How much water should a nursing mother drink?
There are a lot of opinions out there as to exactly how much a breastfeeding mother needs to drink while nursing her baby whilst also staying hydrated at the same time. However, the most sensible advice is to drink to thirst. There are so many variables that will determine how much fluids you need as a nursing mom. These include the climate where you live, activity levels, not taking into account every individuals metabolic rate.
Breastfeeding mothers will naturally find themselves becoming thirsty and this is your body’s message telling you to hydrate. If you are busy like most moms with a newborn make sure to have a fresh bottle or jug of water beside you when you need it.
Eat plenty of foods that have high water content such as fruits (watermelon, cantaloupe, strawberries, oranges) and vegetables for example cucumber and zucchini. “Eating your water” is just as beneficial as you will also consume beneficial minerals such as potassium and magnesium. This study (2019) showed that in China water from foods was the greatest contributor to the total water intake for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers.
Does breastfeeding dehydrate you?
Obviously breastfeeding means extra fluids will leave your body through your breastmilk. We can understand why moms why to ask “why am I so thirsty while breastfeeding”. However, as suggested that if you drink to thirst you are supplying your body with adequate levels of fluids.
If you feel you may have become dehydrated lookout for signs such concentrated urine (dark yellow color) and hard to pass stools (constipation).
Does drinking water increase breast milk?
There has been no evidence produced yet to say that drinking water or other fluids to thirst will increase the amount of breast milk that you will produce. Some nursing moms may worry and think they need to drink lots of water if they feel they are not giving their baby enough breast milk. A limited study in 2014 showed that extra fluids did not improve breast milk production.
La Leche League state that the most common causes of insufficient breast milk production include hormonal problems, breast surgery, prior breast or nervous system injury, or inadequate glandular tissue. This article explains how having implants could affect your milk production and tips that can increase your supply. Milk supply can also sometimes be affected after having a C-section.
This article discusses in depth the various reasons for low milk supply and what you can do to produce more milk. So to all moms out there just drink to thirst and no need to overdo with the water. If you feel you are not producing enough milk for your baby contact a lactation consultant for specialist advice or your health care provider.