How Much Water Should You Drink When Breastfeeding?
Breastfeeding unlocks a number of benefits for both mother and baby. This super drink is a nutritious blend of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, and active ingredients. The unique composition of breast milk makes it the ideal drink for infants and provides all your baby needs to grow from a tiny newborn to a toddler. In addition, it also contains antibodies which provide many short and long term advantages for you and your baby.
Breastfeeding a baby is hard work. Milk production requires a lot of energy and hydration. Most nursing mums feel thirstier as a result, which begs the question – how much water should you drink when breastfeeding your baby?
Is water important for nursing mums?
Staying hydrated is just as important when breastfeeding as it is during pregnancy. Drinking water unlocks numerous plus-points for every individual. It improves energy levels, aids brain function, prevents headaches, and promotes healthy digestion to name but a few things.
As 90% of your breast milk is water, getting the fluids you need every day will help you to make and maintain a healthy supply that ensures you and your baby continue to receive the health benefits that breastfeeding brings.
How much water is enough when breastfeeding?
Many experts recommend the usual six to eight glasses of water and non-caffeinated drinks per day for nursing mothers. Some recommend that breastfeeding mums drink extra fluids as certified lactation consultant Kelly Bonyata describes:
“The Institute of Medicine notes that the median amount of fluids typically consumed by breastfeeding mothers is 3.1 liters (13 cups), compared to 2.2 liters/9 cups for non-pregnant/lactating women and 2.3 liters/10 cups for pregnant women. This is not necessarily the exact amount of water you yourself will need.”
Your individual intake depends on several factors, from your age and height – to your activity levels and environment. Listening to your body, and simply satisfying your thirst in response, is recommended for staying hydrated when nursing. Forcing fluids and drinking too much water can have adverse effects.
What can I do to stay hydrated when nursing?
As we mentioned listening to your body and being able to recognise and respond to the signs of thirst will guarantee great hydration and health during breastfeeding and beyond. You should also take note of your surroundings. For instance, if the weather is warm or you’ve been more active than usual, you may require additional fluids.
Instead of ruthlessly keeping track of your water intake (after all, who’s got time for that when there’s a baby to look after!), simply make sure that water is accessible when you do need to quench your thirst.
Keep a water bottle in your changing bag or in the pushchair for easy access on the go. You can also make a habit of sipping water by drinking just before and after each feeding session.
Enjoy staying hydrated by choosing drinks that you love. Filtered water provides unrivalled hydration and taste as it’s free from impurities and odours. Other non-caffeinated beverages – such as milk, fruit juice, nursing teas, and green tea, will also aid hydration. Don’t forget to incorporate water-rich foods into your diet to hydrate from other delicious sources.