Supporting Breastfeeding

La Leche League Canada

Chocolate and Breastfeeding

on October 26, 2015

At this time of year particularly, there seems to be lots of discussion about chocolate and whether breastfeeding mothers should not eat it.

The potential area of concern is a substance called theobromine.  Theobromine is a stimulant which has an effect on the body similar to caffeine.  Chocolate does not naturally contain caffeine although most discussions on the internet regarding the simulating effects of chocolate use caffeine interchangeably with theobromine (reference here).  There are some chocolate products which contain added caffeine. Theobromine is generally not an issue for breastfed babies unless mum is eating chocolate in very large amounts.


A small cup of brewed coffee contains about 130 mg of caffeine, a cup of decaffeinated coffee has about 3 mg of caffeine and an ounce of milk chocolate has about 6 mg of theobromine.  If mothers are consuming more than 750 mg of caffeine and/or theobromine a day they may find that their babies are irritable, fussy and don’t sleep for long periods.  Eliminating caffeine and theobromine sources for a week or two will help clarify whether the issue is caffeine related.

Theobromine is found in the cocoa solids.  Dark chocolate is dark in colour because it contains a greater percentage of cocoa solids and therefore it will contain higher levels of theobromine than milk chocolate.  White chocolate has no cocoa solids and therefore no theobromine.  More information about theobromine and human health can be found in the US National Library of Medicine ToxNet database.

For more information about caffeine and breastfeeding click HERE.

For more information about how what you eat affects your breastmilk click HERE.


If you need more information or have a breastfeeding problem or concern, you are strongly encouraged to talk directly to an accredited La Leche League Leader.  In Canada, Leaders can be located by clicking or Internationally


If you have found this article helpful, La Leche League Canada would appreciate your support in the form of a donation at  so we can continue to help others breastfeed. Thank you!


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