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Breastfeeding While Fasting Successfully

This coming Ramadan, other than pregnant mommies, breastfeeding Muslim mommies must also have a lot of question running across their mind. Especially if this is their first time experiencing the fasting month as a new mommy! Here we have compile some useful information and tips for you to be breastfeeding while fasting successfully.

Photo created by prostooleh

Read about pregnancy and fasting here:

First and foremost if you’re wondering if breastfeeding your child can void or break your fast, the answer is No!

Breastfeeding your child is permissible and your fasting deed is valid. So, you can put that worry aside now. From a medical point of view, breastfeeding while fasting is also safe.

To be breastfeeding while fasting can be quite exhausting but it is just one of the many challenges in your breastfeeding journey!

Are they any reason that allows a breastfeeding mommy to skip fasting?

As a Muslim, fasting during the month of Ramadan is an obligation of faith that all Muslim must fulfil however, for people that experience certain conditions, they are allowed to skip it.

For a breastfeeding mom, leeways are given over two reason:
1. Fasting puts your health at risk
2. Fasting puts your child’s health at risk

1. When fasting puts your health at risk

To breastfeed, a mother may experience a lot of difficulties because it uses a lot of energy and nutrient to produce breastmilk.

If breastfeeding while fasting makes you feel nausea or you experience fainting spells, and tiredness, you are advised to break your fast.

Breastfeeding may also cause dehydration. If you plan to fast, you should drink a lot of water when you can. Particularly during the hours of suhoor and breaking fast.

2. When you fasting puts your child’s health at risk

If you observe that your child are showing symptoms of under-nourishment or dehydration and the reason being that your body is not producing enough milk due to you fasting, then you are allowed to break your fast for this.

dehydration in babies can be dangerous and it can happen when your baby is losing more fluid than it takes in. Newborns needs more fluid than adults. Young infants requires about 150ml/kg and toddler need about 100ml/kg while adults only require 50ml/kg daily.

There are several reasons why infants require a lot more fluid than adults. This is because water depletion is higher in infants than in adults. They have higher respiratory and metabolic rate. Their renal functions are also still immature which makes for poorer absorption of water by their system.

Signs of under-nourishment

  1. Low Weight Gain / Weight Loss

If you find that your baby is gaining weight very slowly during their weekly checkups or if you observe that your baby is actually losing weight, it could be sign that your child is not getting enough nourishment. One of the reason may be that you are not producing enough milk.

  1. Not Growing Taller

Other than weight, your baby’s height development could be a sign of malnourishment. This is when your baby is not reaching the optimal height for his or her age.

  1. Eating Less Than Usual

There is a number of underlying causes on why your child is eating less. Malnourishment can also be the reason why your child is becoming reluctant to eat. For this, you may have to seek help and advice from your doctor.

  1. Less Active

Another sign of undernourishment in a baby is when you observe that your baby is less active now than before. This could be a sign that your child is not meeting their daily nourishment intake, making them having less energy to be active.

Undernourishments during the first 2 years of infancy can affect on their development such as not meeting the optimal size for their age, having learning problems, and also their immunity level is reduced.

Effects of Fasting On Your Breastmilk.

Breastmilk Supply

Fasting while nursing can have effects on the breastmilk that you are producing. For breastmilk production and supply, hydration is key. The act of fasting itself would not affect your milk supply volume but dehydration would. There are definitely chances of you becoming dehydrated when you are fasting.

Light or moderate dehydration may not affect much on the breastmilk production. In the other hand, severe dehydration may reduce your milk supply.

Your breasts takes nutrients from your body in order to make breastmilk. Even if your body lacks certain ingredients for breastmilk, the nutrients available would still be enough for your breastmilk production.

This is to mean that your breast will steal the nutrients from yourself to make the milk which would cause you to gain deficit of the nutrients stolen. When you are facing severe dehydration, your breast will start to slow down milk production in order to keep your organs functioning.

Micronutrients In Your Breastmilk

Your breastmilk is made up of macro and micro nutrients. Macronutrients are nutrients that are found abundant in the breastmilk. These includes protein, fat, and carbohydrate. Based on research, the amount of macronutrients in your breastmilk will not be effected when you are fasting.

However, the micronutrients found in the breastmilk may vary when you are fasting. Micronutrients are additional minerals and vitamins that make up the composition of breastmilk. These includes nutrients such as zinc, magnesium, and potassium.

This is because when you are fasting, your nutrient intake decreases hence, so will the amount of nutrients in your breastmilk.

Here’s some tips from a lactation counsellor on how to breastfeed while fasting.

The tips for breastfeeding mothers are almost similar to pregnant mommies! Both condition requires the mother to process and provide nutrition for their little one. Taking care of your intake and rest can make breastfeeding while fasting much more easier.

1. Eat proper balance meal during sahoor and breaking fast.

2. Keep Well Hydrated

3. Rest Well and Stay In The Shade

Remember these tips when you decide to breastfeed while fasting. If at any time during your fasting, you or your baby is unfit, do not push yourself to continue. If any symptoms persists even after you have break your fast, you need to consult your doctor.

Reference:

https://breastfeeding.support/breastfeeding-during-ramadan/
https://blog.provience.org/blog-2/malnutrition-in-babies-and-young-children
https://www.nutrition.org.uk/attachments/442_Shaw.pdf

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