While you’re breastfeeding, don’t forget to drink enough water

Breastfeeding mom drinking water

The composition of water in breast milk is 88 percent while solid content accounts for the remaining 12 percent and nothing can change these figures. Water has no harmful effects on the body of the mother but rather helps in its functioning.

Lactating mothers need to drink enough water just like any other ordinary man or woman. Otherwise, the breastfeeding mother risks exposing her brain to a lack of oxygen. Water not only cleans the body organs but also acts as a circulation agent.

However, many mothers believe water dilutes breast milk.

Some women also believe that one needs to take a few drops of water before breastfeeding to prevent the milk from coagulating. They believe coagulation can cause the baby to be constipated. 

Others also believe that women should not breastfeed a baby immediately after a long journey - You should not breastfeed a baby just after reaching your home from a trip since, at that time, breast milk is very warm and can cause harmful consequences to the baby.

These beliefs are passed on from one generation to another. 

Contrary to popular belief, moms don’t produce more milk if they drink more fluids, but you may produce less milk if you reduce your liquid intake and even more so if you’re dehydrated. Your baby could become dehydrated as well if he doesn’t have unrestricted access to breast milk due to limited production.

“The nutritional content of the milk might change if you are dehydrated which can lead to adverse health effects for both you and your baby if dehydration lasts for more than one or two days,” says Dr du Plessis.

While breastfeeding your body can be more sensitive to dehydration. Water is a staple for a good health. Discover how much water breastfeeding moms should drink while breastfeeding. 

Independent midwifery consultant, Dr. Diana du Plessis recommends that breastfeeding moms drink between eight and 10 glasses of fluid or water per day to stay hydrated. Not only do nursing moms need the recommended amount of water for adults, but additional liquids are also required to make up for what your body uses in milk production. Good sources of fluids include water, fruit and vegetable juices, milk, and soups.

How to Make Sure You Are Drinking Enough

While drinking water throughout the day sounds easy enough, it can be a challenge for some people to keep track of how much water they are drinking. One of the simplest ways to gauge how much water you need is to listen to your body. When you are thirsty, that’s your body telling you its time to hydrate. A good rule of thumb is to drink enough to quench your thirst and then a little bit more. By the time your body recognizes that it’s thirsty, you’re already dehydrated and it will take a little bit more to replenish your system, especially if you are nursing.

Sometimes the weather can also be an indicator of when you need to drink more. If the temperature is rising or you are in a dry environment, you’re going to lose moisture quicker. Anytime you’re sweating, you should make sure you’ve got a glass of water in your hand.

When you’re at home, you should always have some water nearby. You may be surprised to find out how much more water you drink even when you aren’t feeling thirsty just because you’ve got a glass sitting next to you. If you’re heading out, be sure to keep a few bottles of water in your diaper bag or purse. Another trick is to eat foods that have high water content. Snack on juicy fruits and vegetables like watermelon, oranges, grapes, cucumbers, and celery.

Signs That You Need to Drink More Water

Dehydration can be a serious issue for nursing mothers as it can impact milk production. A decreased supply of breast milk could mean that you need to drink more water. Other symptoms of dehydration include:

  • Dry mouth

  • Dizziness

  • Fatigue

  • Weakness

  • Headaches

  • Infrequent urination

  • Dark or brown-colored urine

If you notice any of these symptoms, consider how much water you’ve been drinking. Even if you’ve been drinking 10 glasses a day, you may need more. If your symptoms are caused by dehydration, you should notice that they disappear pretty quickly after increasing your daily intake of water.

Can You Drink Too Much Water When Breastfeeding?

Yes, it is possible to drink too much water, but it is unlikely. Drinking too much water too fast can cause a dangerous reduction in your body’s sodium levels, known as hyponatremia. Remember that your kidneys can only process about half a liter of liquid at most in an hour. Studies show that drinking an excessive amount of water while nursing can actually cause a drop in your supply of breast milk. It can also decrease your hunger, preventing you from getting the proper nutrition you need from food.

The Importance of Clean, Safe Water

While it’s important to make sure you are staying hydrated if you are breastfeeding, you also need to consider what you are drinking. Fruit juices can be loaded with sugar, filling you up with empty calories that could cause extra weight gain. Diuretics like coffee, tea, and caffeinated sodas increase your urination and can actually dehydrate you. Water really is one of the best options to stay hydrated when you are nursing.


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