can you eat chocolate while breastfeeding

Can You Eat Chocolate While Breastfeeding? Yes!

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When you’re a new breastfeeding mom, everything you eat and drink seems to come with a question mark – will it affect your baby’s health? Coffee, alcohol … the list goes on!

But can you eat chocolate while breastfeeding? The answer is: YES!!

Some reports can make you worry because chocolate contains a substance called theobromine, similar to caffeine, which means it’s best to monitor how much you have since it finds its way to your baby through your breast milk.

As a breastfeeding counselor, I tell my clients that it’s about striking a balance between enjoying your favorite treats and maintaining a healthy diet for you and your little one.

In fact, treating yourself to a square or two can be a sweet part of your day. Like anything, moderation is key. A piece of dark chocolate or a sprinkle of unsweetened cocoa powder can give you that much-deserved pick-me-up without overstepping the mark.

So, go ahead and savor that chocolate, just keep an eye on the portion size (especially if you are watching the calories postpartum).

So, can you eat chocolate while breastfeeding? Is it really safe for your baby?

woman holding a piece of chocolate. she wants to eat it but is worried because she is breastfeeding

Pros of eating chocolate while breastfeeding

Chocolate isn’t just a guilty pleasure; it can actually be a small but lovely part of your diet during breastfeeding.

  • Consuming chocolate in moderation can provide a bit of an energy boost for breastfeeding moms who may be feeling fatigued from the regular nocturnal feeds.

  • Dark chocolate is rich in iron, magnesium, and antioxidants such as flavonoids. These compounds can help fight free radicals, potentially reducing the risk of heart disease, improve overall health, and contribute to stress reduction – a sweet bonus for any new mom.

  • Chocolate is a delicious comfort food that can simply make your day a little brighter and enhance your mood.

Though it’s generally considered safe for breastfeeding mothers, observing your baby’s symptoms and reactions after you’ve enjoyed some chocolate is a smart practice. If you notice any fussiness or sleep disturbances in your baby, you might want to cut back a little.

The ‘safest’ chocolate to eat while breastfeeding

As the saying goes, all good things in moderation, right? So what kind of chocolate is best for breastfed babies?

Aim for dark chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa solids because it contains less added sugar and fewer additives. It’s also the type that offers those antioxidants we talked about earlier. High-quality dark chocolate is a source of iron, magnesium, copper, and manganese — nutrients that can support a mother’s health during the postpartum period.

Meanwhile, stuff with more sugar and less cocoa butter – like milk chocolate or white chocolate – might be tempting, but these offer less in the way of health benefits. Plus, they can contribute to sugar crashes (and who needs that when you’re already on the no-sleep newborn train?)

In a nutshell, you as a mother can definitely include chocolate in your diet while breastfeeding, but keep an eye on your baby and opt for options that are both satisfying and beneficial for your health.

Cons of eating chocolate while breastfeeding

Let’s get a bit real about the downsides of eating chocolate while breastfeeding.


The main worry is about caffeine – chocolate contains this stimulant, which can find its way into your milk supply and, subsequently, into your newborn infant. If your baby shows signs of irritability or has trouble sleeping, you might want to pause and reconsider your chocolate intake.

Chart - chocolate treats and their caffeine content in relation to breastfeeding moms

Rumor has it that caffeine is bad for breastmilk production, but actually, a study has shown it may be partly responsible for increasing milk supply.

  • Milk chocolate: Contains roughly 9 milligrams of caffeine per 1.5 ounces.

  • Dark chocolate: Packs more caffeine, with about 12 milligrams per ounce.

While the caffeine in a bite of chocolate is lower compared to when you drink coffee, it adds up. Eating even small amounts of chocolate means that a tiny amount of caffeine may end up in your breast milk.

How much caffeine is safe for a nursing mother? About 200mg a day is fine. Watch out for signs of caffeine sensitivity in your baby, like jitteriness, inconsolable crying, or fussiness, particularly after you consume chocolate.


This is a compound in chocolate that’s similar to caffeine and can stir things up for your little one if consumed in large quantities. Darker chocolate has more of it, so moderation is your friend here.

However, reassuringly, the amount of theobromine that gets into breast milk is very small. One study showed that the babies of moms who ate a 113-gram (4oz) chocolate bar containing 240mg of theobromine every 6 hours, who then breastfed, only ingested about 10mg of theobromine. Toxicity is considered at 1,000 milligrams of theobromine per kilogram of body weight.

In simple terms, a 6 months old baby (with an average weight of 7.6kg) would need 7.6 grams (7,600mg) of theobromine to be at toxic levels. Based on the study mentioned above, a mother would need to eat 760 of these chocolate bars to ingest a toxic level of theobromine for her breastfed baby.


As we all know, chocolate has high amounts of sugar – not great when consumed in excess as it can lead to unwanted weight gain and other health issues. Fructose and other added sugars found in chocolate can pass through to the breast milk, even in small amounts, which can lead to problems with cognitive development and learning in young babies.

Remember, you know your body and your baby best. Keep an eye on how they respond to your diet and indulge responsibly.

Recommended serving sizes of different types of chocolate

Here’s a quick look at recommended serving sizes each day for different types of chocolate when you are a breastfeeding mom:

  • Dark chocolate: Aim for 1 ounce (28 grams) per day.

  • Milk chocolate: You can have a bit more; up to 1.5 ounces (42 grams).

  • White chocolate: Approximately 2 ounces (56 grams).

These are general guidelines, but remember, every baby is different. Pay attention to how your baby reacts after you’ve had chocolate; if you notice any changes, you might need to adjust your intake.

Chocolate and breastfeeding calculators

Check out these calculators to make your life a bit easier!

Branded chocolate calculator for breastfeeding moms’ – got a specific branded bar you want to eat? Love Hershey’ Cookies N Creme? Maybe Cadbury Dairy Milk is your choc of choice? Enter the bar’s name and get a detailed response telling you how much you can safely consume while breastfeeding!

‘Chocolate calculator for breastfeeding’ – want a general idea of how much dark, milk, or white chocolate you can safely eat while breastfeeding?

Responsible enjoyment of chocolate while breastfeeding

Table - chocolate and breastfeeding (caffeine content of different types of chocolate)

When you’re breastfeeding, you might crave a little pick-me-up, and chocolate can be a perfect indulgent treat. But you need to instill balance and know how to enjoy chocolate without affecting your child’s health.

Can you have chocolate daily? Well, yes, but think bite-sized. Remember, we’re going for moderate amounts. Chocolate does contain theobromine, a cousin to caffeine, and it can end up in your breast milk. You don’t want a wide-eyed baby at 2 AM, trust me!

Child health: A priority of course. Chocolate in small doses is fine, but keep tabs on how your baby reacts. Every baby is different, and yours might be more sensitive than others.

The main takeaway? You’ve got the green light to enjoy chocolate but in a way that respects your body and the little one relying on it. It’s about finding that sweet spot (pun intended).

Breastfeeding and chocolate FAQs

After you eat chocolate, the compounds like caffeine found in it can make their way into your breast milk. Generally, caffeine will reach its peak in breast milk within one to two hours after consumption and can linger for up to 24 hours.

White chocolate might seem like a gentler option because it’s caffeine-free. However, it lacks the antioxidants found in dark chocolate and is higher in sugars and fats. If you’re considering chocolate’s impact on milk production and want some of its health benefits, a small amount of dark chocolate with higher cocoa content might be a better bet.

Chocolate laxatives typically contain higher doses of substances that may not be recommended during breastfeeding. Before consuming a chocolate laxative, it’s wise to talk to your healthcare provider about any potential effects on your breast milk.

Yes! Enjoying a cup of hot chocolate in moderation is generally safe while you’re breastfeeding. Just keep an eye on the caffeine content, especially if your baby seems sensitive to your breast milk after you drink it.

There’s no solid evidence that chocolate causes colic or gas in babies. However, every baby is unique. If you notice your little one showing signs of distress like fussiness or gas after you eat chocolate, it might be worth cutting back to see if that helps.

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