{New #OutsideTheMomBox post} #Moms H2O 101

Summer is officially here and with it, long days that often feel exhausting, especially if you are pregnant or have a baby attached to you. One way to help curb exhaustion and remain alert is to stay hydrated. 

I'm always surprised how much more awake I feel after I sit down and have a few good gulps of water. Then, again and again. Dehydration can make us feel fatigued, head-achy, and nauseous. Drinking water is kind of like taking deep breathes, for me. It can feel cleansing and mind-clearing...when I'm being mindful of what I am doing!

Pay special attention to your fluids when you're exercising. I had a wicked headache for almost 4 days shortly after I came back from working out harder than I should have, one of my first times back at the gym. I'd drank a little water when I was there but not enough and had been nursing Elisabeth almost non-stop the night before as she battled yet another ear infection. I couldn't figure out why my headache was so bad. It seemed like a migraine but I'd never had one before. Only an 800 mg tab of prescription ibruprophen leftover from oral surgery seemed to knock it back a bit. Weeks later, after sleuthing around on the internet, I guessed that perhaps I had been severely dehydrated. I now make it a practice to drink most of my 16 oz Camelbak of water en route to the gym, while there, and on the way back home. I also keep a full glass of water by my bedside table so I can sip overnight whenever I need to.

Speaking of sipping, make those sips more appealing by adding something to it. I'm a sucker for pretty things so when something is more visually appealing, I'm more drawn to it, even my water bottle! Grab a bundle of mint from the Farmers Market on Saturday mornings for only $1. I add a good 8-9 leaves to my Camelbak and then keep a pitcher of cold water with plenty of mint floating in it, ready to go in the fridge. That bundle should last the whole week. If you aren't a mint fan, add some cubed watermelon, slices of washed, peeled cukes or the old standby: lemon wedges. Even Elisabeth is getting into it, saying "mint" and looking for it at the Farmers Market!

A bib always helps with any water play! (Elisabeth at 7 months.)

A bib always helps with any water play! (Elisabeth at 7 months.)

Kids, even babies, love water. We bought Elisabeth a water table when she was a little over a year and I have high hopes for her to use it for another two years at least! But for littles closer to the 6 month + mark, you don't need to get that fancy: set them up for some fun water play on their high chair (or outside in the shade on a blanket). Put a few ice cubes on their tray and see how they react. It will likely be too slippery to pick them up easily but of course keep a close eye on them with the cubes. If your baby is teething, wrap the cubes in a scrap of clean, thinnish fabric so baby can then use them to ease their achy gums. This kind of cool distraction might be just the thing you need to remind you to drink your water too!

A few special notes-

If you're breastfeeding, baby will be drinking more which means that YOU need to be drinking more. Breastfeeding is a loss of fluid, after all, so you do need to replace those fluids. Baby doesn't need water. Remember that breastmilk is 89% water so baby doesn't need to be drinking water by herself although a sippy cup full of water can be a fun activity! Water is okay for Baby to drink if she is at least 6 months but just a few ounces a day. Most babies under a year don't seem all that interested in drinking water.

If you're pregnant, it's even more important for you to be drinking plenty of water when the weather turns hot. Dehydration can happen very easily and can be very dangerous. Remember too that a loss of fluid is felt throughout the body (think headaches, nausea, etc.) and that includes the uterus. This piece over at Live Strong details all of this quite nicely. 

Do you have any tips or lessons learned when it come to keeping hydrated? Leave a comment below. Thanks for reading!