A Quick Guide to Kombucha and Breastfeeding

Drinking kombucha from a trustworthy brand while breastfeeding is possible and may have some health benefits for both mom and baby.

Breastfeeding has several great benefits, not unlike drinking kombucha. Breastfeeding (like kombucha) can improve the levels of healthy bacteria in the infant's gut, aid in immunity, and so much more. Some mothers worry that when they're pregnant or breastfeeding, they may not be able to have their favorite kombucha. In reality, drinking kombucha while breastfeeding can offer benefits to both mom and baby—but you may need to choose your beverage carefully. Let’s take a look at the ins and outs of kombucha and breastfeeding. 

The Benefits of Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is a great source of natural nutrition for your baby. It is also a special way for moms and babies to bond. According to growing bodies of research, breastfeeding offers a number of important health benefits

  • Breastmilk has nutrients that are best for brain and body development in an infant.
  • Breastfed infants often get optimal nutrition in a way that formula companies have not yet been able to duplicate.
  • Breastfeeding helps improve immunity.
  • Breastfed babies may have fewer health problems, both in infancy and later in life.
  • Breastfeeding can help stave off common health issues, like asthma and obesity  
  • Breastfed babies may have improved levels of healthy bacteria in the gut, which can help with both immune function and overall health and wellness. For example, breastfed babies may have fewer instances of diarrhea and other stomach upset, and may have better overall nutrient absorption. 
  • Breastfeeding also has a number of known benefits for the mother, including reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes, decreasing instances of breast and ovarian cancer, cardiovascular disease, and more. 

Many moms choose to breastfeed for all of its benefits—just like they may choose to drink kombucha for all the health benefits the beverage can bring to the table. But that brings us back to the big question: Can you drink kombucha while breastfeeding?

Common Myths About Breastfeeding and Kombucha

Women hear a lot about what they can and cannot eat and drink when they're pregnant and breastfeeding. Much of that advice is accurate: for example, avoiding raw fish while pregnant is important to help keep mom and baby healthy. On the other hand, some pieces of advice are outdated or misinformed, like the advice to stay away from all kombucha while pregnant or breastfeeding. There are a couple of key myths that often get passed around as reasons why women should avoid kombucha while breastfeeding, and we think it’s best to read about them, understand them, and draw a reasonable conclusion about your own situation.

Myth #1: Kombucha Contains Too Much Caffeine

The La Leche League recommends 300 milligrams of caffeine or less per day while pregnant or nursing. However, some infants may be more or less sensitive to caffeine than others. They may cry, seem overstimulated, or even get colicky. Furthermore, some infants may have underlying health problems that make it important for moms to avoid caffeine while breastfeeding.

Related: Alcohol in Kombucha: What You Need to Know

Despite being brewed with tea, kombucha contains a very small amount of caffeine. Most 14 oz bottles have 15 mg of caffeine or less. That means you would have to consume a lot of kombucha to reach the caffeine in even one cup of coffee!

Myth #2: Kombucha Contains Alcohol

Most moms know that they should avoid alcohol when breastfeeding so that they do not risk negative impacts on their infant when some of the alcohol transfers through the breastmilk..  Because kombucha is fermented, it is impossible to avoid alcohol entirely during the creation process, and prior to alcohol extraction, a batch may contain 2% to 5% alcohol. However, in most cases, professionally brewed kombucha is carefully monitored to ensure it contains only trace amounts of alcohol. Professional brewers then use several strategies to eliminate the remaining alcohol in the fermented drink. They do this by:

  • Using the right type of yeast. Yeast type can have an impact on alcohol content. For example, champagne yeast can be used to intentionally increase the alcohol content. Professional kombucha brewers use the right ingredients for minimal alcohol.
  • Carefully timing the fermentation process. A longer fermentation process may, in some cases, mean more alcohol in the bottle, so professional brewers time this carefully.
  • Removing any alcohol from the brew post-fermentation, such as with non-heat distillation.

Note that while commercial kombucha companies remove the alcohol from their brews, you may want to be particularly careful of home-brewed kombucha, where the methods used are likely not so measured and precise. Professionally-brewed kombucha will have a very low alcohol content as a basic standard--and if the alcohol content is higher, the bottle will clearly display it so that you know what you're drinking ahead of time. This precaution will help you stay safe during your breastfeeding journey.

Your Guide to Drinking Kombucha While Breastfeeding

If you want to drink kombucha while breastfeeding, here are a few things to consider. 

Choose a Reputable Brand

When breastfeeding, you have to be particularly careful about anything that goes into your body. You want to make sure that you're drinking the best option not only for you but for your baby. Choose professionally-brewed kombucha while breastfeeding or pregnant, rather than choosing one made in someone's kitchen. While many home brewers are perfectly reliable, you want the testing and security of a professional brew during this particular time in your life. 

Do Your Research

Some brands of kombucha have different ingredients or different expectations for quality. For example, you may find that home-brewed kombucha is subject to relatively few quality-testing standards, which can make it more difficult for you to trust what you're drinking. You may also want to know things like:

  • The type of tea or yeast used in the kombucha
  • If any additional flavorings are added to the kombucha 
  • How the kombucha is processed.
  • Quality standards for the brand.

Get to know the brand of kombucha you plan to drink on a regular basis—what you can expect to find in your bottle, how often they're quality tested, and more. Just as you research many of the other foods you eat, do your research regarding kombucha so that you feel comfortable with your choice. 

Related: What is a SCOBY, and What Is It Made Of?

Watch Your Baby's Reactions

Sometimes, your baby is the best evidence of whether drinking kombucha is an acceptable part of your breastfeeding diet. Babies have different responses to different things. You may find that drinking kombucha helps improve your baby's overall gut health since you will have a more diverse microbiome yourself and can help share that diversity with your infant. 

On the other hand, some babies may have responses to specific ingredients in kombucha, including types of tea and more. Pay attention to your baby's reactions, especially if you're having any problems with food consumption. Your baby will let you know if you're drinking or eating anything that upsets them. A food journal can help you better track what might be causing a specific reaction, including problems like gas or fussiness. 

When you know where your kombucha comes from and what goes into it, you'll feel much more confident, overall, about adding it to your diet--and about the benefits it can offer.

Benefits of Kombucha and Breastfeeding

Drinking kombucha while breastfeeding may offer some other noteworthy benefits that you haven’t yet considered alongside the ones we’ve discussed here:

  • Drinking kombucha can help you stay hydrated. Hydration is particularly important while breastfeeding since you'll need to take in enough water every day for both you and your baby. The great flavors of kombucha can make it easier for you to keep drinking throughout the day, which means you may take in water more easily. 
  • Drinking kombucha can help provide you with the energy you need. Taking care of a little one is exhausting, whether you're a stay-at-home mom or heading in to work every day. Breastfeeding may be a further drain on your resources. Drinking kombucha can provide you with what is, in many cases, a much-needed energy burst. 
  • Drinking kombucha may help improve your overall immunity. When you have a little one at home, you likely do your best to stay as healthy as possible so that you can avoid passing on any nasty germs to your baby. Since kombucha may contribute toward improving gut health, it may also help boost overall immunity, keeping you healthier so that you can provide the care your baby needs and keep them healthy and happy. 
  • When you drink kombucha, the probiotics, antioxidants, and other benefits may improve your gut health over time. Many things can upset the balance of bacteria in your gut (including some of the processed foods you may have been unable to resist while pregnant.) Kombucha offers a healthier option that can help restore that balance. 
  • Kombucha allows you to have a delicious beverage at the ready, avoiding other high sugar options that you might start to crave without an alternative.

Drinking kombucha can become an important part of your routine and help keep you healthier, happier, and more energetic for your little one. There are many delicious, carefully crafted kombucha options that allow you to enjoy your favorite flavors while providing great nutrition for your baby. Of course, you should always consult your doctor any time you have questions about how well kombucha fits into your diet.

Find a Carefully Crafted Kombucha and Enjoy the Moments

An organic, professionally-brewed kombucha with clear regulations in place can be the perfect, probiotic and antioxidant-rich beverage to include in your diet, even when you're nursing your little one. Whether you're sipping on a refreshing brew while feeding your baby or using it as a morning pick-me-up when your little one had you up at the crack of dawn, there are plenty of ways to incorporate kombucha into your diet. Are you looking for an organic kombucha option? Want to learn more about how your kombucha is brewed or how we craft the best ingredients into such a delicious beverage? Contact us at Brew Dr to learn more about our great line of kombucha options.

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