Breastfeeding is highly recommended because breast milk is best for newborn babies until two years of age. However, as the breastfeeding mother, hydration is crucial to ensure you’re providing enough milk to your baby.
Breast milk provides the right combination of fat, protein, carbohydrates, and other nutrients needed by your baby; and it’s composed of 90% water. Hence, hydration and good nutrition are essential for a nursing mother and her baby. In this article, you’ll learn how to prevent dehydration while breastfeeding.
- Monitor Dehydration Signs And Symptoms
It’s normal to feel thirsty more often, soon after you start nursing your baby. The hormone oxytocin is released during breastfeeding, which triggers thirst for your cells to get enough water to produce breast milk. Therefore, it’s imperative to drink the recommended amount of water, beyond thirst, for good health.
You know when you’re not getting enough water if your urine appears concentrated or dark yellow. The normal color of urine when you’re hydrated is clear or a pale yellow. If you’re urinating less often than usual, it’s also a sign of dehydration as your body tries to save as much fluid as possible.
Nursing mothers who aren’t getting enough fluids may start to show following signs and symptoms:
- Dry, itchy skin
- Chapped lips
- Lack of energy
- Take Fluid And Electrolyte Boosters
Taking fluid and electrolyte boosters such as oral rehydration solution (ORS) is important to avoid affecting organ function that could compromise milk production. If you don’t have ORS at home, you can prepare one by dissolving a teaspoon of salt and six level teaspoons of sugar in one liter of drinking water.
Check this recommended reading to learn more about fluid and electrolyte imbalance caused by dehydration and how to prevent it.
- Eat Fruits And Vegetables With High Water Content
Some examples of fruits with high water content include watermelons, pineapples, melons, strawberries, peaches, cucumbers, and oranges. On the other hand, high-water-content vegetables include broccoli, lettuce, cauliflower, zucchini, bell peppers, and celery.
In addition, these fruits and veggies are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that you and your baby need. You can obtain the benefits of fresh and high-water fruits and veggies by:
- eating them plain;
- mixing different fresh fruits in a salad;
- create fruit kebabs with freshly cut mixed fruit;
- make a homemade tropical green smoothie by combining mangoes, bananas, pineapples, and spinach;
- eat sliced carrots, cucumber, or bell peppers instead of chips; and
- substitute rice with finely chopped cauliflower, among others.
- Try Various Soup Recipes
One of the best meals for nursing mothers is soup because it can help your body produce more breast milk. Try making your healthy soup recipes to support your baby’s breastfeeding needs for healthy growth and development.
You can eat many milk-boosting foods such as galactagogues during breastfeeding for an abundant breast milk supply. You can get extra nutrients your body needs from soups such as chicken soup, beef stew, and vegetable soup.
Here’s a few quick tips when making nutritious breastfeeding soup recipes at home:
- Choose Ingredients Carefully: Use ingredients such as coconut milk, bone broth, fenugreek, garlic, and fennel to boost your milk supply.
- Know What Foods To Avoid: Avoid foods and beverages that can decrease your breast milk supply and irritate your baby such as allergen-containing foods like soy foods, nuts, shellfish, eggs, and carbonated and caffeinated beverages.
- Use A Slow Cooker: You’ll save more time and energy using an Instant Pot or a slow cooker. In addition, slow cooking makes meats and vegetables more digestible.
- Avoid Freezer Meals: Choose fresh and natural ingredients in making soup. Avoid freezer meals and ingredients for nourishing meal that’s good for you and your baby.
- Make Drinking Water Accessible
While companies manufacturing baby milk formula are developing organic milk for babies, human breast milk is still the best for your little ones. Therefore, you need to ensure you’re always hydrated to provide the best quality of milk to your baby.
Develop a good drinking habit to prevent dehydration by keeping a stock of bottled drinking water. If water isn’t accessible, you’ll likely forget drinking fluids because you need to walk to the kitchen to get a glass of water.
Make drinking accessible to avoid dehydration by following these tips:
Set A Reminder: It’s important to monitor your water intake and set reminders to avoid missing it out. You can set a phone alarm every hour and sip a few ounces of water every time. This way, you’ll make drinking water a habit.
- Bring Water Bottle: Always carry a water bottle in your favorite nursing spot. You’ll feel thirsty when you’re breastfeeding, and it’s frustrating not to have access to drinking water while being stuck in a chair breastfeeding your baby for 45 minutes. It’s also a good idea to have drinking water in common areas you stay like in the office or near your treadmill.
- Take Recommended Supplements
Your ob-gyn and lactation specialist can prescribe supplements to help you produce milk and maintain good health. Because your body draws the nutrients from your system and provides them to your baby, you may suffer from nutrient deficiency. For instance, your bones may suffer if you’re not getting enough calcium from dietary sources. Hence, supplements play a vital role in good nutrition.
Here are the best breastfeeding natural supplements you can try to prevent dehydration and boost breast milk production:
- Moringa Oleifera Or Malunggay Plant: This plant is rich in antioxidants. Also, it has anti-inflammatory properties. Moringa is available in powder or capsule form. You can add the powder in making a smoothie or boil the leaves as tea.
- Lecithin: You can obtain lecithin from soy or sunflower, which aids in milk flow. Lecithin prevents coagulation of milk from the ducts of the breast, acting as an emulsifier.
You can prevent dehydration while breastfeeding by taking in fluids and eating nutritious foods regularly. Give the proper nourishment to your baby by monitoring your health and eating right. If you notice other signs and symptoms aside from dehydration, consult your doctor right away.