The importance of staying hydrated while breastfeeding

Posted on June 9th, 2014

Independent midwifery consultant, Dr Diana du Plessis gives us the low-down on how much liquid nursing moms should be drinking on a daily basis.

Breast milk alone is the ideal nourishment for babies during the first six months of life. It contains all the nutrients, antibodies and hormones that a baby needs to thrive. Babies who are breastfed through the first year of life have fewer illnesses and a lower chance of death and serious illnesses as breast milk protects them from diarrhoea and acute respiratory infections.

Increase your chances of successful breastfeeding with these handy hydration tips:

Independent midwifery consultant, Dr Diana du Plessis recommends that breastfeeding moms drink between eight and 10 glasses of fluid or water per day to stay hydrated. Not only do nursing moms need the recommended amount of water for adults, but additional liquids are also required to make up for what your body uses in milk production. Good sources of fluids include water, fruit and vegetable juices, milk and soups.
According to www.mayoclinic.org is best to limit your intake of sugary drinks, as too much sugar can contribute to weight gain. They also recommend that breastfeeding moms limit their caffeine intake to two or three cups a day as caffeine in your breast milk might agitate your baby or interfere with his sleep.

Contrary to popular belief, moms don’t produce more milk if they drink more fluids, but you may produce less milk if you reduce your liquid intake and even more so if you’re dehydrated. Your baby could become dehydrated as well if he doesn’t have unrestricted access to breast milk due to limited production.
“The nutritional content of the milk might change if you are dehydrated which can lead to adverse health effects for both you and your baby if dehydration lasts for more than one or two days,” says Dr du Plessis.

3 Signs that you’re dehydrated

  • Your milk supply might decrease
  • You’ll notice that your breasts don’t feel as full of milk as they usually do
  • You might develop cramps in your muscles while you hold your baby as he nurses.

 

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