Ramadan Mubarak. I pray this month brings us all closer to Allah (swt). I am fasting and nursing my 8 month old. So, I thought I’d share part of my journey with you all. By the way, ALL NURSING MOTHERS CAN DELAY THEIR FAST. THIS IS A PERSONAL CHOICE. FASTING IS NOT POSSIBLE FOR EVERYONE. I have years of experience fasting and I know my limits. If needed, I will stop fasting at anytime.
As soon as I heard the moon was sighted I started drinking more water and eating fruit, knowing the night would end soon and that my husband was headed out to Tarawih at a close masjid. We sat with our kids for a while and talked about Ramadan and what it means. I took my prenatal vitamins, prayed and went to bed pretty late. Actually I passed out on the prayer rug, lol. In the morning I went to work (I am only part time). I felt pretty good, no headache or anything. In fact I had a feeling of fullness almost all day, weird eh? Very careful to pace my self and not get frustrated, the day passed quickly. Toward the end of my shift my mouth was a bit dry because I do a lot breastfeeding education. So I found it easy to refrain from unnecessary chatting with co-workers. I was noticeably more focused and patient with helping mothers & babies latch. I spent my lunch break in a private consult room praying dhuhr, making dua, dhikr and reading Quran. My phone died so I was unable to read translation:( That’s when I got the fun idea of making some lactation breakfast bars. When I got home from work my daughter nursed right away on one side. No changes noticed, she reached out my lap and played as usual. She is starting to crawl so nursing sessions are a lot shorter. She also eats mixed fruits, vegetables, meat and grains several times a day and is being gradually weaned from breastmilk. I should mention that my daughter does not like expressed breastmilk and is not supplemented with formula. She drinks water or juice using a sippy cup and eats soft foods while I am at work. My close friend, a very loving sister who lives nearby is great with her. The house was decorated with streamers by the kids. About two hours before Magrib my tummy got a lil rumbly so I got my kids involved in helping me pour and mix ingredients for these no-bake lactation bars. I used flax seed meal which has fiber, lignans (phyoestrogens help boost milk) and Omega 3’s. The oats have iron, fiber, antioxidants and also increase milk. The vegan brewer’s yeast from beet molasses has B vitamins, chromium (helps control blood sugar), and probiotics. Oh, and the yeast also helps increase milk production. For this reason non-Muslims, commonly use beer to increase milk production, astaghfirullah (this contains alcohol). Be careful not to buy Brewer’s yeast from beer, I got mine from Whole Foods. The lovely smell of frankincense filled our home, soothing our minds as we got ready to break our fast. My older two children “fasted” for the last 2-3 hours. My husband prepared an iftar meal of comfort foods, including his famous crunchy fried chicken Alhamdulilah. Probably not the healthiest but I was thankful to not have to cook. Sisters, if you are fasting and nursing….it’s very important to have a supportive partner. I had been craving coffee but settled for pineapple juice knowing that caffeine would not be good to start out with. Why? Because caffeine can make my baby hyperactive, give me a headache as well as a crash. It also is diuretic, meaning it will make you urinate more which can lead to dehydration. So I broke my fast with dates, pineapple juice, whole wheat baguette from Whole Foods and homemade herbed butter. After we prayed we ate and opened small gifts from my oldest daughter. This is a tradition in our home. A few times during the month one child (we have four) is taken somewhere inexpensive like the dollar store and allowed to choose and wrap gifts for everyone. She bought me a new organic coffee from the Congo (Whole foods exception) and a Starburst candle. I was so happy to be able to smell this fruity candy I no longer eat because it is not halal in the U.S. She also snagged some candy bracelets for herself which was reminiscent of my childhood. The gifts definitely made us enjoy this special first night of Ramadan together. I kept the water pitcher near me, making sure to fill my cup when I noticed I hadn’t drank in a while. I took my two of my three small prenatal vitamins (for nursing also, I’m not pregnant). They are flatter and smaller than those common horse pills I have trouble swallowing. My kids had fun marking our first day of Ramadan on a big calendar (again, dollar store) with stickers. They were proud that they took part in “fasting”. We prayed, got the kids ready for bed, I rested and my husband stayed up to work and pray more. I woke up around midnight and felt right away that my breasts were fuller of milk than usual. In past years I have noticed this due to the surge of fluids and nutrients at night. I nursed my daughter in the side lying position and fell off back to sleep. Almost 2 hours later my husband came to wake me but I was alert nursing my daughter again.She stayed sleep and I floated downstairs to eat suhoor. I started with a few glasses of water and fresh juice my husband made the previous evening with the juicer. The juice contained two bunches of kale, two beets, strawberries and orange juice. You can see the colors in the picture. Juicing or making smoothies is a great way to hydrate and get extra nutrients from foods you may not have the energy or appetite to chew. I was surprised to taste the lactation bar, it tasted just like a granola bar with a blend of coconut and almonds. My kids will enjoy them. By the way, anyone can eat these and it won’t cause them to make milk. After suhoor we prayed and we spent some time together practicing tajweed. I made it a point to start learning more Quran in Shaban and a beautiful sister and fellow mommy volunteered to teach me. She is very flexible, joining me at a different time each week. In the picture you will see that I am wearing a one piece, stretchy prayer garment and using a large print Quran with a stand. If I have to hold my baby this makes it easier to continue reciting. Underneath I am wearing a comfy knit maxi dress. As I go into my second day of fasting I have many goals and know that I should eat better and obviously drink more. Sisters, it’s very important to aware of your needs and address any concerns about milk supply. If me or my child’s health was in danger I would seek help and not continue fasting. I have fasted the last few years and know my limits. InshAllah tomorrow is another good day. How did your first day go?
*I paid for all these items myself, I did not get paid for this post and the opinions are mine.
Easy Lactation Bars
Recipe from http://www.homemademothering.com by Maureen 5/17/14
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup almond butter
1 tablespoon vanilla -I used non-alcoholic vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
3 tbsp brewer’s yeast – from vegetarian source
1/2 cup ground flax seeds
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup shredded coconut
- On medium heat blend sugar, oil, milk.
- Next turn off heat, set aside and add vanilla and almond butter.
- In a separate bowl mix oats, almonds, yeast and flax meal.
- Add warm, liquid mixture to bowl.
- Mix and pour into greased pan.
- Pat down and cover.
- Refrigerate for two hours.
- Cut and enjoy.