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!

Staying hydrated during pregnancy

Last weekend, while laying poolside in the 104 degree Las Vegas heat, from the corner of my eye I saw a glowing preggers. She was probably a good 7 months, laying in her gold studded tankini soaking up the rays like the rest of us. After thinking, “wow she looks great”, quickly my overprotective mama bear doc personality kicked in and I had to physically hold myself back from walking up to her to hand her a cup of ice cold water!
Keeping hydrated is extremely important during pregnancy, especially in the later months when you are at risk of preterm labor. Normally one should drink 6-8 glasses of water per day, but a pregnant women should try to have anywhere from 8-12 glasses daily, if not more while in the heat. Keeping hydrated is extremely important not only during your pregnancy, but also during the postpartum period. Adequate hydration helps the liver and kidney function both in mom and baby; it helps the cells of the liver flush all the toxins out. Also, during pregnancy, the body’s blood volume increases, therefore you need to keep hydrated to help your body in as its fluid volume expands. Poor hydration can lead to the obvious like constipation, thirst and fatigue, but it can also increase your risk of preterm labor, worsening braxton hicks contractions and even miscarriage.

Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink water. More chances than not, by the time your body signals your thirst, you are already dehydrated. I always recommend filing a large water bottle and sipping it throughout the day. I personally love my bobble. I fill it in the morning and sip it throughout the day. When it runs out I can easily refill it from the sink at work because it has a filter attached to it so it does not matter what water source you use (now don’t go using river water or anything ;-)). Whatever your reservoir for water is, find one that fits your lifestyle. Try to stay away from beverages with high amounts of sugar or caffeine. These drinks not only do not count towards your daily total hydration, they actually subtract from it because they do just the opposite and dehydrate you. Remember, water, water, and more water! What’s your favorite way to stay hydrated?!?!