Here’s How Much Water to Drink While Breastfeeding

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Written by Amy Kaczor RDN

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We all know it’s important to drink water whether or not we are breastfeeding. However, there are some extra considerations for hydration while you are nursing.

Overall, the amount of water you should drink while breastfeeding is different for everyone, based on body weight. Additionally, your fluid needs increase when sick or when you are consuming salty foods.

In this article, we will discuss how to figure out how much water you need, more factors that can impact your hydration needs, hydration alternatives to water, and more. Read on!

How Much Water Should I Drink When Breastfeeding? 

As a general rule, drink when you are thirsty and also consume a glass of water or another hydrating fluid every time you breastfeed (source: Mayo Clinic).

Additionally, suppose your urine is dark yellow. In that case, it is a sign that you are not drinking enough water and should increase your hydration (source: American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists [ACOG]). 

woman drinking fresh water from a glass

More specifically, it is recommended to consume one-half to three-fourths of an ounce of water per pound of weight from when you are not nursing (source: Ameda Direct).

Here are some examples: 

Weight when not nursing (in pounds)Recommended water intake (in ounces)
130  lbs65 to 98 oz. 
150 lbs75 to 113 oz.
170 lbs85 to 128 oz
190 lbs95 to 143 oz.

Keep in mind that there are eight ounces in a cup, so divide the number of ounces by eight to get the number of cups you need each day. For example, 65 ounces of water is just over eight cups. 

Factors that Can Affect Hydration When Breastfeeding

A main indication of dehydration is thirst, which means you should increase your fluid intake. For example, if you consume a lot of salty foods, you will feel more thirsty as your body wants more fluids to balance out the salt. 

Therefore, to prevent this, limit foods high in salt, such as savory snacks, processed foods, and fast food. In addition, cooking your own foods at home can help with sodium consumption because you can control exactly how much salt you add.

Additionally, if you are sick and especially if you have been vomiting or experiencing diarrhea, you may also be dehydrated. This is because when vomiting or experiencing diarrhea, you are losing electrolytes, such as sodium and potassium, which need to be replenished, often through electrolyte drinks — more on this below! 

You can also lose electrolytes through sweating, such as from physical activity. Therefore, when exercising, it is important to ensure you increase your fluid intake. 

Water Alternatives for Hydration When Breastfeeding

Water is the gold standard beverage for dehydration. However, there are times when you may prefer another drink or when another beverage may even be more appropriate for the situation. 

gatorade with different flavors

As mentioned above, electrolyte drinks, such as Powerade and Gatorade, can help to replenish sodium, potassium, and other electrolytes that are lost through sweating, vomiting, or diarrhea. 

Coconut water is also an option many like because of its nutrient-rich and hydrating profile.

Steer clear of juices and other beverages that are high in sugar because these drinks can contribute to undesirable weight gain or prevent you from losing the weight gained during your pregnancy (source: Mayo Clinic).

Also, caffeinated beverages, such as coffee, tea, soda, and energy drinks, should be limited. Breastfeeding women should restrict their caffeine intake to no more than 200 milligrams each day (source: ACOG). Alcohol also contributes to dehydration and should be limited while breastfeeding.

In conclusion, I hope this article helped break down the information about hydration and drinking water while breastfeeding.