While you are breastfeeding you should drink extra water, but you don’t need to overdo it. Hydration while breastfeeding should follow the commonsense “in and out” principles of hydration: If you use more fluid, you must take more in.
“Lactation involves specific physiological responses of the mother and requires both an increased supply of nutrients and water (IoM, 1991).
Breast milk contains, on average, 87% water (EFSA, 2010), water content varies depending on the time of day. During a single breastfeeding episode, foremilk (the milk obtained at the beginning of breastfeeding) has higher water content and keeps the infant hydrated, whereas hindmilk (milk released near the end of breastfeeding) contains two to three times more fat than foremilk (Riordan and Wambach, 2009).
Since breast milk is produced using maternal body water, a milk volume of 750 mL/d at 87% of water equals a significant extra water loss for the mother, compared to the daily normal losses. Maintaining water balance can therefore be challenging for lactating women.”
Surprisingly enough if you consume more water your breast milk production does not necessarily increase(like my mother told me) instead the maternal health suffers and becomes at risk of dehydration.
Here’s how to get the right amount of water to maintain hydration while breastfeeding:
- Drink enough water to quench your thirst plus a bit more, since thirst is not a completely reliable indicator of fluid needs.
- Carry a water bottle with you in your diaper bag like this one from @realactivemovement
I get in the habit of drinking a glass of water every time I breastfeed, plus a couple more each day. Try to keep with the principle of when baby drinks, mother drinks. Mums who train also need more water due to replacing the extra bit from sweating it out as well!
Taking time to nurture your own development isn't selfish. The well-being of mothers impacts the well-being of children and families in powerful and far reaching ways. We cannot pour from an empty cup.
Motherhood and stress, understanding your triggers and learning to respond rather than react. In mothering we are faced with screaming kids, tantrums, constant want for your attention, demands of breastfeeding etc. Mindfulness of emotions and getting clear on your values is extremely helpful to identify what is going on first rather than reacting. If we do become reactive to the external triggers/stress one of the ways to help yourself is to change the scenery.
Karen Holmes explains it well in relation to Mums.
Mindfulness is probably the most scientifically investigated form of meditation to date, and to put it simply – it involves ‘training our attention’. Through this, we learn to focus on those things that are most useful and most helpful in our lives, allowing us to live more consciously and fully.
Given that a lot of mothering is done in automatic pilot mode, where we are literally multi-tasking the day away, living more mindfully can help us get on top of negative or worried thinking patterns – those pesky ‘what if…?’ scenarios.
A simple and quick mindfulness meditation:
Sit comfortably, preferably with your back firmly against a chair.
Place your feet on the floor and connect or root yourself with the floor.
Close your eyes, make sure your jaw is soft, and drop your chin a little.
Feel your breath and notice your belly rising and falling.
When you feel your thoughts wandering, simply notice this and return to the breath.
When you’re ready, lift your chin and open your eyes.
Bring your awareness slowly back to your surroundings.
Notice how you feel.
Sometimes in those early days and months the mother just needs to know they are not alone, to have their confidence in their ability (and what they are doing) reassured or to share a extra large hot mug of coffee.
Recently in the UK Jennie from Snowdrops was featured in the manchester evening news for the simple and beautiful gesture that they did for Mums. Hundreds of inspiring notes have been left for Mums doing the school run ahead of Mother's Day. They've also been shared around cafes, shops and gyms in the town, with the aim of giving mums a boost and acknowledging what they do.
’In your child's eyes, you are super mum': Mothers find inspiring notes on the school run https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/mothers-day-cards-verses-handmade-16046569
This gesture is sometimes all Mums need to see or read to help them get through the struggles. Mother groups are a great place to support Mums as they cope with the newborn days, the early struggles of breastfeeding and so much more. The friendships and bonds formed in these groups can be life long though social media platforms now can offer a place for Mums to receive the village support needed to help raise our kids.
Maybe we all need to get on the bandwagon to provide a simple gesture to other Mums around us?