Drink a minimum of 8 cups of water a day for optimal breastfeeding health.

How Much Water Do Nursing Mothers Need to Drink?

by Lori A. Selke

Nursing mothers need to maintain regular fluid intake to avoid dehydration and keep up their milk supply. After all, their bodies are busy making a great deal of fluid for their babies to consume each day, and those fluids need to be replenished. Water is the ideal liquid for nursing mothers to drink, although there are some suitable alternatives you can try for variety's sake.

Daily Fluid Intake

The amount of fluids you should drink each day will vary according to several factors including how much breast milk your baby is drinking. Drink a minimum of 8 cups of water or the equivalent each day. Drink more if you've been exercising or exerting yourself or in hot weather.

Drink When You're Thirsty

Put a water bottle or container near you while you breastfeed to help remind you to hydrate and also because many women feel thirst while they are in the midst of a feeding. A straw top can make it convenient and reduce spills. Drink small amounts frequently throughout the day, definitely whenever you feel thirsty and preferably before.

Warning Signs

If your urine is dark yellow, you could be running low on fluids. Another sign of mild dehydration is feeling run-down, so if you're out of energy, try drinking a big glass of water first, perhaps accompanied by a snack. The good news is that your breast milk supply will probably be fine even if you're slightly dehydrated.

Alternatives to Water

If you're sick of drinking water all the time, try drinking milk, broth and clear soups, herbal tea or pure fruit juice. Avoid caffeinated beverages -- the caffeine can pass through your breast milk and cause agitation in your newborn baby. Avoid sugary drinks as all they provide are extra calories.

About the Author

Lori A. Selke has been a professional writer and editor for more than 15 years, touching on topics ranging from LGBT issues to sexuality and sexual health, parenting, alternative health, travel, and food and cooking. Her work has appeared in Curve Magazine, Girlfriends, Libido, The Children's Advocate, Decider.com, The SF Weekly, EthicalFoods.com and GoMag.com.

Photo Credits

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