Islam gives great importance to breastfeeding. It is considered a right of the child to be breastfed. Allah says in the Holy Qur’an. “Mothers may breastfeed their children two complete years for whoever wishes to complete the nursing (period). Upon the father is the mother’s provision and their clothing according to what is acceptable…” (2:233)
Without going into the legal discussion, during Ramadan, breastfeeding mothers may or may not fast depending on their health and health of the baby.
For those breastfeeding mothers who are fasting here are a few tips to make this month easier. Insha’Allah
1. Hydrate yourself. Drink lots of water in between Ifthar and Suhoor rather than drinking at one go at Suhoor. Studies show complete fasting during daylight hours do not affect milk supply but severe dehydration will decrease milk supply. Hence hydrate yourself in the time that is permissible.
2. Suhoor – Breastfeeding mothers should not miss the pre-dawn meal. It was narrated that Anas ibn Maalik (May Allah be pleased with him) said: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Eat Suhoor, for in Suhoor there is blessing”. (Al Bukhaari) Have Suhoor as late as possible and have slowly digesting energy food like wheat, oats, millet, semolina, red rice etc. Fibre rich food such as bran, cereal, grains etc, vegetables and fruits like apricots, figs, dates etc are other good options.
3. Healthy diet – Avoid deep-fried food and desserts during Ifthar. Make sure to have food from all food groups, thus resulting in a wholesome meal.
3. Lactogenic food like fenugreek, fennel, oatmeal, lactation teas, barley water, brown rice, nuts like cashew, almonds etc should be included in the diet so that milk supply is maintained.
4. Dates – The Messenger of Allah (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) used to break his fast before praying with some fresh dates, but there were enough fresh dates he had a few dry dates and if there were no dry dates he took some mouthfuls of water. ( Sunan Abu Dawud) Dates and fasting have a long Islamic tradition. Dates are rich in iron, calcium and potassium and are a naturally available quick energy bites. Do not forget to have a bite or two during Ifthar and Suhoor.
5. Ample rest – Do household chores in the early morning hours when you are refreshed and healthy rather than during the evening when you are naturally tired after a whole day of fasting – breastfeeding or not!
6. Feed on demand – Since milk supply is dependent on demand/emptying, make sure to breastfeed often without missing any feed.
The constant worry of whether the child is receiving enough nutrition or not usually daunt every breastfeeding mother. Few signs to note to know if baby is not feeding well,
- Reduction in the number of wet diapers for the day. (Normally 6-7)
- Changes in bowel output from routine.
- Constant crying which cannot be settled.
- Reduction in weight.
Consult a paediatrician if in doubt to get professional advice
May Allah accept our fast and prayers. May He forgive our shortcomings and bless us with the energy, zeal and knowledge to be good parents.
(For the complete article, hop over to Muslimah Bloggers)