metabolize caffeine the way older children and adults do, according to Fiona Wilcock, author of "Super Easy Drinks, Soups, and Smoothies for a Healthy Pregnancy." For example, it takes four days for caffeine intake to be reduced by half in a baby less than 1 month old, and then another four days for it to be reduced by half again, Wilcock notes. This means that if you have large doses of caffeine every day, a baby less than a month old will accumulate that caffeine in her body and will be more susceptible to the potentially harmful effects. When your baby is 6 months old, however, caffeine in her system will be reduced by half in as little as a couple of hours, Wilcock reports.
Monster energy drinks contain other ingredients that can be a problem. For example, the drinks contain ginseng, an herb that is believed to increase endurance. Ginseng, however, isn't recommended for breastfeeding mothers because there isn't a wide body of evidence proving whether it's safe or not, according to Drugs.com. Ginseng might also interfere with normal estrogen activity. Monster energy drinks also contain taurine, an organic acid that isn't regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in energy drinks. In fact, information about many ingredients used in energy drinks is lacking, while other ingredients aren't regulated at all, according to a 2011 article published in "Pediatrics."
The Bottom Line
If your doctor approves a Monster energy drink as part of your breastfeeding diet, stick to one a day. Having more than one 16-ounce serving will cause you to go over the daily 300-milligram limit recommended for breastfeeding. Talk to your doctor about alternate ways to boost your energy. A cup of plain coffee or tea doesn't contain any herbal ingredients, but you'll still get a small amount of caffeine for energy. Plain coffee and tea also don't contain added sugar, found in most Monster energy drinks; that extra sugar isn't good for you whether you're breastfeeding or not.