Tea for new moms like Katherine, the Duchess of Cambridge

Kate Middleton drinking tea in Kuala Lumpur from km-dofc on tumblr resized

The Duchess of Cambridge drinking tea on the Royal Jubilee Tour in Kuala Lumpur. Photo: KM DofC on tumblr.

Katherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, expressed her love for tea last year at her first official public appearance with Queen Elizabeth and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, to 306-year-old Fortnum & Mason, when the department store’s restaurant was renamed The Diamond Jubilee Tea Station in the Queen’s honor.  Katherine said “this is so interesting. I would really like to learn to make the perfect cup of tea as when I last made a pot of tea with dried tea leaves I got it very wrong.”  Tea shop staff obliged and demonstrated making the perfect pot of tea, and hopefully Katherine has had a chance to use her newly-learned tea-making skills.

When pregnant, it was reported that the Duchess of Cambridge craved black teascones, and lavender biscuits.  Now that she is a mother, however, Katherine’s dietary needs have changed. Since she is breastfeeding, she shouldn’t drink caffeine freely, as she could before her pregnancy, although a bit will probably be welcome from time to time to combat the fatigue that is common to new mothers, especially once she resumes making royal appearances on September 12th.

As she rests at her parents’ home in the country, Katherine should be able to indulge in a calming cup of tea each day.  While there’s no official consensus on the topic, many doctors believe that drinking 1 to 2 cups of tea per day is safe for a nursing mother and her baby.  Many recommend that the mother enjoy her cup of tea after nursing her baby, in order to minimize the amount of caffeine that passes to the child through the milk.  There is some question about green tea and its effect on a nursing mother’s folic acid levels, however.

On the other hand, tea-drinking is so much a part of Asian cultures that pregnant women, nursing mothers, and children of almost all ages drink tea as they have every day for centuries, with no (reported) caffeine-related health problems.  De-caffeinated black tea, however, is generally thought to be safe for most nursing mothers, although it still contains trace amounts of caffeine.

As for herbal teas, so-called “mother’s milk”, “nursing” or “breastfeeding” teas have not been proven to be either safe or effective for increasing milk production, despite numerous testimonials to the contrary and recommendations from naturopaths.  During pregnancy, while it is tempting to use herbal tisanes to combat discomfort, expectant mothers are encouraged to proceed as slowly and carefully when considering herbal remedies as they would when considering commercial pharmaceuticals.  The reason for this is the fact that there haven’t been enough studies done on the subject of the safety of natural remedies and herbal infusions during pregnancy and breastfeeding, and the FDA encourages caution.

The result of all this contradictory information?  A vague answer that a new mother doesn’t really want to hear, but the only one an online article can give: check with your doctor! You might also want to sign up for the American Pregnancy Association Natural Medicines online database.

Copyright 2013, Elizabeth Urbach.

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For more information:

“Tea and the mold-free diet”
“Chinese black tea in San Jose”
“Japanese tea from San Jose’s Japantown”
“Can you really de-caffeinate your tea in 30 seconds?”
“The top 10 tea myths: don’t be fooled by any of them!”
“What you need to make a good pot of hot tea”
“Tea 101: How to brew a pot of hot tea using loose tea”
“Stay up late with tea on New Year’s Eve”
“5 ways to treat cold and flu symptoms with tea”
“What are the different kinds of green tea available in San Jose?”
“Have an English tea and Royal Wedding-viewing party”
“2012 Olympics-watching calls for tea and British food”
“Pregnant Kate Middleton craves tea and scones”
“Kate Middleton will be back in the limelight after the birth of Prince George”
“Kate Middleton will breastfeed Prince George, but won’t be a pinup for it”
“Kate Middleton, the Queen and Duchess of Cornwall on official visit to Fortnum & Mason”
American Pregnancy Association Natural Medicines database
“Can you drink green tea while breastfeeding?”
“Black tea”
“Green tea and breastfeeding”
“Breastfeeding and caffeine”
“Is caffeine consumption safe during pregnancy?”
“What effect does the mother’s consumption of caffeine have on the breastfeeding infant?” La Leche League
“Consequences on the newborn of chronic maternal consumption of coffee during gestation and lactation: a review.” Nehlig, A., Debry, G.  _Journal of American College Nutrition_,1994.
“Herbal safety for nursing moms”
“Review of 5 nursing teas”
“Herbal tea and pregnancy”

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