If there’s one thing that is a top priority while nursing it’s staying hydrated. I’ve successfully nursed 6 babies, including twins, and staying hydrated was always a constant challenge. I saw a dramatic drop in my milk supply when I wasn’t drinking enough. These tricks helped me to stay hydrated and successfully nurse my babies without additional supplements.
When I first told my doctor that I was planning to nurse my twins, the look I got in return was pure skepticism. I was told that there was no way I would produce enough milk for two babies, especially premature babies who needed every bit of nutrition they could get.
Fortunately, I’m stubborn. You can read about my full experience nursing twins here. I was able to nurse both of them to 14 months and they thrived.
I’d nursed 4 other babies and I knew I could do it. It definitely took some work though and hydration was key to that.
Are you dehyrdated?
With all my babies I could tell almost immediately when I hadn’t been drinking enough because my milk supply dropped way off.
It wasn’t just my milk supply that suffered through.
When I got dehydrated while nursing, my skin would start to crack, my lips got chapped, and I just felt so drained. The drop in milk supply was rough but being dehyrdated can also take a major toll on your own health, and when you are taking care of babies, you can’t afford to ignore your own needs or you’ll crash and burn.
How often do we forget to take care of ourselves as moms?
I get it. It’s hard when you have a tiny person who needs so much of you. They need you to be at your best.
Try a few of these tips to stay hydrated while nursing.
Carry fluids with you. I don’t know about you, but if something isn’t in front of me I tend to forget about it. My days are so hectic that I’ll often go for hours and hours without remembering to get a drink. Keep fluids with you at all times so you can take quick sips throughout the day. I like to carry around a water bottle with a straw top for sipping throughout the day or keep a water bottle with a twist on top in my diaper bag.
Choose your fluids wisely. I’m usually a water drinker. Being sleep deprived with the twins turned me in soda drinker because I crave the quick fix that sugar and caffeine give me but I always end up feeling worse afterward. I really like drinks like BODYARMOR sport drinks as a more natural alternative to the other sport drinks out there. I love that it contains coconut water because even though I know how hydrating coconut water is, it’s not something I’m crazy about drinking on its own.
Other favorites include water with lemon slices, Smart Water, V8 Hydration and more.
Here are some of the best options we recommend:
Bodyarmor Superdrink Variety Pack, Two-of-each-Flavor (12 Flavors), 16 Ounce Bottles, 24 PackV8 +Hydrate Plant-Based Hydrating Beverage, Strawberry Cucumber, 8 oz. Can (4 packs of 6, Total of 24)CORE Hydration, 30.4 Fl Oz (Pack of 12), Nutrient Enhanced Water, Perfect 7.4 Natural pH, Ultra-Purified With Electrolytes and Minerals, Cup Cap For SharingGlaceau SmartWater Water (1 L bottles, 15 pk.) SCSSIZZE Sparkling Juice, 4 Flavor Variety Pack, 8.4 oz Cans, 24 CountTropicana 100% Juice 3-Flavor Fruit Blend Variety Pack, 10 Fl Oz, Bottles, (Pack of 24)Gatorade Original Thirst Quencher Variety Pack, 20 Ounce Bottles (Pack of 12)bubly Sparkling Water, Original Sampler, 12 fl oz. Cans, (Pack of 18)
Keep a checklist. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten to the end of the idea and have no idea if I’ve had enough to drink that day. Often, I’m so busy that I don’t even realize that I’m thirsty so the only clue is my chapped lips and exhaustion. I love this printable daily planner that includes a section for tracking your water intake.
As a bonus, you can use it to keep track of baby’s schedule for the day and make sure you are keeping your eating goals on track. Download it for free here.
Set a timer. I’m terrible about getting caught up in a project and forgetting everything else. Set a timer to go off every 30 minutes or so and make a point to drink at least a few sips every time it goes off. Your body can only absorb so much fluid at one time so spreading your fluid intake throughout the day will help you stay better hydrated. My Apple Watch has been a lifesaver for this because it is so easy to set the timer, but you could also set alarms on your phone.
Eat foods high in fluids. Who says you have to drink all your fluids. Most fruits and vegetables are 90% water so that’s a great way to get some extra fluids in. I love snacking on chilled watermelon or grapes when I’m feeling dehydrated. Keep your kitchen stocked with oranges, apples, grapes, watermelon, strawberries, and cantaloupe for quick and hydrating snacks.
Pay attention to growth spurts. I felt chronically dehydrated when my twins hit about 9 months. I couldn’t figure out what was going on until I realized that both of my twins had hit a growth spurt at the same time. They were both eating more and even though my body was keeping up with the demand it was taking a toll on me. When your babies hit a growth spurt, make a conscious effort to increase fluids and add in hydrating drinks.
Use hydration reminders. There are so many tools to help you stay hydrated right now. I really like this option that can be used on any water bottle. Sometimes all you need it a bit of a reminder to keep you on track.
I LOVE the idea of marking times on a water bottle. You can buy it pre-made like on this water bottle or just use a permanent marker to write on a water bottle you already own.
Here are some of our favorite hydration reminders:
Ulla Smart Hydration Reminder – Don’t Be a CactusUlla Smart Hydration Reminder – You Got ThisThree Drops of Life 64oz Hydration Tracking Large Sports Water Bottle, The Largest Time Tracker Sport Bottles, Best Daily Hydration MonitorGreen Sequoia Cactaki Infuser Water Bottle BPA Free, 1 Liter 32 Oz, Non-Toxic, Clear Leak Proof, Time Marker to Track Water Intake, Fruit Infuser32 Oz Glass Water Bottle With Silicone Sleeve Leak Proof Lid 1L Time Marked Measurements BPA-Free For To-Go Travel At Home Reusable Eco Friendly Safe For Hot Liquids Tea Coffee Daily Intake (Pink)HydraCoach 2.0 – Sip & See Smart Bottle w/Live Hydration Tracking, Aqua 22 oz. BPA-Free. Designed to Track and Remind You to Drink. Supports Diets Including Mediterranean, Dash, Flexitarian and KetoH2OPal Smart Water Bottle Hydration TrackerFoladion Smart Water Bottle, 500ml Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulated, LCD Touch Screen, Temperature Indicator, Drinking Water Reminder, Keep Heat&Cold, Longer Battery Life, FDA Safty (Black)Three Drops of Life New 32 oz Sports Water Bottle, Best Original Frosted Gray Time Tracker and Goal Timer Bottle Design for H2O Monitoring, Diet, Nutrition and Fitness
Have you ever struggled to stay hydrated while breastfeeding? What advice do you have to increase your fluids?