Nighttime waking is a common occurrence for infants, but researchers found that infant sleeping habits at the age of 3 months are unaffected by a mother’s heavy caffeine consumption during pregnancy and breast-feeding, according to recent study results.
Researchers sampled 885 infants of a cohort of 4,231 born in Pelotas, Brazil. All mothers — with the exception of one — consumed caffeine during pregnancy. Caffeine consumption was assessed during all three trimesters of pregnancy and the first 3 months postpartum. A caffeine consumer was defined in the study as someone who drinks coffee or mate (a tea-like beverage popular to the region) once a week for at least one trimester. A heavy consumer was defined as a mother who drinks at least 300 mg per day. Nearly 20% of the mothers sampled were heavy consumers during pregnancy, and 14.3% were heavy consumers at 3 months postpartum.
According to the study, there was a 13.8% prevalence of frequent nighttime awakeners (more than three episodes per night). “Maternal caffeine consumption, even in large amounts during gestation and lactation, had no consequences on sleep of the infant at 3 months of age,” researchers said. The results also revealed that caffeine consumption is almost universal during pregnancy.
Although it is unclear why heavy caffeine consumption has no impact on infant sleeping habits, researchers said it was possible that infants develop tolerance to caffeine. These findings, according to researchers, confirm that a generally advised limit of 300 mg of caffeine every day during pregnancy is acceptable in terms of infant sleeping behavior.
Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.