Breastfeeding, Hydration, and Your Daily Fluid Intake

How Much Water Should A Nursing Mother Drink Each Day?

How much water or other liquids should a nursing mother drink each day?
It's important to drink enough water when you're breastfeeding.. Anthony-Masterson/Getty Images

How Much Water Should You Drink Each Day When You're Breastfeeding?

Your breast milk is mostly made up of water. So, when you're breastfeeding, it's important to drink plenty of fluids each day. Getting enough fluids will keep you hydrated, and it can help you to make a healthy supply of breast milk. You should drink enough so that you're not thirsty, and try to have approximately 6 to 8 glasses of water or other non-caffeinated liquid every day.


How to Get Enough Water or Other Fluids Each Day

It can be hard to keep track of how much water you're drinking when you are a busy new mom. A good way to get enough is to have something to drink each time you breastfeed your baby. Your newborn should be breastfeeding about 8 to 12 times each day. So, if you keep a container of water or other beverage with you to sip while you nurse — or have a drink just before or after every feeding — you can be sure you are getting what you need.

Which Fluids Should a Breastfeeding Mom Drink?

Water is always a good choice, but you don't have to limit yourself to just water. You can get your daily supply of liquids from many different sources including:

  • Low-fat or non-fat milk
  • Fruit juice
  • Vegetable juice
  • Regular or decaffeinated coffee
  • Nursing teas
  • Black tea
  • Green tea
  • Ice tea
  • Lemonade
  • Caffeine-free soda
  • Soup

However, it's best to stick with decaffeinated and sugar-free beverages.

It's OK to have a cup of coffee or an occasional soda, but it's better if you can limit drinks that are high in sugar or caffeine to about one or two per day.

The Signs That You Aren't Drinking Enough Liquids

When you don't drink enough liquids, you can become dehydrated. Dehydration can lead to constipation and a decrease in your breast milk supply.

 If you're experiencing any of the symptoms listed below, you're probably not drinking enough water or other fluids.

  • Thirst
  • Dry mouth
  • Dark colored urine
  • Urinating less often
  • Dizziness

Do You Have to Drink Cow's Milk to Make Breast Milk?

You do not need to drink milk to make milk. Cow's milk is an excellent source of calcium and a necessary mineral that is part of an overall healthy diet, especially when you are breastfeeding. But, if you don't like the taste of cow's milk, you don't have to force yourself to drink it. You can get enough calcium in your daily diet through some of the foods that you eat. Cheese, yogurt, orange juice, and green leafy vegetables are other good sources of calcium.

Is It Possible to Drink Too Much Water?

It's important to drink enough fluids, but there's no need to overdo it. Drinking more than 6 to 8 glasses of water or other liquid each day will not help you make more breast milk or provide you with any additional benefits. In fact, studies show that drinking an excessive amount of water can cause a drop in the supply of breast milk, plus it can fill you up.

If you fill up on fluids so that you're not hungry, you may not eat enough food to get the calories and nutrients that you need.


American Academy of Pediatrics. (2011). New Mother’s Guide To Breastfeeding. Bantam Books. New York.

Lawrence, Ruth A., MD, Lawrence, Robert M., MD. (2011). Breastfeeding A Guide For The Medical Profession Seventh Edition.  Mosby.

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