June 4, 2024

#36: Milk Supply 101 Part 3 - The What, Why, and How of Hydration

In this episode, we're diving into the crucial role hydration plays in maintaining a healthy milk supply. Discover why water alone isn't enough without the right minerals and how they work together to create breast milk, as well as some creative and practical tips to keep you hydrated while you're busy breastfeeding.

About this episode

What you'll learn

  • Why water is essential for making breast milk
  • The missing link in your hydration efforts
  • 5 creative ways to stay hydrated


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Click HERE to work with me

Listen to part one and part two of my milk supply series

Read my electrolyte recommendations HERE

Listen to episode 5 HERE

Listen to episode 17 HERE

Grab my free mineral guide HERE

Use "mama15" for 15% off Redmond Relyte electrolytes

Use "thewellnourishedmama" for 10% off Just Ingredients electrolytes


Today is part 3 of our milk supply 101 series and since last time we talked about nutrition, I thought it was only fitting to talk about hydration! And if you're thinking “but I already know that I have to drink water when I'm breastfeeding” you're in for a treat because, like usual Brooke fashion, we're diving deeper. 

I also want to bust some myths about hydration and have it on the record because I'm having the same conversation every day in my DMs with other mamas.

Now, really quick, if you've been following along with this milk supply series and love what you're learning but still feel like you need some more info or extra help, I would love to work with you one on one! This gives you access to my time and expertise and the opportunity to get personalized feedback and advice on how to improve your lactation experience. If you're interested in learning more, I'll put the link in the shownotes.

Ok, let's jump into today's episode all about milk supply and hydration!

Why water is essential for lactation

There are a few reasons why staying hydrated is so important, especially when you're breastfeeding (and yes, this includes you too, pumping mamas!):

  1. Breast milk is essentially fatty water. About 85-90% of breast milk is water, and the rest is an ever changing blend of proteins, fats, and sugars. Without enough water, it's difficult for your body to produce an adequate amount of breast milk for baby. And even if you don't see a dip in your supply, you're going to start experiencing negative symptoms as the mama.
  2. Transport nutrients: your body needs water to shuttle vitamins and minerals in and out of your cells. Without those vital nutrients, your cells can't do their job well, your hormones will struggle to communicate properly, and your organs won't be able to function at full capacity. When your cells, hormones, and organs are struggling, your milk supply will also be struggling.
  3. Absorb vitamins: 40% of the essential vitamins you need are water soluble, which means they require water to be absorbed in the body. These vitamins are all the B vitamins, which are in charge of your metabolism and brain health, and vitamin C, which boosts your immune system. Both are integral in lactation.

Outside of lactation, water is also important for lubrication of your joints, regulating body temperature, and optimizing athletic performance.

What does hydration truly entail?

But here's where most mamas get hung up: HOW to hydrate. And yes, I said “how.” Most people think that staying hydrated means drinking lots of water, but that’s only part of the equation.

Let’s think about this for a second: if you played soccer or ultimate frisbee for an hour in the middle of the summer on a 95° day, what would you reach for after your game?

Probably a Gatorade, right? You recognize that you need water fortified with electrolytes to truly recover from dehydration.

(Now I’ll let you know right now, Gatorade is not the standard for electrolytes, but I wanted to illustrate that true hydration requires electrolytes. The same goes for if you’ve been throwing up so much during pregnancy that you need an IV and a Pedialyte. The nurses are going to pump you full of fluids, sugar, and electrolytes to replete your body.)

So, when it comes to staying hydrated while breastfeeding, you need to be drinking enough water AND intentionally incorporating an electrolyte supplement daily. And while I usually promote a food-first approach, this is one of those few times where I do encourage you to use a supplement first because your body requires higher levels of minerals during lactation and will be depleting minerals so fast that you wouldn’t be able to eat enough food to replenish completely.

And, I know you know, we already struggle to eat enough as is, so I want to make your life easier and give you a break.

If you want to learn more about which electrolyte supplements I recommend, I did a huge meta-analysis of 23 of the most popular brands on the market and compared their mineral doses, mineral ratios, price points, and quality of ingredients, then gave you my educated opinion on which ones are the best. I also talk about each electrolyte in depth, what it does for your body, and created graphics to help you digest all the information easier. You can find the link for this blog post, all the supplements, and all my discount codes in the shownotes.

I also have a few podcast episodes that would be helpful to get specific info about different topics related to minerals and electrolytes. One is episode 5 all about how to feel energized during pregnancy and postpartum, and the other is episode 17 all about hair tissue mineral testing with my friend Allegra. Both of those are linked in the shownotes as well.

I also have a free guide all about minerals, foods high in minerals, and some resources to help you establish daily habits of getting your minerals in. Like always, you can find that in the shownotes.

5 ways to stay hydrated

Before we close, let’s talk about some unique ways you can stay hydrated! By using some or all of these suggestions, not only will you establish a thriving milk supply but you’ll also experience less cravings, brain fog, and fatigue.

  1. Electrolyte supplement: I use Redmond Relyte and Just Ingredients religiously. They both have super great ingredients and mineral ratios. I have discount codes for both that I’ll link in the shownotes.
  2. Milk: I tell my mamas that cow’s milk is nature’s electrolyte drink! Milk is a fantastic source of calcium, sodium, and potassium, as well as protein and fat to balance your blood sugar levels. Having a glass of milk with your breakfast first thing in the morning is a great way to start the day.
  3. Water dense foods: think watermelon, bell peppers, strawberries, cucumber, pineapple, tomatoes, and oranges. Not only are these foods more than 85% water, they also have tons of minerals in them too, so it’s a double win!
  4. Herbal teas: I love red raspberry leaf, chamomile, and lemon ginger.
  5. Adrenal smoothie: I developed this recipe to give you all the benefits of an adrenal mocktail but with added protein, fat, and fiber to add more calories and stabilize your blood sugar.