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The breastfeeding mom’s drinking game

DRINKING WATER
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Tips and recipes to keep you hydrated when you're drinking for two!

It’s difficult to convey to those who have not experienced it. Along with the  cozy joy of new life, the oxytocin rush, and the sense of belonging and accomplishment a new mother enjoys while nursing a newborn, breastfeeding a little one simultaneously produces a mind-boggling, desperate thirst. The mouth goes dry. The throat goes dry. Your skin pulls at your bones. You feel an odd kinship with the Sahara Desert. It’s as if every last drop of liquid in you has suddenly evaporated. If thirst had hands, it would be plunging knives into you.

When a nursing mother asks for water, she means NOW.

In God’s beautiful design, breastfeeding is a continuation of a mother’s sacrifice for her child and union with Him that begins in pregnancy. The intense feeling of thirst is the smart way your body signals you to hydrate for your health and your child’s, both physical and emotional.

As well as equipping a mother’s body to produce milk, proper hydration keeps digestion smooth, wrinkles at bay, and even contributes to disease prevention, among many other benefits. Between liquid and food, women need about 91 ounces of water, even when they’re not nursing. It’s a tall order! And it can feel even taller when a woman’s energy is spent caring for her child.

With the benefits of breastfeeding extending from lower SIDs risks to higher IQs for babies and lower risk of breast cancer and postpartum depression for moms, not to mention the good feelings and bonding, that horrible thirsty feeling should be the last reason to quit. So why not make hydrating a game? Follow these tricks to boost your health and happiness during your beautiful, breastfeeding days:

Drink a glass of water after you change a diaper

Reward yourself for cleaning up blowouts with a glass of 1/2 pineapple juice, 1/2 coconut water and a pinch of salt. It’s the delicious electrolyte boost you need!

Buy yourself a special water bottle or glass that is just yours

And then get a couple more. Fill them up at the start of each day and place them around the house where you’ll be working or breastfeeding. The bigger the glass, the better. I love my 30 oz Yeti with the straw lid (which my mother-in-law let me steal). Try drinking warm water, which aids digestion and flushes toxins.

Keep spare plastic water bottles in your car

I know, plastic is evil. But you don’t want to find yourself out and about with a baby without liquid. Or try flavored seltzer water in cans, but watch outside temperatures. These can explode in extreme weather, as I’ve learned the hilarious way.

Find a special drink to share with an older child after nap time or school

Try this nettle and hibiscus infusion for a sweet and sour mineral boost for the both of you. It’s a favorite in our house, especially when we’re sick.

Let your husband know you’d like to add “water buddy” to his roles

He appreciates you keeping your little one nourished; let him know how much you appreciate him noticing when you end up sitting down without a drink. Fruit-infused water in the refrigerator will catch his eye! Just throw blackberries and cucumbers, or watermelon and mint, in a mason jar with water, and leave it in the refrigerator overnight. After you’ve drained the jar, you can eat the fruit to take in more water, plus good fiber.

Befriend reusable straws!

They are especially wonderful in the early days when you’re side-lying to nurse or you need both hands to support baby, because someone else can hold the glass for you! Stainless steel straws are sturdy, reusable, and fun with smoothies. Fear not the green smoothie! Leafy greens are nutrient and water rich, and smoothies can be made ahead of time and frozen, to take out on busy days. Baby will get the benefits, too!

Reach for water before coffee, and drink at least one glass

Liked the warm water? Add lemon juice and a pinch of salt. You’ll get vitamin C and a digestive aid with it.

If you’re home alone, it’s okay to let baby cry a moment longer while you get a drink

It’s your oxygen-mask. Have this gut-nourishing switchel ready in the refrigerator. Once you’ve tried it, your imagination may run wild with variations. Go for them!

And keep it up! You’re giving your baby a wonderful gift, mom. What tricks can you share for staying hydrated while nursing a little one?

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