Exclusive Breastfeeding and Fasting in the Month of Ramadan

When asked if I am fasting while still nursing my 4 month old, who is exclusively on my milk; my reply often gets a jaw dropped expression. Yes, I do, and with absolutely no problem.

Many are worried about the supply being reduced, or milk composition being affected and so I thought to jot down a few points which I gathered after tons of research in this area. I’m a qualified nutritionist, and I don’t derive any conclusion without research from authentic sources, so you can trust me with my words 🙂

Disclaimer: This is totally based on my research in this area and also my personal experience. I’d however recommend you to cross check with your general physician/gynaceologist to see if it’s safe for you to fast.

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Firsty, according to the law of Shariah (religion), pregnant and lactating women are EXEMPTED from fasting and can choose to do so if they’re able to keep their health good and if they’re comfortable with it.

So there’s no hard and fast rule here, but I chose to fast because:

1. I’m never motivated to compensate for the missed fasts because there’s no company

and

2. I love fasting. Yes. Though it might sound very taxing or difficult, I feel fasting rejuvenates me in some way. I’m way more active and focused while I fast 🙂

For all those confused or worried, I’m sharing all the common questions here and answering them individually. If you have any more queries, feel free to ask in the comment section and I’d be more than happy to help.

Q. Will fasting affect the quality and quantity of the milk?

This might surprise you, but no, milk production is not affected, unless the fast exceeds 24hrs, which never happens. I’ve even noticed forceful let down on a couple of occasions while fasting, so I’m sure about this part! Talking about the quality or nutrients, only a few micro nutrients like zinc, phosphorus and magnesium are slightly on the lower side, but the macronutrients remain unchanged.

Q. Will I not be dehydrated?

There’s a possibility of dehydration if your water intake is not maintained well. But if you try to compensate for the liquids during the non-fasting period i.e. From Iftaar to the following suhoor, it can be managed well and will not result in dehydration. However, if you notice any of the signals (mentioned below), it’s best to break your fast.

Q. How will I know I should break or skip my fast?

If you notice any of these symptoms or signals, I would strongly suggest you to not consider fasting since your body may not be prepared for it:

1. Weakness or dizziness

2. Yellow or dark coloured urine

3. Nausea

4. Splitting headache

Or if you notice any signs in the baby such as incessant crying due to hunger, constipation or green coloured poop, less playful or active than usual etc.

Note that the chances of this happening are very bleak since milk is produced from blood and storage we already have and it’s the sucking reflex that increases the production, but still, if you observe any of the above, I would strongly advice you to take a break for a day or two and see if fasting is the reason for the occurrence and then judge accordingly.

And guess what? You may also lose upto 1kg per week while breastfeeding and fasting without affecting the nutrient composition of the milk if you make sure to eat healthy. However, if notice weight loss more than 1kg/week, it would be best to discontinue fasting and you should probably see your doctor.

I have, so far, managed my fasts pretty well and never felt low or ill, hence I can say this with assurance that if you eat well and ensure proper hydration, you can fast and stay healthy with ease:)

Thanks for stopping by and reading!

Love,

Elina

What my 3-month old baby taught me!

As parents, the moment our tiny souls begin to understand the world around, we delve ourselves into the plethora of information about what’s best to teach them, so that we’re able to train them as early we can. Amidst all this, we often overlook that there’s so much we can learn from them too!

I thought of jotting down 5 such lessons my 3-month old taught me!

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Lesson #1 Smile!

The moment she wakes up every morning, she looks at us and smiles in such an angelic way, we forget all our worries and stresses. There’s so much joy in her smile which makes me realise how we, the current generation, function like robots. We sleep late and wake up late- and hence don’t have the time to start each day on a positive note. So yeah, this is what I learnt from her- sleep well and smile, your day is going to be awesome!

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Lesson #2 Treat everyone equally

Let’s face it- no matter how much we deny, somewhere, we do gauge people based on their education level, financial status, looks or behaviour and treat them accordingly. My daughter, like every other infant, plays and responds to everyone who talks to her in the same manner- be it our house help or some random relative, she has taught me to look at everyone with the same eye!

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#3 Listen to your body’s instincts

Don’t we see how babies cry when hungry, when they want to sleep, when they’ve pooped and so on? It’s so because they listen to body’s instincts. We have or probably HAD these instincts too, but we’ve been so deaf ears, that our bodies have stopped communicating at all. Being a nutritionist, I get this a lot. Tell me, how many times you had the urge to pee but ignored because you were too lazy to go until the feeling went away? How many times were you hungry but didn’t eat because you were on a ‘diet?’ Our body keeps communicating but we ignore! My daughter has taught me to understand the demands of my body and to take care of my health better!

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Lesson #4 Learn something new everyday

With each passing day, I see her grow, not just physically, but cognitively too. She’s always trying to imitate us, talk to us, observe things and is in a hurry to learn new things. I wonder where has my curiosity to learn vanished? So here’s my lesson- if she can do it, so can I, right?

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Lesson #5 Forgive easily and love unconditionally

It takes courage to confess, but I’m sure I’m not alone- there have been times while handling her when I’ve accidentally hurt her a little (just a little) and she cried which broke and my heart. But within a few minutes, she was playful again and smiled at me! There’s no grudge or anger, there’s no enmity or hurtful feelings. All I see is forgiveness and love! This is what I learn from her ❤️️