Hydration While Breastfeeding

water2You remember when you were pregnant everyone, including this blog, kept on telling you how important it is to stay hydrated while pregnant?!?! We’ll it’s just as important, if not more, while you are breast feeding. The only way to produce enough milk for your baby is to get enough fluid in to your own body. The minimum amount of fluid you need in a day to produce adequate milk is at least two liters worth…yes thats equivalent to the size of a large soda bottle (or 4 small 500ml water bottles). But don’t forget, this is the minimum amount and soda or any fluids that dehydrate your body do not count! The best thing you can have is just pure good old water, but juice, milk, etc can count towards your total daily fluid intake. If the weather is hot, don’t forget, you are losing some of your body’s water from your skin so you need to put even more water back into your body. If your newborn is not producing enough urine or poop…one reason could be he/she is not getting enough milk and is becoming dehydrated. It is important to increase your fluid intake to make more (adequate) milk so your newborn can have more to feed on. [If your baby continues to have changes in his/her urine or stool habits, please make sure you contact your baby’s doctor immediately]  Don’t forget to keep hydrated!

Breastfeeding

The first few days after your baby is born, do not expect to make much milk…in fact you only make about one ounce per day. Yup, that’s less than a shot of your favorite espresso or tequila (of course when your not breastfeeding ;-))…however you chose to measure it by! You’re probably thinking how is my baby supposed to get his/her nutrients to grow and better yet not starve on just one ounce of milk, but that’s all your little one needs the first few days of life!  Your initial milk, also known as colostrum, has all the nutrients your baby needs but in a very concentrated low volume form. Colostrum is more viscous (thick) and yellowish in color than you would expect milk to be. That’s because it is full of proteins, growth factors and antibodies that your baby needs. A newborn has immature immune and digestive systems. The antibodies in colostrum are passively passed on to your baby through your breast milk and helps protect him/her in the early state when their immune systems are not fully developed. Your colostrum also has important components for your baby’s immature digestive system including a laxative component that helps your baby pass their first stool, aka meconium…that black, sticky, tarry like poop! 

Put your worries aside. The best thing you can give your baby in the first few days of life is that measly one ounce of colostrum each day. Don’t give up on breast feeding even if you feel like nothing is coming out…don’t forget all of that trying only adds up to about one ounce for the first five days or so anyways. As the days go by, you will produce more milk, it will become more white and fluid like. Thats when it will start leaking and you will be wishing it was back to those colostrum days! Good luck!