Most Muslimahs are lighthearted about breastfeeding and fasting. While most sisters have valid excuses, some assume themselves exempt from participating in Ramadan without even considering if there is a genuine fear for themselves or their child. It is a myth that fasting in an Islamic manner (refraining from food and drink from sun up to sun down) causes low milk supply. Scientific research on West African Muslimahs has shown that fasting does not cause low milk supply, but does change the composition. Remember, breastmilk is always changing so this is not detrimental. Breastmilk does diminish from severe dehydration, which can be easily prevented by hydrating overnight with water or juice. It is my firm belief that if we trust in Allah (swt) and make intention to gain His pleasure by fasting, He will provide all the sustenance needed for the baby and mother. By His mercy, he has given the breastfeeding mother an allowance to abstain from fasting should a fear arise for her child or herself. Over the next few weeks I will share tips on how to stay healthy while fasting and breastfeeding.
If you plan on breastfeeding during Ramadan this year, start preparing now. My first tip is to start pumping during Shaban (or earlier) and freeze the milk. Generally, twice a day (evening and morning) should be sufficient, but mothers of younger infants may be able to pump more often. This will provide a back-up supply, as your body adjusts to fasting and in case you sense a dip in your supply. Also, if you are worried about your milk composition changing, this will ensure your baby gets all the nutrients he needs. Supplement with this breastmilk as much as you like and avoid using formula. If you wish, you can continue to pump at night during Ramadan to maintain your back-up supply for the future (or if your baby decides to have a growth spurt during Ramadan!). If you do not use the milk, it will be good for 3-6 months in the freezer. Consult a lactation consultant for further questions or concerns.
Please Follow My Blog by Email and Help Spread the Barakah of Breastfeeding!