Can A Breastfeeding Woman Fast?

Ramadan Kareem to all our Muslim sisters, welcome to the holy month of Ramadan! Motherhood and religion need not be in conflict which is why women are often at a loss when it comes to breastfeeding and fasting. So should a woman fast while breastfeeding? Women who are breastfeeding, ill or travelling have the permission not to fast although they can if they want to.

Although some Islamic scholars say it’s wrong to ignore this act of kindness by fasting when you do not have to. So, if you are breastfeeding and planning to observe the Ramzan fast, wait. According to Islamic law, a breastfeeding mother does not need to fast. But missed fasts must be compensated for at a later date, meaning when you wean your baby you have a fast debt that you have to pay gradually.

If however you decide to fast while breastfeeding, you should be aware of the way it might affect you. Dehydration is one of the problems you might encounter. If you notice any of the following symptoms then you are dehydrated;

  • feel very thirsty
  • pass urine that’s dark-coloured and strong-smelling
  • feel faint, weak or tired
  • develop a headache or other pains

Since you can’t drink water during Ramadan fast until the sun has gone down, drink plenty of water when you break your fast and early in the morning before you resume your fast.

Also eat nutritious foods more than ever before when you break your fast so you can keep your energy level up.

What can I do to prevent any problems?

Preparing for fasting will help you avoid potential problems.

  • Buy everything you’d be needing and do every chore that might require extra energy before your fasting starts.
  • Make sure you eat and drink enough when you break your fast.
  • Stay cool and keep put of the sun so you don’t get dehydrated easily.

If you notice any of the following while breastfeeding and fasting or you feel baby’s not getting ehough breast milk, talk to your doctor. Here are some signs to watch out for;

  • fewer wet nappies (a newborn should have several heavy, wet nappies a day)
  • greenish poo
  • lasting, shrill crying or inability to settle
  • weight loss or not putting on weight

If breastfeeding problems develop, talk to your doctor about these symptoms.

Finally I’d say this, it is an act of unkindness to yourself to go on long fast while breastfeeding, your baby might not be getting enough feeds, you will be dehydrated and going on a prolonged period of fasting(like Ramadan) can lead to an abrupt end to breastfeeding although a one-day fast will have no impact on the breast milk.

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Is Lying Down To Breastfeed Dangerous?

Can lying down to breastfeed your baby really be dangerous? Yes, in some cases. There are times when mothers have to breastfeed their baby lying down, like when baby wakes up in the middle of the night to feed or when you are too tired to sit up, hold him and breastfeed him. Since babies often wake up in the middle of the night to feed, so the mother finds a safe and easy position to breastfeed her baby i.e lying down to breastfeed.

”My two kids who are now 3 years old and 5 respectively were breastfed while lying on my side countless times when they want to feed and I’m too tired to sit up and nurse them and nothing ever happened to the two of them. I don’t see breastfeeding lying down as a problem”

However, breastfeeding baby to sleep can be dangerous in two cases;

1. Falling asleep while breastfeeding baby

The danger in breastfeeding baby while lying down is if the mother should fall asleep, she can squash her baby to death.  If this happens, the death is often classified as SIDS but it is in fact suffocation, and no mother can feel good knowing she caused the death of her baby.

If a mother accidentally falls asleep while breastfeeding her baby, her breast might cover the nose of her baby while she’s asleep, cutting off the air supply to the baby’s airways, such mother might wake up to a lifeless blue baby and it will be her fault, this guilt is just too much to risk such.

Only mothers who gave birth through C-section are advised to breastfeed while lying down and they should not be tired enough to sleep off. Nursing while lying on your side can cause your baby to choke to death.

2. Ear infection

Nursing your baby while lying on your side can give your baby ear infection. When breastfeeding your baby, it’s easy for the breast milk to swim into one of his ears, when this happens, the fluid builds up in the middle of the ear creating a warm, moist environment where germs love to grow and tada! Bacteria and viruses will invade and thrive in your child’s ear causing them to become cranky, pained and have fever, all of which are symptoms of an ear infection.

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