How much water should I drink while breastfeeding? This question mostly comes from many women across the whole world. Everyone has an expert opinion on this matter. Evidently, water is the most important and critical part of our existence. But this need for water is enhanced during breastfeeding. We have often seen that lactating mothers are in dire need of water, feel more thirsty during breastfeeding. They need to take more water to make up for the fluid loss while nursing the baby.
So, breastfeeding moms! you should drink enough fluids while you are thirsty. But don’t become a compulsive water drinker because drinking more water than you need would not produce more milk. Breast milk is about 90% of water so lactation consultants recommend that mothers need to drink the right amount of water i.e. extra 8 ounce glasses of fluid per day to stay well-hydrated.
Also remember that total fluid consumption not only includes drinking water but it is the combination of what you drink and what you eat i.e. alcohol and other beverages, tea, caffeine, meat, foods, vegetables, fruits, etc. Breast milk is the perfect nutrition that provides high-energy carbohydrates and proteins to your newborn. So, to provide all these essential materials to your baby, a breastfeeding mom should drink enough water to keep herself and her child hydrated.
The Link Between Breastfeeding And Water
As stated above, the nutrients in breast milk are the essential ingredients for the growth and development of your baby. There is a strong link between breastfeeding and taking water in. As you know that breastfeeding your child can make you feel dehydrated because of the loss of fluids. So to compensate for this loss, you must drink more water when you feel silk.
Most people think that continuing to drink too much water than necessary makes your breast milk thin or increases the milk supply. These are false and baseless ideas with no scientific reasons. Taking more fluids than your thirst does not affect the composition of breast milk and its supply. Keep in mind, the only reason to suggest a lactating mother drink extra fluids is just to keep her staying hydrated.
How Much Water Should The Nursing Mothers Take?
You need to pay attention to the balanced intake of water. Intaking balanced water means drinking fluids not less than your thirst (dehydration) and not more than your thirst (overhydration). Staying hydrated with a balanced water intake while breastfeeding is an important factor that affects the level of milk production.
The need of water water is different for different people. It depends upon your daily routine, how much physical work you do etc. However, experts recommend drinking 128 ounces of fluid per day, especially in hot weather. [source] Most babies breastfeed about 8 to 12 times a day, and this loss of fluid from your inside is balanced by consuming 8 glasses of water in a day while nursing your baby.
The other main factor by which breastfeeding mothers can check whether they are hydrated or not is checking their urine color. The pale yellow urine color indicates that you are taking enough fluids as needed. While the dark yellow color of urine indicates that your body’s mechanism is facing a deficiency of water and you need to take in enough water to meet its internal needs.
Hydration Affects Breast Milk Supply
If your milk production starts to drop, you need to drink more and more fluids which will help to give it a boost. However, as we have said previously, no research has shown yet that continuing to take in even more water over your needs will speed up the production of breast milk and affect your baby’s growth. When you drink more than your need, the homeostatic system in your body becomes activated, start restoring its electrolyte balance by draining excess water from urine. This draws the water away from your breasts and can reduce milk production over time.
Moreover, drinking water less than your body’s requirements can reduce your milk production. If you face such a situation, you have to see your doctor or you simply need to keep your balance in taking fluids while nursing your baby as breastfeeding is not aimed at drinking gallons of fluid at a time.
Hot Water Increases Breast Milk – Is It True?
Research has shown that moist heat or taking in hot water is essential for breast milk’s supply because the moist heat causes the stimulation of a hormone known as oxytocin that plays a role in activating the letdown reflex of the maternal body. Thanks to this hormone, your body will react more quickly to the baby’s sucking and the milk will flow more freely.
Drinks To Take While Breastfeeding
The drinks are suggested that keep you hydrated while breastfeeding. Like,
- Cow milk or nut milk either in liquid form or by putting in the cereals.
- Foods, Fruit, and vegetables with high water content such as watermelon, oranges, berries, cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuces, etc.
- Free of caffeine coffee or tea.
Take calcium in your diet from sources such as green leafy vegetables, cheeses, yogurts, and foods fortified with calcium, etc while nursing your little one.
Signs of Dehydration – You Aren’t Having Enough Water
No matter at which stage of life (trying to conceive, pregnancy, or breastfeeding) you are on, you must have a plan to hydrate yourself and drink grams of water to make sure you don’t get dehydrated. So, if you have less water than your need, your body’s homeostatic mechanism begins to show signs of dehydration.
So, let’s have a look at the side effects that dehydration can cause to nursing moms.
- Reduced milk supply.
- Muscle cramps.
- Parched or dry skin.
- Increased irritability.
- Feeling dizzy.
- Dry mouth and roughen lips.
- The dark yellow urine color.
Tips For Increasing Your Fluid Intake
Staying hydrated for pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers is as important as the health of their newborns. You and your child are connected. If you have enough water to hydrate yourself, it will positively affect your baby’s health.
We have come up with ideas that can help nursing moms intake more fluids when they feel thirsty or according to their needs while breastfeeding. So, let’s go ahead and learn more!
1- Keep Yourself Away From Dehydrating Drinks
You should strictly avoid drinking too many dehydrating drinks such as caffeine, soda, alcohol, tea, and others.
2- Lessen Your Sugar Intake
It is recommended to reduce your consumption of sugar. As intaking of sugar can hinder the absorption of water in the body and can cause hypohydration. So, avoid fruit juices.
3- Drink Water Before Breastfeeding
Drinking a glass of water before breastfeeding your little one is a great idea. You can also intake water during feeding if you need it.
4- Always Keep With Yourself A Water Bottle
You need to keep a bottle with yourself every time you feed your baby. In case if you need to feed at the workplace, keep a water bottle with yourself always in the diaper bag.
5- Use A Diet With High Water Content
You should take foods that have a high water content such as fruits like watermelons, vegetables like lettuces, cucumbers, tomatoes, and soups, etc.
6- Hydroflask – A Cold Water Bottle
If you are used to drinking cold water, you can buy a hydro flask that retains cold water in it.
7- Drink Other Drinks Too
Other than water, you can also try other fluids. For example, water with a good taste refreshing mint, fresh fruit with high water content such as strawberries, cucumber, and coconut juice, etc.
8- Use Lemon Water
Lemon juice is essential for you and your baby’s stomach and intestine and drinking it during breastfeeding can help to prevent digestive problems such as irregular bowels, bloating, and cramps, etc.
9- Set A Goal
You must set a target for yourself. Pour the required water into a large bottle and aim to finish it by the end of the day.
10- Hydration Reminder Apps
It’s the internet age. Free hydration reminder apps are available to help track your water intake. You can download any of them.
Breastfeeding or nursing your baby creates a strong bond between you and your little one. Enjoy this time with your little champ. But do not forget to drink enough water according to your body’s needs so that your child may benefit properly.
Stay hydrated, but avoid overhydration and dehydration. Remember to take the water in slowly at the beginning then gradually increase its consumption day by day until you meet the target you have set for yourself.
You may have questions in your head other than how much water should I drink while breastfeeding? such as, what is healthy food for a breastfeeding mother? Which fluids she has to take? etc. Call the Creekside Center for Women at 479.582.9268 to make an appointment with one of the center’s best lactation consultants who may guide you in the right direction regarding human lactation.