You are what you eat right? Yes, but more to the point regarding breast milk..it is more; you are what you drink! 87% of you breast milk is WATER.
One of the biggest things you need to concentrate on (yes, I know… more things to think about!) whilst breastfeeding is ensuring you are staying hydrated. Most of the mums I see as clients are not drinking enough. Water is critical for a nursing mum and if you forget to top up your water intake then your supply can reduce significantly and or stop completely.
ARE YOU DEHYDRATED?
Thickened milk and possibly blocked ducts are sure signs that you are dehydrated, in fact you need to be on the lookout for earlier signs in yourself
- the dry lips
- the ‘more yellow’ urine
- reduced urinating throughout the day
- poor smelling breath and coated tongue
- the feeling of ‘thirst’ – this is past your dehydration point
- excessive sweating – we all know this hey mama’s! That first month of so, you sweat so much especially at night time
- you should be on average drinking 1.5 times the amount you usually drank before you were pregnant
- if you have increased your caffeine intake i.e. you are now drinking an extra coffee a day to stay awake then you need an additional 1.5 cups of water to counteract
- have a big glass of water by your bedside and drink it first thing when you wake but for the rest of the day do try to sip and not skull your water
- at each feed ensure you are having at least 500ml of water during that feed i.e. 2 cups
- water should be room temperature, warm or hot – you absorb this better than if it were cold. Stay away from fridge water and ice water
- put plant material in your water – lemon, mint, orange segments etc – this will aid absorption of the water
- herbal teas are gold! Not only can certain teas assist with milk production (i.e. fennel and fenugreek) but ones like chamomile can nourish your nervous system as well as aid digestion – all whilst hydrating you beautifully. Aim for a good 3-4 cups daily of herbal teas.
- go for organic and loose leaf tea if possible but if not, organic tea bags are still great!
- go buy yourself some nice tea cups, a fresh water bottle or a thermos bottle!
- create some rituals – a pot of tea every afternoon? Invite your friends over and bring out your gorgeous cups, every night share a pot of rooibos with your partner
- we can also increase our hydration with the foods we eat – think fresh fruit (watermelon, papaya, tomatoes, etc!), cucumber, soups, broths, stews, smoothies, vegetable juices
Keep sipping away!
Love JO (.)(.)
Director and Naturopath for Franjo’s Kitchen