breastfeeding

The Benefits of Drinking Water When Breastfeeding

breastfeeding

Do You Need to Drink More Water When You’re Breastfeeding?

Water is one of the nutrients we, as humans, cannot live without. While we know it’s important to drink enough water every day, it’s even more important if you are breastfeeding. The average adult woman needs approximately six to eight glasses of water per day, while a woman who is breastfeeding may need even more.

It is recommended that mothers who are nursing try to drink at least 10 glasses of water on a daily basis. The reasoning behind this is that while you are nursing, you produce an average of 25 to 30 ounces of milk in a day. Milk production requires additional hydration.

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 a 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.

If you are concerned about the quality of the water you are drinking, whether its tap water, bottled water, or filtered water, a simple home testing kit can show you exactly what is in your water.  With TestAssured’s Complete Water Testing Kit, you get all the tests you need to analyze your water for a variety of contaminants, including heavy metals, bacteria, and pesticides. The tests are easy to administer and give you results in minutes for most tests so that you can feel confident that you are drinking clean, safe water while you are breastfeeding.

 

 

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