How Exclusive Breastfeeding Provides Adequate Hydration

Why you should avoid supplementing infants with other fluids even in the heat
a pitcher and two glasses of water
© Can Stock Photo / ysedova

There is a myth that exclusive breastfeeding does not provide adequate hydration for young infants, especially in the summer heat. This is simply not true and here’s what you need to know to ensure your baby and yourself can continue to nurse exclusively without the concern of becoming dehydrated when the sun beats down!

Why you should stick to breast milk alone

Breast milk is all your baby needs during the warm summer weather, even on very hot, humid days. Teresa Pitman, co-author of La Leche League's The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, shares this information: "The composition of your breast milk will change in response to the need of your baby—a higher water content in the hot weather and a higher fat content in the colder months." 

A three-month-old baby needs plenty of breast milk and will be feeding frequently. Giving the baby a fluid other than your milk means the baby will be filling up on an inferior source of nutrition. Remember your body makes milk based on supply and demand. It's important that he nurse frequently, and not receive supplements, including water, so that you will have a plentiful milk supply. Be sure to offer the breast frequently in warm weather so your baby has plenty of opportunity to quench his thirst. Some babies prefer short frequent feeds when the weather is hot.

Just because your baby doesn't need other fluids doesn't mean you don't! This is where extra fluids and electrolytes are essential, so make sure your water bottle is always full and chow down on those wonderful, watery summer fruits for added hydration and nutrition to keep the well full!

Breastfeeding in the summer is convenient!

One of the many conveniences of breastfeeding is that it makes it easy to go away with your baby, either on a day trip or a longer holiday. Breast milk is perfect for summer trips to the beach, park, cottage and camping. It's always available, requires no preparation, doesn't spoil and it even comes in very cute and easy to use containers! 

Pull on your bathing suit, pack your beach bag with a big bottle of water, and head out the door! A young infant needs nothing more than a change of clothes, some diapers, and his mother's milk so don't hesitate to enjoy the summer months knowing that your baby is not only well hydrated but he's also receiving the best possible nutrition—your breast milk.