How to Know If You’re Dehydrated While Nursing
Did you know that around 75 percent of people are chronically dehydrated? Sounds scary, right? That’s hundreds of millions of Americans who are walking around with low energy and foggy brains in a water-craving haze. Most of them probably aren’t new mothers, though, which is where things get even more serious – being dehydrated while nursing is dangerous for you and your newborn. Keep reading to learn common breastfeeding problems and how to kick dehydration to the curb and increase your breastmilk production!
Common Breastfeeding Problems
Breastfeeding is the best way to get your newly-arrived bundle of joy the nutrients he or she need to grow. The American Academy of Pediatrics even recommends that your baby should be fed breastmilk only for their first six months. So, why do so many women struggle with it? Probably because there are a lot of breastfeeding problems and difficulties. These include:
- Engorged and uncomfortable breasts
- Sore or painful nipples (which can easily be soothed with organic breastfeeding cream)
- Difficulty latching
- Blocked ducts
- Making the time (especially true for single-parent families or moms working a high stress and demanding job)
- Perceived inadequate breastmilk production
There are more, but these are six of the most widespread breastfeeding problems. There are solutions to all of them, especially dehydration. Take a look at our guide of breastfeeding tips for more helpful info!
Signs of Postpartum Dehydration
Those last two breastfeeding problems – low breastmilk production and dehydration – are tied together. We’ll cover how to increase your breastmilk production, and why you might not need to, below. First, let’s take a look at how you can tell if you’re dehydrated.
The signs of postpartum dehydration aren’t much different from the signs of regular dehydration. These are things like:
- Dark urine
- Decreased breastmilk production
Doesn’t sound so pleasant, right? Getting hydrated isn’t as difficult as many women think, though. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends 12 cups (96 fluid ounces, 2.8 liters) of water each day for nursing mothers. A good rule of thumb is to drink a cup of water every time you feed your baby and carry a water bottle with you throughout the day.
Remember that caffeine is a diuretic. Although it’s fine to drink a couple of cups of coffee each day – only one percent of caffeine consumed ends up in your breastmilk, so your baby is safe! – you’re going to want to drink extra water as well.
How to Increase Breastmilk Production
Remember when we said low breastmilk production and dehydration were linked? They are, and drinking more water will lead to increased production, but guess what else? You’re probably producing enough breastmilk already. The Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity at the CDC found that only around five percent of women were low in breastmilk production. This means that, statistically speaking, you’re likely to already be producing enough milk.
Still, try the following to increase your breastmilk production:
- Drinking more water!
- Using breastfeeding supplements
- Limiting or eliminating your caffeine intake