Can Breastfeeding Cause Dehydration?

Breastfeeding takes a lot out of you. It can make you tired and it can make you hungry, but can breastfeeding cause dehydration? The old stand-by advice is that you have to drink milk to make milk (not 100 percent true), so if all of those fluids are leaving you because of a hungry baby, do you feel the effects? Surely losing all of that liquid has to affect you in some way.

Not so much. According to lactation consultant Dr. Kameelah Phillips, nursing most likely isn't the cause of your dehydration. Phillips tells Romper that, more often than not, your dehydration is probably just caused by being busy and getting caught up in other things that make you forget to take care of yourself. "If you are feeling thirsty then you should drink to satisfy this thirst," Phillips says. "You should not over-hydrate; just listen to your body and drink when you are thirsty."

I know, it goes against all the old wives' tales you've heard. Many "experts" have recommended that women drink more water to replace the ounces lost while breastfeeding so that they don't become dehydrated, but this is not a correct claim. Breastfeeding your child doesn't dehydrate you while you're drinking regularly, nor does drinking more water increase your milk supply.

Kelly Mom noted that you just have to drink to satisfy your thirst in order to produce sufficient breast milk and you don't have to chug only water — any liquid can count as fluid to keep up your breast milk supply. Drinking too much could cause discomfort and, unless you're actually dehydrated, it won't help your milk supply.

Phillips also noted that chugging too much liquid may do the opposite. "I would caution against drinking too much water as this can have a negative effect on your supply," she says. If you're worried about becoming dehydrated, know that as long as you're eating and drinking regularly, you're most likely fine. But you should speak to your doctor if you find yourself experiencing symptoms of dehydration. Kelly Mom noted that being dehydrated can cause a temporary decrease in your milk supply, so make sure you're drinking enough and continuing with frequent removal of the milk from your breasts to maintain your supply.