how much water should i drink while breastfeeding

How Much Water Should I Drink While Breastfeeding?

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Breastfeeding is a beautiful journey, but it’s also a demanding one for the body. One of the most crucial aspects of this journey is ensuring that you, as a new mother, stay well-hydrated. The reason you need to drink more? Your body is working overtime to produce breast milk, which is primarily composed of water. In fact, breast milk is made up of about 87% water. This means that the water you drink directly impacts the quality and quantity of the milk you produce for your baby.

How Much Water Should I Drink While Breastfeeding?

Expert Recommendations

Experts suggest that breastfeeding moms should aim for at least 128 ounces (or 16 cups) of water per day. However, this is a general guideline. The exact amount can vary based on the factors listed above. It’s always a good idea to listen to your body and drink when you feel thirsty.

FactorImpact on Daily Water Requirement
Physical ActivityIncreases by 10-20%
Hot WeatherIncreases by 15-25%
High Milk ProductionIncreases by 5-15%
Factors and their impact on daily water requirements for breastfeeding mothers.

Factors Affecting Water Intake

Several factors determine the amount of water a breastfeeding mother should consume:

Body weight

As with anyone, your weight plays a role in how much water you need.


Living in a hot climate can increase your water needs due to more sweating.


Physical activity can lead to increased fluid loss, requiring more water intake

Milk production levels

The more milk you produce, the more water you’ll need.

Practical Tips for Adequate Water Intake

To ensure you’re drinking enough:

  1. Drink a glass of water with each breastfeeding session: This habit can help you naturally increase your water intake without much thought.

  2. Incorporate foods with high water content: Foods like watermelons, cucumbers, and oranges help with hydration and provide essential other nutrients. Including them in your diet can be a delicious way to stay hydrated.

  3. Drink to thirst. Let your thirst guide you. Drink a glass of water or other fluid every time you notice that you are feeling thirsty.
  4. Drink a large glass after each nursing session. Breastfeeding makes you lose fluids and energy. Replenish them by drinking a big glass of water each time your baby latches off.
  5. Keep a water bottle with you. Having water readily available will remind you to sip throughout the day. Aim to finish 48-64 ounces by the end of the day.
  6. Drink when you eat. Having water with meals and snacks helps you better digest and absorb nutrients.
  7. Have an extra glass if your urine is dark. Dark yellow urine means you need more hydration.

Our favourite water bottle for breastfeeding moms: The Chokoter Half Gallon Water Bottle helps keep breastfeeding moms on track to meet their hydration goals by marking water consumption targets by the hour.

Top 3 Reasons it’s great for breastfeeding moms:

  1. Hydration Hourly Reminders: Think of it as your personal cheerleader! With sassy hourly markers, this bottle nudges you to sip, sip, hooray! Ensuring you’re always fuelled up to produce that liquid gold for your tiny tot.
  2. BPA-Free Fabulousness: Safety first, but make it stylish! This bottle is not only free from those pesky BPA nasties but also looks oh-so-chic while being the guardian of your hydration realm.
  3. No-Spill Sass: Tired of water bottle mishaps? With its leakproof design, this bottle’s got your back (and your bag!). Plus, those motivational quotes? They’re like pep talks for your thirst. “You got this, mama!”

Understanding the Basics: Water and Breast Milk

How Water Intake Affects Breast Milk Production

Every time you breastfeed, your body taps into its water reserves to ensure there’s enough milk for your baby. This is why you might often feel thirsty right after a nursing session. The more you can drink while breastfeeding, the better your body can support the milk production process. But it’s not just about quantity; the quality of the breast milk you produce is also influenced by your fluid intake.

Composition of Breast Milk

Breast milk is a wonder of nature. It’s tailored to provide your baby with all the essential nutrients they need. And at the heart of its composition is water. A staggering 87% of breast milk is water, which underscores the importance of drinking water while breastfeeding. This high water content ensures that your baby stays hydrated and receives all the other nutrients dissolved in it.

The Role of Drinking Water in Milk Supply

Ensuring you drink enough water is paramount for maintaining a steady milk supply. While it’s a myth that drinking excess water will boost milk production, not drinking enough can certainly affect breast milk production without it. When you’re adequately hydrated, your body can easily produce milk, ensuring that your baby gets enough during each feed.


Always keep a water bottle handy, especially during breastfeeding sessions. This not only reminds you to drink but also ensures you’re taking in enough fluids to support milk production.

How Much Water Should I Drink When I’m NOT Breastfeeding?

The Average Person’s Water Needs

For the average person, staying hydrated is essential for overall health, skin health, and energy levels. It’s generally recommended that men consume about 3.7 liters (or about 125 ounces) and women consume 2.7 liters (or about 91 ounces) of water from all beverages and foods each day. This includes all liquids consumed, not just plain water.

Role of Body Weight in Determining Water Needs

Your body weight plays a significant role in determining how much water you should drink. A common recommendation is to drink half your body weight in ounces. This ensures that the body’s waste products are efficiently removed and supports overall electrolyte balance.

For example:

  • 100 lbs = 50 oz of water
  • 150 lbs = 75 oz of water
  • 200 lbs = 100 oz of water

But breastfeeding moms need more daily fluids than non-breastfeeders to stay properly hydrated.

The Increased Water Needs When Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding introduces a new dynamic to your hydration needs. Producing breast milk requires extra fluid, making it essential for nursing mothers to increase their daily water intake. This is over and above the amount recommended based on body weight.

The Risks of Not Drinking Enough Water

How Dehydration Affects Breast Milk Production

Staying hydrated is crucial for every individual, but for breastfeeding moms, the stakes are even higher. Dehydration can directly impact the quantity and quality of breast milk. When breast milk is composed and the body is deprived of adequate fluids, it struggles to produce milk, leading to a potential decrease in milk supply. This can affect the baby’s nutrition and hydration, emphasizing the importance of the mother’s fluid intake.

Recognizing the Signs of Dehydration

Dehydration can manifest in various ways. Some common signs include:

  • Chapped lips: One of the earliest signs, indicating a lack of adequate fluids.

  • Dry, itchy skin: A dehydrated body struggles to maintain skin health.

  • Headaches: Often a result of reduced fluid levels affecting brain function.

  • Moodiness: Dehydration can affect one’s mood, leading to irritability.

  • Dark yellow urine: A clear sign that you need to drink more water.

  • Feeling thirsty frequently
  • Fatigue
  • Infrequent wet diapers from baby
  • Decrease in milk supply
  • Dizziness when standing

Further reading: Is My Newborn Getting Enough Breast Milk? 5 Surefire Signs to Look For

Dehydration and Reduced Milk Supply

The body prioritizes vital functions. When slightly dehydrated, it might redirect available water to essential processes, potentially reducing the water available for breast milk production. This can lead to a noticeable decrease in milk supply, making it imperative for breastfeeding moms to stay well hydrated.

Further reading: How to Increase Milk Supply Quickly: Tips and Tricks for Breastfeeding Moms

The Myth of Overhydration and Its Impact on Breastfeeding

Debunking the Overhydration Myth

There’s a common misconception that drinking excessive amounts of water will boost milk production. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. While it’s essential to drink enough water to support milk production, drinking excess water or excessively more than your body requires doesn’t necessarily lead to more milk. In fact, it can have the opposite effect.

Further reading: 43 parenting Myths: What you should ignore and what you need to know in 2023

Understanding Overhydration

Overhydration, or water intoxication, occurs when you consume too much water, in amounts that your kidneys cannot excrete. This can lead to a dilution of electrolytes in the body, particularly sodium. When it comes to breastfeeding, overhydration can cause the body to divert water away from the breasts to balance out electrolytes, potentially leading to a decrease in milk supply.


While it’s essential to drink plenty and stay hydrated, it’s equally important to listen to your body. Drink when you’re thirsty and ensure your fluid intake is balanced with the foods you eat and drink.

Monitoring Your Hydration Levels

Listening to Your Body

Your body has a natural way of signaling its needs, and when it comes to hydration, it’s no different. Feeling thirsty is the body’s way of telling you it needs more fluids. Especially for breastfeeding moms, it’s crucial to heed this signal and drink water whenever you feel the urge. This not only ensures you’re adequately hydrated but also supports optimal breast milk production.

The Quick Hydration Test

One of the simplest ways to check your hydration level is the urine color test. Your urine can offer insights into your hydration status:

  • Pale yellow: You’re well-hydrated.

  • Transparent: You might be drinking more than necessary.

  • Dark yellow or amber: Time to drink up! You’re likely dehydrated.

Signs of Optimal Hydration

Being well-hydrated has some clear indicators:

  • Rarely experiencing intense thirst.

  • Producing pale yellow urine consistently.

  • Feeling energized and alert throughout the day.

Table: Quick Guide to Staying Hydrated While Breastfeeding

IndicatorsWhat it meansAction to take
Feeling thirstyNeed to drink more waterDrink a glass of water
Pale yellow urineWell-hydratedContinue current fluid intake
Dark yellow urineSlightly dehydratedIncrease fluid intake
Chapped lipsDehydration startingDrink more water and apply lip balm
Dry, itchy skinLack of adequate hydrationIncrease water intake and moisturize skin
Frequent headachesPossible dehydrationDrink water and rest
Mood swingsCan be a sign of dehydrationEnsure consistent fluid intake
How To Stay Hydrated While Breastfeeding

Beverages to Consider and Avoid When Breastfeeding

The Gold Standard: Plain Water

Nothing beats the hydration power of plain water. It’s calorie-free, easily accessible, and the best choice for staying hydrated. For those who want a bit of flavor, infusing water with slices of fruits can be a refreshing option.

The Benefits of Milk and Fruit Juices

Milk and fruit juices can be a delicious way to hydrate and also provide essential vitamins and minerals. Try to drink milk and fruit juices as they contain a lot of water. However, it’s essential to choose 100% natural juices without added sugars. Drinks like orange juice, watermelon juice, and coconut water are not only hydrating but also packed with nutrients beneficial for both the mother and baby.

Caffeinated Drinks: Proceed with Caution

While a cup of coffee or tea might seem tempting, especially for tired moms, it’s essential to remember that caffeine can have a dehydrating effect. If you do indulge, make sure to balance it out by drinking an extra glass of water.

Protein Powder for Breastfeeding Moms

Protein is vital for breastfeeding moms as it supports milk production and provides essential amino acids for the baby’s growth. Opting for a high-quality protein powder can be a convenient way to ensure you’re getting enough protein. However, it’s crucial to choose protein powders specifically designed for breastfeeding moms, free from harmful additives and rich in essential nutrients. Always consult with a healthcare professional before adding any supplements to your diet.

Further reading: The 5 best protein powders for breastfeeding moms in 2023


When choosing a protein powder, look for labels that mention “suitable for breastfeeding moms” or “lactation-friendly”. This ensures that the product is safe and tailored to the nutritional needs of nursing mothers.

Our favourite whey protein powder: drink wholesome Mocha Egg White Protein Powder has a clean and simple formula. Just REAL ingredients! It’s crafted with egg white protein, cocoa, and coconut palm sugar… that’s the essence of it. WOW!

Top 3 Reasons it’s great for breastfeeding moms:

  1. Easy Digestibility: Made with real foods, it’s gentle on mom’s stomach, ensuring she gets the nutrients without discomfort.
  2. Dairy-Free Goodness: No dairy or lactose, making it a top pick for moms avoiding potential allergens for their little ones.
  3. Pure & Wholesome: With 100% real food ingredients, it offers natural nutrition to support milk production and mom’s overall health.

Drinks to Avoid

Certain beverages can affect the body’s electrolyte balance and overall hydration. It’s best to limit or avoid drinks when:

  • Sugary sodas

  • Alcohol

  • Highly caffeinated energy drinks

These can not only dehydrate you but also potentially affect milk production and quality.


Breastfeeding is a journey of love, nourishment, and care. But to ensure that this journey is smooth and beneficial for both the mother and baby, staying well-hydrated is paramount. Every drop of water you consume plays a role in producing nutritious breast milk that supports your baby’s growth and well-being. From understanding the basics of water’s role in milk production to recognizing the signs of dehydration and making informed beverage choices, we’ve covered essential points to guide you.

Remember, your hydration is not just about you; it’s about ensuring your baby gets the best nutrition possible. So, keep that water bottle close, listen to your body, and ensure you’re taking in enough fluids for both you and your little one.


Questions? We Have Answers.

Drinking more water doesn’t necessarily increase breast milk production.

Breastfeeding moms should aim for 128 ounces (16 cups) of water daily

Insufficient water can affect breast milk production and lead to dehydration.

Signs: chapped lips, dark yellow urine, and feeling rarely thirsty indicate dehydration while breastfeeding.

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