How much water should I drink while breastfeeding?

Photo by Lauren Archer @loveofalittleone

When you are nursing, you need to consume extra water in order to stay well-hydrated.– The IOM points out, “Given the extreme variability in water needs that are not solely based on differences in metabolism, but also in environmental conditions and activity, there is not a single level of water intake that would ensure adequate hydration and optimal health for half of all apparently healthy persons in all environmental conditions…” in general, lactating people need ~13 cups of water/day, but your body can use water from many sources, including veggies, fruit, soup, water, fruit/veggie juices, milk, tea and other beverages. The foods you eat accounts for about 1/5 of total fluid intake.

How much water should you be drinking while breastfeeding? There are some ridiculous answers out there. If your milk supply has dropped, helpful people may suggest chugging tons of water. Your lack of water intake is most likely not responsible for your decrease in breast milk and drinking too much water can inadvertently harm your milk supply.

When you drink too much water, your body tries to restore the electrolyte balance by dumping the excess water into your urine. This results in water being diverted away from your breasts, which in turn decreases milk supply.
🍉Water dense foods can be just as hydrating as plain water from the tap. The general rule is: drink to thirst, eat to hunger.
💧Keep a full water bottle by your favorite nursing spot 🛋. There is nothing more frustrating than desert mouth when you are stuck in a chair in the middle of let down with your babe.
💦Strategically place water bottles where you will see them as a reminder to drink: in your diaper bag, in your 🚗 car, by your desk at work and next to your 🔑 keys.
⏰If you really have mom brain, set an alarm for every hour and try to sip a few ounces each time the alarm goes off.
🍑Eat foods that have a high water content, such as melons🍈 🍉 , cucumbers 🥒, salad 🥗 and 🥣 soup
🧉Spice it up by adding fruit, a small amount of juice or a squeeze of lemon or lime to your water
☕️Coffee, tea and soda will dehydrate you, so try to limit caffeinated beverages