DEHYDRATION: THE PLIGHT OF NEW MOMMIES
Believe it or not, dehydration is one of the most common problems in breastfeeding!!!! How can that be? Certainly we have access to plenty of fluids, water, juice, and more. Why is it then, that nursing moms are constipated, and bear the hallmarks of dehydration such as headaches, dry skin, digestive problems and the like?
Is it that we just don’t think it can happen to us? Do we not understand the signs of this problem? Or is it that new moms are so overwhelmed with the many life changes going on they forget to take care of themselves?
Personally, I believe the latter. New mom’s are going through so many changes just after delivery they don’t see their own physical needs. Doulas. like myself, encourage mommies to record their liquid intake in writing. We do this because it is so easy to forget how much has been consumed.
When you are exhausted, sleep deprived, stressed in learning how to care for your baby, unsure about how to do this, and more, self care goes out the window! Yet, if you are not doing well, who cares for you baby? One of the things I tell every mom with whom I work is “Drink more water than you think humanly possible”. This means drink and drink and drink and drink!!! You need water for your own bodily functions, water for the process of making breastmilk, and water for the milk itself. In addition, your body has just made another human and is healing from this. The changes you are experiencing are profound!
Having a trained professional to walk you through this process is imperative. When I was breastfeeding my body was experiencing dehydration. I did not know that is what it was at the time. But, in hindsight, there is no question. As a new mom I needed someone who understood the process to point this out to me. I consider it such a privilege to be able to serve mom’s in this way.
My clients are encouraged to drink a gallon of water immediately after birth. Actually, I encourage mommies to begin drinking this amount a few weeks prior to birth. Being hydrated helps labor immensely. Did your OB tell you this? Consuming liquids shortly after labor helps flush your body of medications and hormones produced during delivery. It also specifically aids in the production of your milk supply.
Concern about milk supply is universal. Every new mom thinks about it. Being ahead of the game by drinking enough water brings peace, relieving the stress of this concern. It is one of those “Just Do It” moments!!! Drink enough water and you will be so glad you did!!!
This is a tool I provide for my clients. It is a simple chart encouraging them to record their food and liquid consumption on a daily basis. This is not intended to be a chore but a helpful reminder. Often mommies will forget to eat all day!!! The day just gets away from them. Please use this to help you remember to take care of yourself as you care for your little darling!!
Below find several articles describing the signs of dehydration. You want to feel your very best as you acclimate to your new role as mommy. Please do not hesitate to ask me questions if I can help.
Symptoms of dehydration in adults and children include:
- feeling thirsty.
- dark yellow and strong-smelling pee.
- feeling dizzy or lightheaded.
- feeling tired.
- a dry mouth, lips and eyes.
- peeing little, and fewer than 4 times a day.
Dehydration can happen more easily if you have:
- vomiting or diarrhoea
- been in the sun too long (heatstroke)
- drunk too much alcohol
- sweated too much after exercising
- a high temperature of 100.4 F. or more
- been taking medicines that make you pee more (diuretics)
- are breastfeeding
Thirst isn’t always a reliable early indicator of the body’s need for water. Many people, particularly older adults, don’t feel thirsty until they’re already dehydrated. That’s why it’s important to increase water intake during hot weather or when you’re ill.
MAYO CLINIC INFO
The signs and symptoms of dehydration also may differ by age.
Infant or young child
- Dry mouth and tongue
- No tears when crying
- No wet diapers for three hours
- Sunken eyes, cheeks
- Sunken soft spot on top of skull
- Listlessness or irritability
- Extreme thirst
- Less frequent urination
- Dark-colored urine
When to see a doctor
Call your family doctor if you or a loved one:
- Has had diarrhea for 24 hours or more
- Is irritable or disoriented and much sleepier or less active than usual
- Can’t keep down fluids Has bloody or black stool
Sometimes dehydration occurs for simple reasons: You don’t drink enough because you’re sick or busy, or because you lack access to safe drinking water when you’re traveling, hiking or camping.
Other dehydration causes include:
- Diarrhea, vomiting. Severe, acute diarrhea — that is, diarrhea that comes on suddenly and violently — can cause a tremendous loss of water and electrolytes in a short amount of time. If you have vomiting along with diarrhea, you lose even more fluids and minerals.
- Fever. In general, the higher your fever, the more dehydrated you may become. The problem worsens if you have a fever in addition to diarrhea and vomiting.
- Excessive sweating. You lose water when you sweat. If you do vigorous activity and don’t replace fluids as you go along, you can become dehydrated. Hot, humid weather increases the amount you sweat and the amount of fluid you lose.
- Increased urination. This may be due to undiagnosed or uncontrolled diabetes. Certain medications, such as diuretics and some blood pressure medications, also can lead to dehydration, generally because they cause you to urinate more.