No matter your stage of life, hydration is always an important factor in overall health—but it’s especially important for women who are breastfeeding. Understanding how much water you should drink when you’re nursing is vital to helping you feel your best and maintaining a steady milk supply for your little one.
Why is Staying Hydrated Important When Breastfeeding?
When breastfeeding, your body needs extra water and nutrients to keep up your milk supply. Breast milk is predominantly water, so it’s important to replenish the fluids you lose every time your baby nurses.
In addition to maintaining your milk supply, water will also help keep your body healthy. It moves nutrients throughout your body, helps flush out toxins, improves joint health, aids sleep, and delivers a myriad of other health benefits that can help keep new moms feeling their best.
How Much Water Do You Need to Drink When Breastfeeding?
The amount of water needed while breastfeeding isn’t an exact science, and it will vary from person to person depending on milk output, activity level, climate or season, and several other factors. In general, you need to at least replace the amount of fluid being produced in breast milk every day. For example, if you produce an average of 30 ounces of breastmilk daily, you need to consume at least 30 ounces of extra water every day as well—on top of the general recommendation of 11.5 cups per day.
Be sure to also monitor your body for the initial signs of dehydration, like thirst or dark-colored urine. Catching your dehydration early on allows you to adjust before symptoms become too severe.
5 Tips for Staying Hydrated While Breastfeeding
Staying hydrated can be a challenge when you’re also juggling the responsibilities of parenthood. Use these easy-to-follow tips to help incorporate more fluids throughout your day.
1. Mix Up Your Beverages
Water isn’t the only way to stay hydrated. Add herbal tea, sparkling water, juice, or milk into the rotation to add flavor and keep you excited to drink more fluids. You can also try infusing still or sparkling water with your favorite fruits, vegetables, and herbs for a natural concoction that tastes delicious.
2. Incorporate Water-rich Foods
Foods high in water content can also help you hit your hydration goals. Cucumbers, celery, watermelon, pineapple, and berries are all great sources of fluids. Try adding them to at least one meal or snack throughout the day to boost your hydration—and so you can also enjoy a tasty treat.
3. Drink Every Time You Nurse or Pump
Creating a new hydration habit will help make drinking fluids a natural part of your daily routine. Every time you nurse or pump, aim to drink an 8-ounce glass of water. Try getting a large water bottle that you can keep handy throughout the day, so you’re not constantly refilling a water glass. This is not only more convenient but also helps you avoid disturbing your baby once you both get comfortable.
4. Limit Caffeine and Alcohol
Caffeine and alcohol are both natural diuretics, which means they actually increase dehydration. Studies suggest waiting at least 4 hours after drinking alcohol before breastfeeding or storing pumped breastmilk. Though moderate caffeine intake is acceptable while breastfeeding, it can do more harm than good when it comes to retaining the fluid your body needs.
Instead, swap out your daily coffee or latte for a decaffeinated alternative or try non-alcoholic wines or beers instead for the same flavor—without the dehydrating effects.
5. Try a Smart Water Bottle
Smart water bottles are a no-brainer for new parents. These bottles, like those from HidrateSpark, are designed to make hydration easy. The bottle glows at regular intervals throughout the day and will send you reminders when it’s time to drink. It also tracks every sip you take, so you can monitor the daily volume of fluids you’ve consumed. That way, it’s even easier to hit your hydration goals. In the HidrateSpark app, you can also connect with friends to stay on top of each other’s progress if you need an accountability buddy.
With the HidrateSpark Hydration Equation, you can track your personal hydration and activity by adding in “nursing” to your variables, modifying your drinking goals.
With tumblers, flip-lid bottles, and even bottles up to 32 ounces, there’s a style to suit everyone. Explore HidrateSpark's water bottles to find the right fit for your lifestyle and to stay healthy and hydrated throughout your breastfeeding journey.
Hannah Warne is a copywriter and journalist who loves bringing brands to life. With a background working for both global brands like Tiffany & Co. and Groupon and local businesses, Hannah loves to find the perfect words to tell the best story. Based in New York City, she loves to explore the city’s different neighborhoods by way of new restaurants, coffee shops, and bakeries.
Mayo Clinic - Water: How much should you drink every day?
WebMD - Foods High in Water
Nest Collaborative - What's A Normal Breast Milk Supply (And How To Prevent Under and Oversupply)