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A universal question asked by most moms – ‘How much water should I drink while breastfeeding?’ has happened to attract many eyeballs, considering the fact it hasn’t been talked about much, or in some cases, why too much.
Considering the expert opinion and the old wives’ tale who state more milk equals more milk, we have curated this list that includes facts and reasons about the same. So, sit back, get your choice of drink and read on to get answers that have remained unanswered for a long time.
Straight Up - How Much Water Should A Breastfeeding Mom Drink ?
With the constant reminder made by your partners, healthcare providers, elders, friends, and family while you get caught up in the new duties, you are expected to never forget to drink enough water to keep you hydrated. As reported, even a non-nursing woman should ideally drink about nine glasses of water, each day. Does the count change when breastfeeding?
The daily water intake that is recommended accounts for your baby’s needs. That means you would need to increase the intake by approximately three glasses each day which means you’ll need to consume about 12 glasses to ensure there is sufficient water for you and your baby.
Does Too Much Water Dilute Breast Milk ?
Not at all. Your body is made using approximately 60 percent of water, which means, about 87% of breast milk is water!
Water is essential to function, be it for digestion, flushing out toxins, it is a must for both of you. Adding on, there are other factors too that can drain water from your body that needs to be replenished. Such as hot weather, intense exercise, diarrhea, vomiting, or fever.
Importance Of Drinking Enough Water - Why Is It Important and How Does It Affect The Milk Supply ?
‘Eating for two’ – Have you heard of this phase while pregnant? We are sure you did, but is it also true for when breastfeeding? Yes! No matter what you eat or drink, everything impacts your and your baby’s health.
Listed below are a few reasons to help you understand why and how much water should you drink while breastfeeding:
1) First Things First, It Helps You Both Stay Hydrated
As you have been preparing to breastfeed your baby, your body is aware of the needs of the baby’s nutrition. This means some fluids in your body might divert the production of milk.
In due process, you will lose fluids and function optimally which might lead to dehydration and if not replenished, there is a huge chance for your baby to get dehydrated, resulting in the decrease of the milk supply.
Consuming water helps you stay hydrated, keeping both you and your baby healthy.
2) Prevents Constipation
In simple constipation it could be a nightmare, causing pain while trying to pass hard stools, especially when you’ve just gone through childbirth.
Therefore, to prevent the dreaded bathroom visits, or to prevent screaming in silence as you pass stool, it’s best to take an extra glass of water instead.
3) Milk Supply
Does drinking water increase milk production?
As per the research published in the Pediatrics journal, drinking lots of water might not necessarily increase the amount of milk you produce while breastfeeding.
Do not forget to look for foods that help increase the milk supply!
Nonetheless, if you do not have enough fluids in your body, the supply of the milk does get affected. And, low milk production indicates that your baby will spend more time suckling to satiate their hunger. Adding on, there is a huge chance that you would get dizzy, irritated, and/or experience pain in your breasts.
What Are The Signs That Indicate Dehydration ?
With no uniform indication, the signs could carry from one mom to the other. FOr instance, if you are thirsty it could mean mild dehydration, while dark urine makes it more evident that you need more water.
Listed below are a few signs that indicate dehydration:
- Chapped lips
- Fatigue or dizziness
- Muscle cramps
- Reduced milk supply
- Infrequent visits to the bathroom (Less than 4 visits in a day is a clear indication that something isn’t right).
Note – Mommies in the postpartum period are expected to go to the bathroom more often up to 8 weeks after birth. This is due to pressure on the bladder.
Brownie Points - How To Stay Hydrated ?
While you have a baby to take care of, we are sure you have your hands full most of the time and it could be a little harder to keep a track of the water you need to drink every day. Here are a few healthy tips that will help you stay hydrated all day long:
- If you have a favorite breastfeeding spot, make sure you keep a jug of water with a glass to keep drinking while you breastfeed your baby, along with a few healthy snacks
- Carry a water bottle wherever you go, even if you are at home. Make sure you have the bottle placed in sight as a reminder to take a sip now and then.
- If plain water isn’t your deal, try to infuse lemon, mint, cucumber, or even strawberries, as per your taste and preference.
- Minimize the intake of sugar as it hinders the absorption of water in the body.
- Consume foods that are high in water content. Such as cucumbers, watermelons, and soups.
- Avoid drinking caffeinated drinks such as sodas and alcohol, as they could cause dehydration.
- Try to download a hydration app on your phone to help keep a track of the water uptake.
To Conclude: Mamabear, Drink Up!
It is important to make sure and keep track of your water intake, especially in the initial days of postpartum. Not only does it keep you and your baby hydrated, but it also keeps you healthy, prevents constipation, and maintains the milk supply.
While we talk about breastfeeding, you should make sure that the surroundings are well equipped and comfortable. Do use the breastfeeding pillows to help maintain the angle while you breastfeed.