Breastfeeding and Water Intake

Breastfeeding and Water Intake

Several times a week I hear about moms who were told the more water they drink, the more breastmilk their body will produce. I see moms drinking 100 or more ounces of water a day in attempt to increase their milk supply. Sometimes when a mom reaches 100 ounces and her supply is still low, she is told to drink more! Understandably, most mothers will do almost anything to provide their babies with enough breastmilk, but drinking excessive amounts of water may actually hinder your milk supply and/or cause harm to your body.

It is true that your body needs more fluids while breastfeeding, but often your body will naturally cue your body to drink more water, as evidenced by the many mothers who suddenly feel desperately thirsty when they sit down to nurse. There is lots of variability in the amount of water a person needs. Weather, activity level, diet, weight, age, and metabolism are just some things that affect hydration.

As busy moms, we sometimes feel thirsty, but ignore signs of dehydration. Healthy moms equal happy babies! Teach yourself to pay attention to your body. Signs of dehydration might include thirst, dark urine (prenatal vitamins can change urine color), headache, muscle ache, dry skin and mucus membranes, or fatigue. Establishing routines like grabbing a glass of water before you sit down to nurse can also ensure that you stay appropriately hydrated.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to low milk supply. There are numerous reasons for low milk supply and depending on the reason, numerous ways to increase it. If you are concerned, please seek the help of a breastfeeding professional.

As I place the photo of this glass of water into my blog, I just realized how appealing it looks. Time to get a glass of water!

About the Author:

Leah Segura has been working with breastfeeding parents in the MidMichigan area for over a decade. She works as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) in private practice and volunteers through several organizations, advocating for parents in her community.

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