Unfortunately, there is no hard and fast rule on how much water a nursing mom should be drinking on a daily basis. Lactation consultant Kristin Gourley, IBCLC, tells Romper that the amount "varies" from person to person, but generally "most women need at least half as many ounces [of water] as their body weight, if not more." However, you don't need to get out a measuring cup to ensure you're staying hydrated. "Healthy bodies signal for fluids on their own," lactation consultant Danielle Downs Spradlin, IBCLC, agrees, telling Romper that breastfeeding women should "always drink to thirst."
Staying hydrated is essential to a nursing mom's overall health and will help her to maintain her milk supply. Still, it's important to note that while dehydration can cause a decrease in milk supply, drinking more water than the body needs will not increase supply.
"There is no research to support that excess hydration does anything more [for breastfeeding women] beyond increasing bathroom trips," Tera Hamann, BSN, RN, IBCLC, tells Romper. In fact, Spradlin says, "families who see an increase in [pumping] output after drinking more water were likely dehydrated" prior to drinking the water in the first place, and the extra water simply brought the supply back to normal.
So, how does the body let a nursing mom know it needs some fluids? Here are a few things the experts tell you to be on the lookout for.