Health Watch: Java not to Blame for Sleepless Babies

Coffee was what kept me up during those late nights of studying in college; for expecting and new mothers, you’d think it would be their lifeline too! I figured caffeine was the fuel that helped them during long, sleepless nights with their newborns.

But to my surprise, drinking caffeine has been a concern for many mothers. It’s been believed that mothers should cut down on their coffee habit because of adverse affects that could affect the sleeping patterns of their bundles of joy. However, researches have found that coffee does not affect your child’s sleeping habits.

This doesn’t necessarily mean you can keep drinking that Grande Double Mocha you crave each morning, but studies have failed to show any heightened risk correlating between a mother’s caffeine intake and sleeplessness in her child.

Heavy coffee drinkers are defined as consuming about 300 milligrams or more of caffeine per day via coffee or any caffeinated beverage. “In 2010, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) said that 200 milligrams of caffeine a day —  about the amount in a 12-ounce cup of coffee — probably did not carry pregnancy risks.”

In an article in HealthDay, Brazilian researchers conducted an analysis of sleeping patterns of more than 4,200 infants until the age of 3 months. The mothers of these infants had light caffeine consumption before and after delivery. Led by Dr. Ina Santos of the Federal University of Pelotas in Brazil, the study was designed to analyze the possibility that caffeine linked to disrupted sleeping patterns in newborns and babies. Of the 4,200 babies, 885 mothers were interviewed after delivery and three months later to gauge their caffeine-drinking habits. Each baby was then examined after delivery and had follow-up exams three months later. Santos and her colleagues stated that all but one mother consumed caffeinated beverages.

Twenty percent of the mothers were considered to be heavy consumers and 14 percent had heavier caffeine consumption three months after giving birth. About 14 percent of the babies frequently woke up during the night. There was some indication that nighttime wake-ups were more prevalent with babies whose mothers were heavy caffeine drinkers during pregnancy and nursing, but Santos claims these numbers were still not significant.

‘Nighttime wakening among babies that age can be due to so many different things,’ Lona Sandon, a registered dietitian and assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern in Dallas said. ‘So to tease out caffeine’s role is going to be very difficult.’

Caffeine can cause sleep disruption among adults, but researchers aren’t finding any hard evidence that java consumption, at any particular level, is directly connected to the sleep pattern disruptions of babies.

Cooking with Kaylie: Espresso Graham Cracker Cookies

Espresso Graham Cracker Cookies IngredientsAs summer inches closer, so do the cravings for the most delicious of summertime foods: S’mores. So, what’s a girl to do when it isn’t quite campfire weather? Make Espresso Graham Cracker Cookies, of course!

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon ground espresso (I used Velton’s Twilight Blend)
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips
  • Cooking spray

Directions

  • Mix butter and sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy
  • Mix in egg and vanilla
  • Stir together ground espresso, flour, graham cracker crumbs, salt, and baking soda in a separate bowl
  • Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture and stir until well combined
  • Stir in the chocolate chips
  • Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray
  • Drop tablespoons of cookie mixture onto lined cookie sheet, giving each cookie plenty of room to spread out during baking
  • Cook at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes, or until lightly browned
  • Let cool on cookie sheet for 3-5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack

You may have noticed a few things, like that these cookies don’t have marshmallows Espresso Graham Cracker Cookies(an integral ingredient in s’mores) or that traditional s’mores don’t have espresso in them. All I can say is that 1) everything tastes better when you add espresso and 2) wait until you see Brandi’s beverage on Thursday!

The cookies are pretty delicious and you can’t really go wrong with them. Plus, they’ll hold you over until the weather is nice enough for camping!