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Is Green Tea Safe While Breastfeeding?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I started drinking green tea a couple weeks ago. I drink 12 ounces (2 tea bags) per day. It didn't even occur to me that it could be a problem, but today a co-worker told me that you aren't supposed to drink green tea when you're pregnant or breastfeeding. I've been searching online and am getting conflicting information. Some things say it's fine, just don't overdo it because of caffeine, others say it should not be consumed when pregnant or breastfeeding.

I gave up coffee because I thought maybe it was contributing to my irritability and the green tea has so many benefits. I'm drinking caffeinated now which is a lot less caffeine than coffee and plan to switch to decaf in the future. I just want to do it gradually to avoid headaches.

The things that said you shouldn't drink green tea weren't concerned about caffeine though, but the green tea specifically. Do I need to stop drinking it? Does anyone know where I can find an accurate answer? Thank you.
post #2 of 20
The reason why some people recommend that pregnant women avoid green tea is that it can interfere with the absorption of folic acid, if consumed at the same time as folic acid. I can't think of a reason why you couldn't have it while breastfeeding.
post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 
I just read some more and it says that the tannins in tea can cause poor iron absorption in the nursling. Now I'm wondering if I should drink it. I haven't heard of tannins before but I have low iron. I had two blood transfusions after the birth of my baby and ten months later it is getting better, but still just under the lowest "normal". Hmmm.

I wouldn't mind giving it all up but I'm scared of caffeine withdrawal headaches. I've done it before and they were excruciating.
post #4 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by MeepyCat View Post
The reason why some people recommend that pregnant women avoid green tea is that it can interfere with the absorption of folic acid, if consumed at the same time as folic acid. I can't think of a reason why you couldn't have it while breastfeeding.
Wow - good to know!
post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 
I pumped at work today and the milk is greenish from the tea. This kind of freaks me out. I'm having the hardest time finding something easy to understand with tannin levels of green tea vs coffee. I'm wondering if I'm better just driking my 12 ounces of coffee instead of 12 ounces of green tea while nursing. I'm not worried about caffeine because he has always done fine w/ me drinking coffee, but the poorer iron absorption worries me a bit.
post #6 of 20
Oh gosh, I didn't know that. I drink about three cups of decaf green tea a day. Maybe I need to do a bit of research.
post #7 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by lovemyfamily6 View Post
I pumped at work today and the milk is greenish from the tea. This kind of freaks me out. I'm having the hardest time finding something easy to understand with tannin levels of green tea vs coffee. I'm wondering if I'm better just driking my 12 ounces of coffee instead of 12 ounces of green tea while nursing. I'm not worried about caffeine because he has always done fine w/ me drinking coffee, but the poorer iron absorption worries me a bit.
Wow - that is really weird. I never heard of that happening.
Green tea has less tannins than black tea and I drank 1-2 cups of black tea throughout my pregnancy and 3 years of BFing. My ds's iron is fine. I thought the tannins only affected the absorption of iron when taken at the same time.
post #8 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by moonlight mom View Post
Wow - that is really weird. I never heard of that happening.
Green tea has less tannins than black tea and I drank 1-2 cups of black tea throughout my pregnancy and 3 years of BFing. My ds's iron is fine. I thought the tannins only affected the absorption of iron when taken at the same time.
I'll have to do some more research. We're vegan too, so I want to make sure nothing interferes with iron. I thought it was really weird too about the milk being green.
post #9 of 20
lovemyfamily6,
I just read that raspberry leaf tea is very high in tannins. I also drank a ton throughout preg/lactation and I know many do for the health benefits. So I think the tannins in the green tea your drinking are safe for you and babe. I would just drink your tea without food so as to not interfere with iron absorption. also, have you thought about trying the supplement floradix? It is supposed to be very helpful for the treatment of anemia.
post #10 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by moonlight mom View Post
lovemyfamily6,
I just read that raspberry leaf tea is very high in tannins. I also drank a ton throughout preg/lactation and I know many do for the health benefits. So I think the tannins in the green tea your drinking are safe for you and babe. I would just drink your tea without food so as to not interfere with iron absorption. also, have you thought about trying the supplement floradix? It is supposed to be very helpful for the treatment of anemia.
Thanks! I haven't tried floradix. I'll check it out!
post #11 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by moonlight mom View Post
lovemyfamily6,
I just read that raspberry leaf tea is very high in tannins. I also drank a ton throughout preg/lactation and I know many do for the health benefits. So I think the tannins in the green tea your drinking are safe for you and babe. I would just drink your tea without food so as to not interfere with iron absorption. also, have you thought about trying the supplement floradix? It is supposed to be very helpful for the treatment of anemia.
whew, i was thinking to give up tea, until i saw your logic about RRLT having tannins so tannins can't be evil incarnate after all.
post #12 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lady Lilya View Post
whew, i was thinking to give up tea, until i saw your logic about RRLT having tannins so tannins can't be evil incarnate after all.
Actually, I read that tannins have alot of health benefits too and they are found naturally in some foods like fruit, legumes, nuts and tons of herbs.

I thought about giving up tea when I was pregnant, but decided to limit myself to 1-2 cups instead. I just love it too much!!
post #13 of 20
i avoid mint tea b/c i heard it was bad.. never heard anything about green tea.
post #14 of 20
Red wine is supposed to be good for us due to the tannins, right?
post #15 of 20
Thread Starter 
Now I'm so confused! I was thinking it was the anti-oxidants that were good. Tannins are what stain teeth, right?
post #16 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by lovemyfamily6 View Post
Now I'm so confused! I was thinking it was the anti-oxidants that were good. Tannins are what stain teeth, right?
I think that the deal with tannins is that a little is OK and too much may cause problems. But I am not really sure about that either since tea drinking has been associated with a long list of health benefits and is consumed by the gallon in other countries. My friend from Scotland told me that pregnant and breastfeeding women drink black tea by the gallon and give it to their children. She said there is always a tea kettle on! I also know that green tea is enjoyed all day by the women in Asia. I haven't heard there is a higher incident of anemia in these countries.
TAnnins occur naturally in many foods and herbs so completely avoiding them would be difficult.
I'm not sure about the staining teeth part.
post #17 of 20
Thread Starter 
Well, kellymom.com doesn't have anything negative about green tea except watching the caffeine. I'm in the process of weaning myself off of caffeine. Maybe I will switch to decaf green tea. I know it has lots of health benefits, and as long as our iron is okay, that's great!
post #18 of 20
About tea and iron-absorption...I don't have anyone official to quote on this, but I had heard that if you drink tea with your meal, it will impede your body's ability to absorb the iron from the meat. So, you should enjoy them seperately, I think at least an hour apart.
post #19 of 20
Kristi,

A chinese herbalist once told me to avoid the headaches from caffeine withdrawal, cook artichokes in water and then drink the juice from the cooking process. It helped me when I was weaning from coffee while I was working with him.

As for decaf tea you can do it yourself by steeping the tea for 45-60 seconds and pouring that water off. Then re-steep the same tea and drink. 80% of caffeine comes out of the tea leaves in the first 45-60 seconds. This could also help you to wean off the caffeine.

Good luck!
post #20 of 20
You could also do it in cold water. Without the heat, the caffeine can't come out of the leaves. You can heat it after if you like it hot. I do this when I have time to leave it sit for a while, because it takes a lot longer for the flavor to come out when you use cold water.
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