How Much Water Should You Drink When Breastfeeding?
Breastfeeding is a wonderful way to bond with your baby and give them the necessary nutrients. But it also requires lots of fluids, especially during the first few weeks after birth. Breast milk production uses a lot of water, so you must replenish yourself by drinking plenty of fluids. How much should you drink?
To compensate for the extra water used in making milk, mothers need approximately 16 cups each day, which can be obtained from food, drinks, and drinking water.
The best way to ensure you get enough fluids while breastfeeding your baby is to drink a large glass of water during each feeding. Here's what you need to know more about breastfeeding and dehydration:
When breastfeeding, how much water should I drink?
Breastfeeding moms shouldn't feel guilty about drinking plenty of water during pregnancy and lactation. It's important to hydrate both mom and baby throughout the process.
But since there isn't a set amount of water that women should consume while breastfeeding, the best way to determine how much fluid you need depends on your health and lifestyle.
Thirst is a sign that you are already dehydrated. During breastfeeding, drinking before feeling thirsty is your goal. About 90% of breast milk is water.
A three-month-old baby drinks 32 to 48 ounces of milk daily, which amounts to 6-8 ounces every eight hours. Therefore, drink about another liter of water daily to replace the lost water.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that mothers breastfeed exclusively for six months, followed by continued breastfeeding and complementary foods such as formula or solid food.
During this period, moms should drink eight to ten glasses of water daily. However, many new mothers struggle to meet those goals because of sleep deprivation, work responsibilities, and lack of access to clean water.
The Effects of Hydration on Milk Supply:
According to common sense, water and other fluids can help boost a waning milk supply. However, drinking more fluids isn't shown to increase milk supply, production, or supply to infants, according to studies conducted on milk.
It is important to keep hydrated, but drinking too little can result in dehydration, negatively affecting your health in the long run. Getting enough fluids ensures your body functions at its optimum level.
Is overhydration good for breastfeeding?
If your breast milk production has dropped, you might hear people tell you to "chug some water." But you probably shouldn't do it.
Your body needs enough fluids to function properly, but drinking too much can reduce your milk supply. One study found that women who drank more than 2 liters of fluid per day had lower levels of prolactin. This hormone helps stimulate breast milk production.
In addition, drinking too much water can cause your body to flush out potassium, magnesium, calcium, sodium, and chloride – minerals essential for maintaining healthy blood pressure and regulating muscle contraction.
So what's the answer? First, drink according to your thirst level. Check your urine frequently to see how much water you're getting in. And make sure you're eating foods rich in potassium, such as bananas, oranges, and dark leafy greens like spinach and kale.
How to know you need water?
If you're thirsty – you're already slightly dehydrated. But how much does it take to tip into "dehydration"? A recent study found that people usually know mild signs of thirst, like dry mouth, headache, and fatigue.
However, most people don't realize just how important hydration is. Even slight dehydration can cause problems such as muscle cramps, headaches, dizziness, confusion, irritability, and poor concentration.
Check your urine color to determine if you are drinking enough water. For example, dark yellow indicates adequate fluid intake; pale yellow suggests you could use some more. You can also keep track of how often you drink throughout the day. Drinking eight glasses of water daily is recommended.
Sing to know you are well hydrated:
You don't feel thirsty because you are getting enough water throughout the day, says Dr. Jennifer Landa, a board-certified lactation consultant based in New York City. "The body is able to regulate how much fluid it needs," she explains.
If you drink too little during the day, your kidneys won't be able to process fluids efficiently, leading to dehydration. But if you drink too much, you could become dehydrated. So, what does that mean for nursing moms?
How do you know if you are drinking enough to keep yourself hydrated? Here are some signs you might want to pay attention to:
1. Your urine is clear or light yellow.
2. You don't feel thirsty.
3. You experience no side effects such as headaches, dizziness, or nausea.
4. You urinate frequently.
5. You have regular bowel movements.
6. You avoid caffeine, alcohol, and sugary drinks.
Drinks to Limit When Breastfeeding
When it comes to breastfeeding, there are certain drinks that you should definitely avoid. Here are some of the most common ones.
1. Coffee. Coffee contains caffeine, which suppresses the release of prolactin, the hormone responsible for lactation. So if you want to nurse, try drinking decaf coffee or tea. You could even drink hot water with lemon juice.
2. Alcohol. While alcohol doesn't directly affect breast milk supply, it does cause dehydration, which leads to a lower milk supply. Try to stick to one glass of wine daily and avoid alcoholic beverages altogether during pregnancy.
3. Carbonated soft drinks. These contain phosphoric acid, which causes the body to retain calcium. This can lead to bone loss, especially in young children. Avoid sodas, juices, and sports drinks. Instead, stick to plain water or unsweetened herbal teas.
4. Diet soda. As mentioned above, carbonated soft drinks contain phosphoric acid, and diet versions do too. Unfortunately, they also contain artificial sweeteners like aspartame, which can interfere with normal brain development.
5. Tea. Herbal teas like green tea contain antioxidants, but black tea has been linked to an increased risk of miscarriage. Green tea is fine, though.
6. Water. Plain old H20 is best. Don't add anything else to it.
7. Sugar-sweetened beverages. Sugary drinks like fruit punch, cola, and other sugar-filled beverages can make you crave sweets. Plus, they contain empty calories that aren't good for your baby's growth.
8. Sports drinks. These are full of electrolytes but contain added sugars and artificial ingredients. Stick to plain water instead.
9. Juices. Fruit juices are loaded with sugar, so limit them to once or twice a week.
Water Intake Tips
Drinking a glass of water before or during breastfeeding is a good thing to keep your baby hydrated.
Make sure you establish a breastfeeding station near your favorite place to nurse with a water bottle that you can fill between feedings and fruit with a high water content (cucumbers, oranges, watermelons) to keep your baby hydrated.
A squeeze of lemon or a small amount of juice can enhance your water's flavor. The other option is to download an app that can help you keep track of what water you consume throughout the day.
How Much Water Should You Drink When Breastfeeding? FAQs:
1. What is the best water intake for breastfeeding?
You should have 128 ounces (3.8 liters or 16 cups) of water daily. Your water intake is essential for your baby, too.
2. When it comes to pregnancy, what are the dangers of dehydration?
Dehydration during pregnancy can reduce a baby's growth.
3. Dehydration symptoms: what are they?
Symptoms of rapid dehydration include weakness and dizziness.
4. How does drinking water during pregnancy benefit you?
Your body needs that water too. Make the amniotic fluid in the womb that keeps your baby safe. Produces extra blood to supply your baby, Improves your digestion, Carries the extra nutrients you're eating, and removes waste products. Staying hydrated requires a conscious effort to have plenty of liquids.
5. Does drinking more water increase breast milk?
According to clinical evidence, increasing fluid intake does not seem to increase milk production.
Remember, breastfeeding should be a joyous experience for you and your baby. If you're worried about dehydration or don't feel like yourself when you breastfeed, it's time to reevaluate your water intake. You'll both be glad that you did. I hope our article has helped you in that chapter.