There's a reason you receive that gallon-jug with a crinkle straw when you leave the hospital: you need to drink some serious water postpartum. Just like when you were pregnant, it's important to stay hydrated as a breastfeeding mom. Breastfeeding your baby can make you feel like you ate a bag of sand, though, so it's important everyone knows what a breastfeeding mom really means when she says "I'm thirsty." After all, there's only one way to stay ahead of the thirst game, my friends, and that's to drink so much damn water you're hardly ever thirsty in the first place. That's going to require some support from family members, friends, and partners. So listen up, you non-breastfeeding support people, because there are a few things you need to know to make sure your breastfeeding partner stays as hydrated as possible.
Before I had my baby, I set myself up with a cute little nursing basket to keep next to the couch. It had a water bottle, snacks, lanolin, burp cloths, etc. — the idea being that I wouldn't have to get up. The problem, however, was that I didn't always sit there to breastfeed, and when I did I always ran out of water. And, holy hell, was I thirsty. I was convinced there was a direct line from my mouth to my nipple because I couldn't conjure a drop of saliva when my kid was on the boob. My husband eventually learned that it was best for everyone to make sure I had a refreshing beverage at my side all times. A wise move, to be sure.
If you know what I mean when I say "breastfeeding thirsty," you're not alone. I definitely know you're saying a little more than, "Gosh, I'm parched," including the following:
"I Feel Like I Swallowed Sawdust"
Why, why do I feel like all my spit has made a mass exodus from my mouth region? Seriously, I feel like I spent all night sleeping with my mouth open, except you know I didn't sleep all night because I was feeding that baby every three hours. I'm going to need a 32-ounce Slurpee just to wash the cobwebs from my throat.
"Get Out Of My Way!"
"Excuse Me, This Water Bottle Isn't Going To Fill Itself"
You! Yes, you there! Whoever you are — partner, mother-in-law, best friend, mailman — I'm going to need you to get up and get me some more H2O. You see, I am providing life-giving nutrition to this cute baby you like so much, and it's hard to get up and pour myself a drink with a kid on my boob. If you could do it without me asking, that'd be greeeeeeaaaaaat.
"This Baby Is Sucking Me Dry!"
I remember my midwife explaining to me that when I was pregnant, I had to take supplements because the baby would take what she needed from me. It's a similar deal with nursing. According to Check Pregnancy, a breastfeeding baby is taking in a lot of the liquids that mom is. So when I say that the baby is draining me, I mean it literally. I'm losing serious fluids to this kid, and it's not just in my head. It's science.
"I Could Drink A Freaking Lake"
Seriously, just hook me up to the nearest aquifer.
"My Pee Isn't Nearly Clear Enough"
La Leche League says a good way to tell if you're drinking enough water is if your urine is light in color. When a nursing mom says she's thirsty, she's probably worried about her hydration, and you can be pretty sure she's monitoring the heck out of her pee.
In my 20s, a friend of mine taught me that the way to get a person to get me another alcoholic beverage was to put the can or bottle on my head. You know, so they'd know it was empty. I must say, it worked like a charm. So my "I'm thirsty" is essentially me putting my water bottle on my head and saying, "Fill 'er up!"
"Get Thee To A Starbucks!"
Maybe a sugary Frappaccino isn't the best choice, but mama wants what mama wants! You do have to watch the caffeine, as well as the sugar, though. Web MD recommends no more than 2-3 cups of caffeinated drinks a day. But an unsweetened passion tea lemonade might be just the thing to cure the cottonmouth. Go ahead, make it a venti.