Coffee is a staple drink in many households, and every now and then you’ll hear it make the news as being good for you. But does this apply to your baby, and are there any circumstances that would warrant giving it to them?
Most parents won’t give their child coffee, tea, or soda on a regular basis, but sometimes it pops up as an option, especially if mom or dad is enjoying some. But if your baby is in their first year, they’re still developing, and their system just isn’t ready for the stimulating foods that we adults enjoy.
Study after study shows that the effects of caffeine are far-reaching, and that it works on the body much like a drug does. Heavy caffeine users report withdrawal symptoms similar to addicts trying to get off of a drug. It speeds up the heart, and works on a physiological level. It’s simply not something that is made for a baby. Coffee acts as a diuretic, and has a strong dehydrating effect on the body.
Can I Give My Baby Coffee? Answer: No.
The caffeine in coffee makes this a no-go, and undoes any of the positive benefits that coffee may have for adult drinkers. Decaffeinated coffee isn’t going to give your child any benefit, and will still work to dehydrate them, so why consider either one? Unless you’re thinking of giving your baby black coffee it’s going to have cream and sugar added to it, adding to the definite no answer on this one.
Most likely you’re not considering giving it to them as a morning pick-me-up, but even giving them a sip or two doesn’t make much sense. If you’re worried about drinking coffee while breastfeeding you don’t really have cause for concern unless you’re a heavy user. Still it may be a good idea to cut back from your normal intake, or give it up altogether since some of the caffeine that you ingest will be transferred to your baby.
Some moms wonder if it’s OK to give their baby coffee to help them with a bout of constipation. But there are better alternatives than giving your baby coffee for constipation. Try massaging their stomach very gently, or give them a warm bath to help them through this tough time. Talk to your pharmacist or pediatrician rather than giving your baby a stimulant like coffee.
To Keep Them Awake
Other parents entertain the idea of giving their baby coffee to keep them up a little longer so they’ll sleep at times that are more convenient. This is not a good idea because your baby is following their natural sleeping cycle, and you should not disturb that. Babies sleep when they’re tired, much the same way pets do, and you shouldn’t tinker with it using stimulants of any kind.
Any Nutritional Benefits?
Every now and then you’ll hear in the news that drinking a cup of coffee is good for you, or that it has antioxidants, or that if you drink it black it’s healthier. Whatever they say, there’s no getting past the caffeine it has, and there isn’t enough benefit to give your child decaffeinated coffee either.
As far as liquids go for your baby, they really only need breast milk for as long as they’re being breast fed, and then you can move into water, which will hydrate them. You might also find that teas specially formulated for babies are a good way to supplement their beverage intake, but between breast milk and water they’ve got all they need to be happy and healthy.
Armed with this info we’re sure you’ll have no problem finding suitable alternatives to coffee and other caffeinated or sugary drinks. As always, you want to do what’s best for your baby during these important years of development. They may drink coffee one day, but you don’t need to rush them along on that path. Enjoy these times when they are still growing and feed them the best foods and drinks that will help them become the best they can be.