Do Breastfeeding Mothers Need Extra Fluids?
BREASTFEEDING MOMS: DRINKING FOR TWO?
Based on Malaysian Dietary Guideline 2010, breastfeeding mothers need to increase water intake up to at least an extra 2 glasses (500ml) of water daily. The key recommendation of water intake for normal adult women is 8 glasses of water per day, therefore, breastfeeding moms are suggested to drink around 10 glasses of water per day instead of double up the usual water intake portion.
Why is water so important for breastfeeding moms?
Water is the principal chemical constituent of the body. Maintaining adequate fluid intake is one of the most essential aspects for mothers even after delivery. This is because breastmilk is produced using maternal body water (Breast milk is mainly composed of water which is around 87%). Dehydration would directly reduce the milk supply. Therefore, mothers need to compensate for the production of milk by drinking enough water.
Mothers also need water to meet their own needs. For instance, water is crucial in maintaining body temperature and blood volume. It also serves as a medium to transport nutrients to body cells. It also helps in detoxification. Daily water intake should balance with water losses in urine, stool and sweat in order to maintain total body water and for normal physiological functions of the body.
How to achieve the extra 2 glasses per day for breastfeeding mothers?
Breastfeeding moms can increase their fluid intake by having various methods if consuming extra 500ml of plain water is tough to achieve. How to achieve? Firstly, you may consume food that is high in fluid content, for example watermelon, peaches, oranges, lettuces, cucumbers, celery, tomatoes and many more. Next, try to include soups in your diet too! Finding plain water is too bland to ingest? Mothers should try to include milk or fruit juices (without sugar added) in order to increase daily fluid intake to boost breastmilk production. To increase fluid intake without the addition of calorie, flavored water is one of the best options, for example, infused water or toasted rice tea.
Malaysian Dietary Guideline (2010). Key Message 11 (Drink Plenty of Water). Retrieved from https://www.moh.gov.my/moh/images/gallery/Garispanduan/diet/km11.pdf
Ndikom, C. M., Fawole, B., & Ilesanmi, R. E. (2014). Extra fluids for breastfeeding mothers for increasing milk production. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.