First Day of Fasting + Lactation Granola Bars

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Practicing tajweed after Fajr Prayer

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IMAG0550 Ingredients for bars and my eldest daughter

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 suhooIMAG0561r.  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?

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Lactation bar and prenatal vitamins

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Frankincense resin in burner

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Green and white streamers line our living room walls

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One piece prayer garment is a must-have item for every Muslimah

*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

  1. On medium heat blend sugar, oil, milk.
  2. Next turn off heat, set aside and add vanilla and almond butter.
  3. In a separate bowl mix oats, almonds, yeast and flax meal.
  4. Add warm, liquid mixture to bowl.
  5. Mix and pour into greased pan.
  6. Pat down and cover.
  7. Refrigerate for two hours.

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  8. Cut and enjoy.

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Review: Nursing-Friendly French Jilbab

I have been stalking websites that sell French jilbabs ever since the blogger OldSchoolHijabi began writing about them. When she posted about Tasnim Collections I was excited. The site was simple, in English and the jilbabs were more affordable. I bought two, a navy and dark purple. Though shipping was a bit delayed (which customer service did notify me of), I was so happy to receive my package from Morocco one afternoon. I was travelling that day so I decided to throw it on and give it a try. The fabric immediately felt light and I love the drape. As a mom of four kids under the age of 6, I appreciated the long khimar which included a headcovering that tied behind the head and sleeves.   It’s an all-in-one outfit! The jilbab was not see through and the elasticized cuffs made it easy to do wudu. I wish this style of dress was more accessible in the U.S. because it really felt like the ideal, modest dress. The best part of this jilbab was the chest zipper. It allowed me to wear my 5 month old daughter in a front carrier and breastfeed with ease. I wore a blue jean jacket over it just because I like layers and it helped to “guard” her while nursing in public. Plus she was in the carrier which left me hands-free to juggle my other three tots! It came with a matching gathered skirt with an elasticized waist.   This was super comfortable while driving over 100 miles. When I arrived to my destination I didn’t want to take it off. In fact, I wore it each day because it was so quick to put on for prayer and errands.   Plus, if my daughter tugged on it or sat on my lap it didn’t come off. My only cons are that I wish I bought a longer skirt, the shipping could be quicker and as a slim person less fabric on the khimar would be nice. But overall I adore it and will use it for years inshAllah.

I think each nursing mom should have one of these. With Ramadan approaching, this would be something nice to wear to late night tarawih prayers or gatherings. InshAllah, I will be doing a Ramadan Prep Class for Breastfeeding Mothers which will discuss ways to improve fasting, maintain milk supply and save energy. Be on the lookout for my post Sisters.

By the way, I was not paid or received any incentives for this review. I purchased the items with my own money. The opinions are my own.IMAG0096_1_1

My Rant on the Stigma of Attachment Parenting

Naturally, many of us practice attachment parenting without even knowing what it is.  According to about.com ,”The goal of attachment parenting is to raise children who can form healthy, emotional connections with other people throughout their life. Attachment parents believe this must begin by forming a respectful, compassionate connection between parent and child.” Sounds good, right?  Well unfortunately, there is a stigma associated with the common practices of parents such as  breastfeeding, baby-wearing, co-sleeping and even simply holding your child.  For some reason, responding to your babies hunger cues and keeping him close to your heart in a sling is seen as disgraceful.  When I came across the image to the right, I laughed because it is so true.  Even if you only practice one aspect of attachment parenting, like breastfeeding, you experience negative feedback from other people.  In reality, there is nothing wrong with bonding with your child and these “shameful” practices are more beneficial than harmful.  One of the most important needs of a young child is to have a trusting relationship with a caregiver and breastfeeding, baby-wearing, etc. help to facilitate that bond.  When I was in the postpartum unit, many nurses were impressed with how calm my newborn was, not crying during procedures or throughout the night like other babies.  This was due to the fact that I was unknowingly practicing “attachment parenting” right in the hospital room (co-sleeping and all, don’t tell the authorities).  As mothers, we must be confident in the way we raise our children because someone will always have something to say.  The same people who complain, are the ones who will admire how peaceful, well-mannered and intelligent your child is! 

Breastfeeding in Your Birth Plan

It is important that mothers initiate breastfeeding shortly after birth.  To ensure your needs are met and to create the optimal environment for natural feeding,  include the following things in your birth plan (it is not necessary that you include them all):

  • I would like the baby to be placed skin-to-skin immediately after birth (umbilical cord does not have to be cut yet).  That is, before the baby is washed or has drops placed in his eyes.  If the baby needs extra warmth, a blanket can be placed over him.
  • I would like all newborn procedures delayed until after the first feeding, and done with the baby lying on me or being held by me.
  • Allow my baby to explore my breast at his own pace.  I would like to give the baby an opportunity to self-latch.
  • I would not like my baby’s mouth to be suctioned unless medically necessary.
  • Please do not give my baby artificial nipples such as teats, dummies, or pacifiers.
  • Unless medically necessary, I do not want my baby to receive supplemental feeding such as glucose water or formula.  If supplementation is needed, I would like to discuss my concerns with a pediatrician and lactation consultant.
  • In the event of a c-section, I would like to hold the baby skin-to-skin as soon as possible after surgery.  If I am unable to for some time, I would like my husband/relative to hold the baby skin-to-skin.
  • I want my baby to stay in my room with me, so that I can hold my baby skin-to-skin as much as possible.  To ensure your modesty is protected, have your nurse put a sign on the door indicating that you do not want male caregivers and/or that you everyone must knock, state who they are, and wait for a response.
  • I would like help in establishing a comfortable and effective latch, and learn different positions for nursing my baby.  I would also like assistance in learning hand expression, how to recognize swallowing, and what to expect in the days following discharge.
  • If I encounter any breastfeeding problems, I would like help from an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant.
  • If I am separated from my baby for medical reasons, I want to use a breastpump to help establish my milk supply.
  • Do not give me any formula promotional material including the free formula diaper bags, coupons and crib cards.
  • Please provide me with resources for breastfeeding support in my community such as lactation consultants, clinics, groups and/or organizations.

Free Birth Plan Creator

Is Your Vitamin Halal?

Noor Vitamins are certified Halal and affordable.

If a mother eats a reasonably, well-balanced diet, taking vitamins are not necessary.  To find out why, checkout this article by Kellymom.  SubhanAllah, Allah (swt) has made our bodies very efficient at producing milk for our babies.

However, with the demands and stress of postpartum life, many women fall short of eating a truly, nutritious diet.  Therefore, many women continue take a multi-vitamin to ensure that they are getting all the nutrients they need.

“O you who have believed, eat from the pure things which we have provided you” (Quran 2:172).  Did you know that most brands use haram ingredients to make their vitamins?  Many people do not think it is important to check the pureness of vitamins, but as narrated by Abu Hurayrah (RA), the Prophet of Allah (saws) said, “a time will come upon the people wherein a man will not bother what he intakes; whether from Halal source or Haram” (Bukhari).  Gelatin derived from pig fat or bones, is often used in vitamins as a softening agent.  Alcohol may also be used to make certain ingredients in vitamins.  Also, fat-soluble vitamins A,D,E and K often come from non-halal sources.

S’ad RA relates: Allah’s messenger (saws) said “O S’ad purify your food (and as a result) you will become one whose supplications are accepted. I swear by He in whose hands the soul of Muhammad (saws) lies, verily a servant (of Allah) tosses a Haram morsel in his stomach (due to which) no deed is accepted from him for 40 days” (Tabarani)

We all want our deeds to be accepted by Allah (swt).  Therefore, it is important that you check your vitamins with a resource such as Muslim Consumer Group or contact the company to verify if the vitamins are safe to consume.

To make it easy for you, I have compiled a short list of halal vitamins.

Noor Vitamins (Certified Halal by Islamic Services of America)

Halvit (IFANCA certified)

Nutrition Enhancement

Salaam Nutritionals

Vitamin Corner

Landau Multivitamins, Minerals, and Prenatal Vitamin

Maxi Health Multivitamins, Minerals, and Prenatal Vitamin

Solgar Multivitamins and Minerals, Calcium Citrate & Vitamin D

Zahlers Multivitamins and Minerals

If you know of anymore halal vitamin products, please contact me.

Islam Protects and Promotes Breastfeeding

Islam protects the breastfeeding relationship by providing rights and provisions that ensure the mother and child attain optimal benefits.  Here is a small list of examples that make breastfeeding easier and more achievable:

  • Breastfeeding is the right of the mother.  If she is willing no one can keep her from doing it.
  • Breastmilk is the birthright of a child.
  • As a part of marriage, husbands provide emotional, moral, physical and financial support.
  • After birth, women are given a generous 40/60 day (depending on madhab) maximum resting period while she is still bleeding (nifas). During this time she is not obligated to fast or pray (Sunnipath).
  • Sexual intercourse with one’s husband is not allowed while a woman is bleeding (nifas) after childbirth.
  • With a valid excuse, breastfeeding women can delay their fasts and make them up at a later time.
  • Children must honor their parents as mentioned in the translation of Surah Luqman verse 14, “And We have enjoined on man to be dutiful and good to his parents. His mother bore him in weakness and hardship, and his weaning is in two years. Give thanks to Me and to your parents; unto Me is the final destination”

The following are derived from Surah Al-Baqarah Verse 233:

  • The recommended full term of breastfeeding is 2 years.  This is the perfect amount of time because there are many benefits (please refer to this post).
  • Breastfeeding does not have to be a hardship. No one can force a woman to breastfeed.mm
  • Weaning early is permissible if a mother and father wish to do so.
  • If the parents choose to, they can hire a wet-nurse to feed the baby.
  • If the father/husband is not available e.g. he dies, his heir is responsible for facilitating his responsibilities for feeding the child.
  • Women have no obligation to work outside the home to provide food, clothing, or maintenance of the household. In general, and within reasonable means, this is the responsibility of the husband.
  • It is the father’s responsibility to find and pay for a milk-source if the mother does not breastfeed.
  • If a woman is divorced and still breastfeeding she has to be maintained (or compensated) by the ex-husband.