Breastfeeding and Fasting: 27 Ways to Prevent Burnout

Recite Quran to help you relax.

Breastfeeding research tells us that short term fasting will not decrease milk supply, but that severe dehydration can reduce milk supply. A nursing woman may be at risk of severe dehydration if she is not drinking enough fluids during the night period. This risk will be heightened if she is exhausted with the demands of work, homemaking, caregiving and other daytime activities. Succumbed to too much physical and emotional stress, a breastfeeding mother can easily become burned-out while fasting.  Consequently, many Muslimahs blame fasting during Ramadan as the reason they stopped breastfeeding.  It saddens me that such an exciting time of the year, hinders women from providing the best nourishment for their children.  As mentioned in the Surah Al-Baqarah verse 233, breastfeeding should not be a hardship.  As a community, we should take more efforts to support women who are fasting, especially during Ramadan.  Essential to maintaining well-being, proper rest, a healthy diet, strong support network and rememberance of Allah will ensure mothers enjoy the barakah of breastfeeding and fasting.  Please share the following tips to help mothers protect their health and milk supply this Ramadan:

  1. Avoid caffeinated and/or carbonated drinks such as coke, coffee and tea which may contribute to dehydration. Caffeine is a diuretic which means it increases urination.

  2. Eat fresh fruits and vegetable as much as you can.

  3. Recite Quran daily to help you relax.

  4. Do not fill-up on fluids at suhoor. Set a schedule (if it helps) and drink in moderation overnight.

  5. Complete housework at night or before suhoor.

  6. Avoid spicy foods.

  7. Make dhikr throughout the day.

  8. Protect yourself from overheating by wearing hats, shades and light clothing when outside the house.

  9. Build a support network with sisters who are also mothers.

  10. Take a break from cooking by inviting others over for pot-luck style iftar and/or attending community iftars

  11. Limit your intake of dairy products like milk, cheese and yogurt because they contribute to mucous production (thickening of body fluids).

  12. If you work outside the home, sit down and rest in between high activity flows.

  13. Though it may be a challenge, find time to be alone.

  14. Discuss your intention to fast with your husband, family and friends before fasting, to avoid negative feedback.

  15. Ask family and friends for help with housework, children, cooking, etc.

  16. Plan activities for children to keep them busy during the day.

  17. Make a list for grocery shopping and plan your meals weekly.

  18. Break your fast with a cup of juice or water and 3-4 dates to bring your blood sugar levels to normal.

  19. Make your fard prayers on time.

  20. Despite your desire to guzzle a gallon of water at iftar, try your best to practice the sunnah of filling your stomach with a third of each: water, air, food.

  21. Make dua to Allah (swt), calling him by his glorious name Ar-Razzaq (The Provider), to provide you with the strength to continue fasting. Remember to give salawat to the Prophet Muhammad (saws) in your dua.

  22. Recite Ayat-ul-Kursi. There are many benefits to reading this verse.

  23. Recite Surah Al-Ikhlas and Al-Mu`awwidhatain. In a Hadith, Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi and Nasa’i have recorded that the Messenger of Allah (saws) said: “Anyone who recites Surah Al-Ikhlas and the mu’awwadhatain (i.e. Surah Al-Falaq and An-Nas) morning and evening, they shall be sufficient for him.”

  24. Make sure you get enough sleep during the night. If you are up for prayers, take naps during the day.

  25. Be confident! Subhan’Allah, our bodies make metabolic adaptations to fasting, ensuring that milk production is not affected. In other words, our milk supply is inherently protected.

  26. If you are feeling overwhelmed, let someone know.

  27. If you feel like you are losing control of your emotions or are angry, pray taw’waz (authu billahi minash-shaitan ar-rajim) , make wudu to “cool off” and/or lie down on the floor.

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9 thoughts on “Breastfeeding and Fasting: 27 Ways to Prevent Burnout

  1. Pingback: muslim roundup « wood turtle

  2. This is very helpful and informative. What a great support for breastfeeding mothers.
    Although I do not share your faith, I will find this helpful for days of abstention in my
    own. Thank you!

  3. I wonder tht how to keep my 5 years old boy busy in ramadan whil im having 4 months old baby..seems hactic this ramadan..plz shar some tips

  4. Pingback: 25 Tips Menjalankan Ibadah Puasa Bagi Ibu Menyusui

  5. AOA WR WB jkk for the tips sister. Alhamdulillah Allahs Grace enabled me to fast all through the nursing period of three kids( My third is almost two now so she weans off completely before this Ramadaan)
    To start with we must keep the perspective clear: Nursing mothers are exempt from fasting if they feel they cannot keep up with the fast.
    Having said that, each person knows their individual circumstances. I would suggest a trial period wherein one assesses how far to go. My own practise during this time has been a day to day basis intention. I make the intention of one who dow not know if he can keep up with the fast so breaking it is not considered a sin. And then lots of dua. Added to that please do not make ramadaan your ‘lose baby weight’ program if you are breast feeding
    I would start drinking water from the time I started preparing for suhoor. My aim was atleast four to five glasses. I always drank a mug of cold milk in suboor(minus any additives) and the rest would be water. At an egg two slices of bread dates and some yogurt. Please avoid curries and parathas and junk. Iftaar would again constitute a drink which was half water half milk (atleast three to four glasses till taraweeh) No additives again other than a seed that we call tukh mulungaa- It is highly refreshing. I will look up the name in english ia. Again no fried stuff in iftaar. Simple food – either with roti or rice. Fruits if managebale. This intake of fluid will help you prevent urine infections as well ia. Although i enjoy tea a lot but ramadaan means absolute abstinence to help keep the fluids in. Again the key is lots and lots of dua. However again as we cannot make compulsory what Allah has not, please do not continue fasting if you feel a urine infection coming on , or dehydrated or too over whelmed to keep up with other ibadah such as the night prayer. InshaAllah Allah will compensate it for you.

  6. Love the tips!
    I’m not sure Naveen’s entirely accurate and I feel a policy of just intend to fast and try works better- U don’t fast, u don’t know, and you’ve missed the fast. U do try, you may well be able to fast, and u can break it if needed. u get rewarded even if u break it as u intended and tried. Alhamdulillah.
    This is really useful, a must read for breastfeeding mums https://ramadanfastingandpregnancy.wordpress.com/breastfeeding/

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