Now that you are lactating, you might want to know how much water you should drink. Eight glasses a day? Ten glasses a day? How does it affect your bladder? Does it thin your breast milk? As a mother, these thoughts are quite natural. If you have dwelled on these questions or heard about them, you might want to read our post. Here we look at how much water to drink while breastfeeding.
Water and its consumption are good for our health; the sentence is passé. How important is water consumption during breastfeeding? Many of us fail to connect the link between breastfeeding and drinking water. When you are expecting, the importance of drinking water only increases. Considering your body is close to 70% water, you need to drink more water than normal while you breastfeed.
When I first gave birth to my baby, I often felt an energy drain, which would lead to severe dehydration. I kept wondering about the reason. I kept feeling exhausted and could not understand what was wrong. I was failing to maintain my energy levels. As I spoke to my doctor, I realized that I wasn’t drinking enough water. I realized how important it was to drink water while breastfeeding my baby. All along, I had been missing out on important nutrients and so was my baby.
The Connection Between Breastfeeding And Water:
If you are wondering how drinking water and breastfeeding are connected, wonder no more. Here is an answer to all your questions. To put it simply, breastfeeding is the process through which your infant gets her nutrients. The nutrients are in the liquid form of your breast milk, which means that your body is losing water while you breastfeed your baby. So, you need to drink more water to compensate for the loss (1).
Drinking Water During Breastfeeding:
Drinking enough water is important, and it is vital you understand how to regulate your water intake to maintain a balance. Some symptoms will help you know when to increase your water intake while breastfeeding.
Make sure that your urine does not turn yellow. Yellow means that your body is running on reserve fuel i.e. is dehydrated, and your infant is not getting the essential nutrients as effectively as otherwise. The color also occurs due to the re-absorption of nutrients in the kidney. So, make sure you drink enough water and avoid such symptoms of dehydration.
The next question that may come to your mind: can you substitute water with other fluids, like fruit juices or milk? Fruit juices contain a high level of sugar, which might have adverse effects on you and your infant’s health. They might provide energy, as they are rich in sugar, but the adverse effects outweigh any temporary benefits.
Filtered tap water is the best drink to hydrate your body. When you are breastfeeding, the body releases a hormone oxytocin, which makes you feel thirsty. Keep a bottle of water handy. Do not forget it is only natural to feel thirsty while breastfeeding. There is nothing to worry, if you feel extremely thirsty while feeding.
Ninety percent of your breastmilk is water, which is indeed a huge percentage. Thus, it becomes important that you keep your water consumption levels up so that you get enough water and don’t feel dehydrated. The old wives tale of water thinning your breast milk has no basis in fact. In fact, drinking more water does not affect the quality of your breast milk.
[ Read: Is Green Tea Safe While Breastfeeding ]
How Much Water Should You Drink?
Now, that you know that drinking water while breastfeeding is important, you must understand how much you need to drink. It is indeed funny to keep drinking water and not anything else. Well, research says that about 8-10 ounces of water is necessary when you are lactating. The frequency could be before or after breastfeeding. However, as a precaution you should know that too much of fluid in your body can initiate feedback mechanism in the body. The feedback mechanism can lead to reduced levels of milk supply.
Since breastfeeding is a round-the-clock job, it becomes very important to energize your body and keep it free from toxins. Drinking enough water helps eliminate harmful toxins from the body and keep it fit and healthy.
It is quite natural that you forget to drink enough water even after several reminders. And sometimes, it can be irritating. Just imagine you check your phone on that tingling noise to hear the alarm or reminders just to say “drink water.” Best practice is to keep a bottle of water always by your side. Overall, it will mark a good habit, apart from just being a pre-requisite for a feeding mother. Doctors recommend that you keep a check on the hydration levels of the body, and a new mother can do that by checking the urine color. The urine color is directly related to the level of water in your body.
Darker and yellow color urine, calls for a serious preventive action, as you might be suffering from mild dehydration, which can affect your little one’s health. It is important you strike the right balance between dehydration and over-hydration. As motherhood is an important yet delicate phase, being a little extra careful will always help.
[ Read: Apple Juice While Breastfeeding ]
Having done some basic research myself, on how important it is to drink water while feeding my baby, I realized how unaware and ignorant I was on the basic concept of water. I would encourage all mothers to read this article, seek expert advice, and consume just the right amount of water while breastfeeding your baby.
Water is the basic element of life and is always important. It is the most refreshing and energizing drink you can have, no matter what all those energy drink companies might tell you. Remember to have enough water while you breastfeed your baby.
Hope you liked our post on how much water to drink while breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is the initial bonding between a mother and a baby, so sit back relax, but don’t forget to drink enough water. How much water did you drink when you were breastfeeding? Tell us here.
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