In nursing each of my three children, I haven’t found that my diet affected them much. Early in the mackerdoodle’s life I tried eliminating caffeine from my diet in the hope that she would sleep better; all that happened was that I was more tired. I’ve always tried to keep my coffee intake in check in the first six months of breastfeeding largely because caffeine dehydrates, and dehydration is a killer on milk supply, but other than that I’ve operated on business as usual.
The “as usual” in that phrase is the key.
Saturday evening, for some stupid reason, I had a large mug of coffee at 10:00 at night. I nursed the snickerdoodle at 11:30, as is our routine, and fell asleep at 11:45. The snickerdoodle woke up “talking” at 1:30 and nothing would settle her down. At 2:30 I brought her in to the living room to try to protect the sleep of the rest of the family and spent the rest of the wee hours doing the soothing bounce-walk-sway familiar to anyone who has tried to lull a baby to sleep.
It finally worked at 4:30 am. I was asleep by 5. The mackerdoodle woke up at 6:30. I believe the words that came out of my mouth were, “You are KIDDING ME!”
Snickerdoodle was out of sorts all day on Sunday, and despite operating on roughly three hours of sleep, I had no caffeine in any form hoping she would eventually fall asleep. We came home from church at 8 pm. The snickerdoodle and I (and the other two doodles) were in bed at 8:30. She (and therefore, I) slept hard almost all night, waking to eat only once, and I have no idea what time that was.
On Monday I continued to avoid caffeine, and the snickerdoodle returned to her happy, easy going, good sleeping self. I, on the other hand, felt like a wilted flower for much of the day. I think I can go back to my one cup in the morning routine now that I’ve managed to cleanse her system, but I will be much more diligent about leaving it there and you can be certain I’m not about to break out the french press after dinner any time soon. No amount of coffee tastes as good as sleep feels.