Is It Safe to Drink Red Bull When Breastfeeding?

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Written by Amy Kaczor RDN

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With the famous slogan, “Red Bull Gives You Wings,” Red Bull is a popular carbonated energy drink with a sweet and tangy flavor. However, many breastfeeding women wonder if Red Bull is safe to drink.

Overall, Red Bull is very high in caffeine and sugar and should be avoided completely or severely while breastfeeding. Consume no more than 300 milligrams of caffeine and 25 grams of added sugars daily.

From caffeine content to sugar-free varieties and symptoms to look out for, let’s dive into more information regarding drinking Red Bull while you are nursing. 

Can I Drink Red Bull When Breastfeeding?

The main concern regarding the consumption of energy drinks, such as Red Bull, while breastfeeding is the high amount of caffeine and sugar they contain.

Let’s talk about the caffeine content of a can of Red Bull. An 8.4 fluid ounce can of Red Bull has a whopping 80 milligrams of caffeine. For reference, a cup of coffee has an approximate caffeine content of 95 milligrams.

While pregnant women should limit their daily caffeine intake to no more than 200 milligrams, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that breastfeeding women consume no more than 300 milligrams of caffeine per day. Three hundred milligrams of caffeine is equivalent to two or three cups of regular coffee.

The CDC’s recommendation stems from the fact that caffeine in a mother’s diet can pass to breastfed babies through her breast milk. Since these babies cannot metabolize caffeine quickly, it can accumulate in their bodies.

Eating or drinking very large amounts of caffeine can even cause noticeable symptoms in the baby. More on this below! 

red bull energy drink in can and ice

However, there is no need to worry or panic, as sticking with the recommended 300 milligrams of caffeine or lower is very unlikely to cause any adverse health effects to your baby.

Similarly, an 8.4 fluid ounce can of Red Bull contains 27 grams of sugar. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends consuming no more than 25 grams of sugar daily for women. In other words, drinking one small can of Red Bull already exceeds your daily sugar recommendation. 

Consuming excessive amounts of sugar can get stored as fat and contribute to obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. Therefore, it is best to limit your sugar consumption to the recommendation from the AHA.

But what about the sugar-free Red Bull variety? Let’s discuss the differences. 

The sugar-free Red Bull variety replaces the regular sugar with aspartame and Acesulfame-K. These non-nutritive sweeteners are safe to consume while breastfeeding (source: Aspartame; Drugs and Lactation Database).

Therefore, this can be a good option if you want to drink Red Bull without the added sugars. Additionally, the sugar-free Red Bull only contains 10 calories as opposed to the 110 calories in the traditional Red Bull. 

However, it is essential to note that the sugar-free Red Bull also contains 80 milligrams of caffeine, just like the traditional version.

What Are Potential Side Effects of Drinking Red Bull When Nursing? 

Red Bull, like most energy drinks, has very high caffeine levels. Caffeine is a diuretic that causes the body to get rid of water through increased urination. This diuresis effect can contribute to dehydration.

red bull energy drink in can

While dehydration will not necessarily impact your milk supply, dehydration can manifest as extreme thirst, fatigue, dizziness, confusion, and more (source: Mayo Clinic). 

Additionally, the CDC recommends monitoring your baby for signs of fussiness or irritability when you consume high amounts of caffeine. If you notice these symptoms, you should consider lowering your consumption of caffeine. However, these symptoms are unlikely unless your daily intake is equivalent to consuming ten cups of coffee.

I Drank Red Bull When Breastfeeding: Should I Worry?

If you have consumed Red Bull while breastfeeding, there is no need to worry. As mentioned above, monitor your baby for fussiness, irritability, insomnia, poor sleeping patterns, and jitteriness. If these symptoms appear, significantly lower your caffeine consumption.

Overall, it is best to avoid Red Bull and instead opt for beverages with lower levels of caffeine and sugar.

I hope this article helped break down whether Red Bull is safe to consume while breastfeeding.