Mmm..blue Gatorade. Tasty, but can it increase your milk supply? It’s been a tip that surges up from time to time on breastfeeding blogs and it’s coming up a lot again now. So what’s the what? We’ll try to clear up a few points here.
1. There’s no evidence that Gatorade of any flavor increases supply. Some moms have reported online that it helped, but we see just as many moms that see no change. Those moms just don’t tend to go post about it. Frequent feeding, getting a good latch, thorough breast emptying, and getting professional advice when you need it are the keys to a strong supply. If you want to drink Gatorade while doing those things, there’s no harm – and if you find it does help you – then keep it up! We’re never ones to contradict a mom’s experience.
2. There’s nothing special about blue. The internet scuttlebutt is that all other flavors contain bromiated vegetable oil, a food additive a lot of moms wanted to avoid. But it was removed from Gatorade in 2013 and from Powerade in 2014. If you drink Gatorade, pick the flavor that tastes good to you and if you think you may have an old bottle with the additive, just check the ingredient list.
3. Electrolytes aren’t magic. Sports drinks don’t encourage your glands to open up nor correct any “deficiencies” that nursing causes. Gatorade has salt (potassium and sodium – these are the electrolytes), sugar and water. If you work out really hard for an hour or more, you sweat out a lot of salt and water and use up the sugar stored in your muscles. Sports drinks can help restore those things. Breastfeeding doesn’t mess up your electrolyte balance or deplete your salt or sugar levels. You’re better off getting water from, well, drinking water and carbs from food. Drink to thirst, eat to hunger and you’ll be all good.
With all that said, if you want to drink Gatorade – there’s no harm. Don’t overdo it (there’s a lot of sugar and salt in there), but a normal amount during breastfeeding is just fine. And if it seems to help your supply – who cares how it worked! But, again, if you are having supply issues, seek help for your individual case and use other tried and true methods as well.
Oh, and yes, while it won’t change the color of your sweat like in the old Gatorade commercial, there have been some reports of slight color changes in the milk of mothers who drank a lot of sports drinks. If you see that, don’t freak out – it’s not harmful.