Hydration Tips For Breastfeeding Mothers

  • Dr. Adeen Shahid Doctor's Degree, Physical Therapy/Therapist, Nur International University


Staying hydrated while breastfeeding/chestfeeding is like simultaneously caring for yourself and your baby. Motherhood is an amazing phase of anyone's life. It's an incredibly special time when the bond between mother and newborn strengthens as they share this precious experience. Mothers can give their newborns the best possible start and create beautiful memories that will last a lifetime by ensuring they are nourished and properly hydrated.

While caring for the newborns, mothers often underestimate how important taking care of themselves is. In this article, you will learn the importance of hydration while breastfeeding/chestfeeding and tips on staying hydrated. 

Why should you stay hydrated while breastfeeding/chestfeeding?

Breast milk is a remarkable source of hydration for the baby, having all the important nutrients for nourishment. Breast milk is 87% water, the gold standard of infant feeding. This fluid contains nutrients like vitamins, carbohydrates, proteins, antibodies, lipids, and minerals like calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and sodium.1 

When you breastfeed/chestfeed your baby, nutrients and water from your body go into the breast milk to give your new all the important things they need to grow. But this process can leave you low on water and essential minerals. That's why it's very important for you to drink enough water and eat well to keep yourself hydrated and healthy. 

The more you nurse your baby, the more your body needs water to keep up with all those feeding sessions. Newborns might need feeding 7 to 13 times daily in the first month. Not caring for your hydration can lead to dehydration, directly affecting breast milk production and its quality. Hydration is the key to keeping up with your baby's needs as well as yours. 

How can dehydration affect you and the infant?

Not only the mother but also the baby can be affected by dehydration. Being significantly dehydrated can cause milk production to get slow and negatively affect your body, indirectly affecting the infant.

Signs of dehydration usually seen in mothers are:

  • Slow and less production of breast milk
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Dry lips
  • Decrease urination
  • Fatigue 
  • dark yellow and strong-smelling urine

You should also be taking care of the proper hydration of the baby. Here are some signs in newborns that can tell if they are not hydrated properly:

  • Sunken eyes
  • Skin not bouncing back quickly after pinching
  • Peeing less than normal
  • Sunken soft spot on the head (fontanel)
  • No tears when crying
  • Being irritable

How much water should you take to stay hydrated while breastfeeding/chestfeeding?

When you're breastfeeding/chestfeeding, your body goes through some changes in its water balance. Your breast milk is made up of 87% water so it causes you to lose an extra 700 mL (about 3 cups) of water daily, especially around eight weeks after giving birth. You must increase your total water intake to ensure your body stays hydrated and compensate for this extra water loss during breastfeeding/chestfeeding.2 This includes the water you drink and the water you get from the foods you eat.

The experts say that when you're not breastfeeding/chestfeeding, you should drink about 1/2 to 3/4 of an ounce of water for every pound you weigh daily. If you weigh 130 pounds, which is 59 kgs, you should drink around 65 ounces, which is 2 litres of water daily.

But when breastfeeding/chestfeeding, your body needs even more water because it uses it to make breast milk. So, the good idea is to drink an extra 1 lire of water each day on top of what you normally drink to maintain optimal water intake for breastfeeding/chestfeeding. This way, you can keep yourself and your newborn hydrated.

What are some hydration tips for breastfeeding/chestfeeding mothers?

As a new mother, you naturally focus on caring for your baby. However, it's essential to remember that caring for yourself is just as important. Staying hydrated is crucial in providing the best nutrition for your new to grow well. Here are some simple ways to ensure you stay hydrated:

Keep water close 

Whether nursing at home or on the go, always have a water bottle nearby. Feeling thirsty while nursing your new for an extended period can be frustrating. Tuck a water bottle or car drink holder in your purse, and have one at your work desk. Keeping water easily accessible will constantly remind you to stay hydrated all day. When it's within reach, you'll be more likely to take sips regularly, ensuring you maintain optimal hydration levels as a breastfeeding/chestfeeding mother.

Set hydration reminders

If you forget to drink water, set alarms every hour to remind yourself to take a few sips. It will help you develop a habit of staying hydrated.

Choose hydrating foods

Incorporate foods with high water content, like watermelon, cucumbers, salads, lettuce, and soups into your diet. These foods not only hydrate you but also provide essential nutrients for both you and your baby.

Use flavours

Make drinking water enjoyable by adding slices of fruit, a splash of juice, or a squeeze of lemon. Hydration never has to be boring; add some flavours and make it enjoyable. 

Use hydration apps

Download a hydration app on your phone to track your daily water intake. It's a helpful tool to ensure you meet your hydration goals.

Avoid caffeine intake

Be mindful of caffeine consumption from coffee, tea, and soda, as caffeine can reach your baby through breast milk. 

Incorporate electrolyte drinks into your routine

During pregnancy and breastfeeding/chestfeeding, mothers need extra nutrients for the baby's development and milk quality. Essential micronutrients like sodium, magnesium, zinc, and potassium are crucial for the baby's immune system and for the mother's well-being as well.

Electrolyte drinks with organic ingredients and essential nutrients hydrate the body and improve overall health. Choose drinks without harmful chemicals, caffeine, or excessive sugars for the best results.

Drinks to avoid

Some drinks to stay away from while breastfeeding/chestfeeding are:

  • Artificial fruit juices containing unhealthy sugars and preservatives
  • Alcohol intake as it negatively affects your baby's health, compromising the quality and quantity of breast milk.
  • Drinks with high sugar content as it affects the baby's cognitive development
  • Limit caffeine intake, as it can dehydrate your body and potentially affect the baby's mood  

Avoid overhydration

Drinking excessive water can upset your body's electrolyte balance, leading to frequent urination and potentially disrupting milk production. Instead, listen to your body's thirst signals and avoid overconsumption, as constantly running to the restroom can be inconvenient. Drink in moderation and stay hydrated without overdoing it.


How much water should I drink to stay hydrated while breastfeeding/chestfeeding?

When breastfeeding/chestfeeding, your body requires additional water as it utilises it to produce breast milk. Therefore, drinking an extra litre of water daily in addition to your regular intake is recommended.

What should I eat to stay hydrated as a breastfeeding/chestfeeding mum?

Eat water-rich food like cucumber, lettuce, soups, and watermelon. Foods like these will keep you hydrated but will provide essential nutrients for nourishment during breastfeeding/chestfeeding.

What happens if I am not drinking enough water while breastfeeding/chestfeeding?

Hydration for nursing mums is crucial. Although a slight decrease in hydration might not directly impact breast milk production, however, in the longer run, it can lead to dehydration, directly affecting breast milk production and its quality. Thus, staying well-hydrated remains essential for overall well-being while breastfeeding/chestfeeding. 


Making sure you stay hydrated while breastfeeding/chestfeeding is super important for you and your baby. Your breast milk is made up of 87% water, so you must drink enough to meet your baby's needs as well as yours. If you don't drink enough, it can affect the quality and quantity of your breast milk. So, always keep a water bottle close by and try eating foods that have high water content, like juicy fruits and soups. Electrolyte drinks with essential nutrients can be of help as well. Make sure to keep yourself adequately hydrated, but do not overhydrate yourself. Also, make sure to stay away from caffeine, alcohol, artificial drinks and drinks that have high sugar content. Try using hydration apps or set frequent reminders to drink water.

Remember, taking care of yourself is vital for providing the best care to your baby. By prioritising your hydration, you can ensure you have the energy and nutrition to be able to give energy and nutrition to your baby. Enjoy this precious time with your baby but also remember to care for yourself too.


  1. Kominiarek MA, Rajan P. Nutrition recommendations in pregnancy and lactation. Med Clin North Am [Internet]. 2016 Nov [cited 2023 Jul 30];100(6):1199–215. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5104202/
  2. Bardosono S, Prasmusinto D, Hadiati DR, Purwaka BT, Morin C, Pohan R, et al. Fluid intake of pregnant and breastfeeding/chestfeeding women in indonesia: a cross-sectional survey with a seven-day fluid specific record. Nutrients [Internet]. 2016 Nov 22 [cited 2023 Jul 30];8(11):651. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5133054/
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Adeen Shahid

Doctor's Degree, Physical Therapy/Therapist, Nur International University

Adeen Shahid, a skilled doctor of physical therapy and experienced medical writer, combines her passions to create accessible medical & healthcare content. With years of medical writing expertise, she translates complex ideas into understandable information for patients and healthcare professionals. Adeen's clear communication empowers individuals to make informed health decisions, establishing her as a valuable bridge between medicine and the public.

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