InsyaAllah, this coming Ramadhan month will be my 2nd experience of fasting whilst breastfeeding my child, the last time was with my daughter Aisya and then this time my new born son, Luqman.
I survived last previous years of Ramadhan, while breastfeeding, Alhamdulillah with lots of help and support from family members and other breastfeeding mothers. I’m a strong supporter of breastfeeding your child and I would like to take this opportunity to give that STRONG support to those first timers who are worried about surviving the puasa month.
Worry not! Here are some tips that have helped me and I hope they will also insyaAllah help you sustain through the month smoothly.
1. Eat during sahur! And eat well.
You may be type of person who only drinks during sahoor but it is very important to get enough nutrients and calories during the day for yourself and also for the milk production. Please make sure you eat! And take this chance to also follow the sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH) of delaying the sahoor time. Remember to not over-eat and take some fruits! Fruits last longer in the tummy.
2. Consume dates & honey
Do not underestimate the power of dates! The sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH) is the best practice. Take dates during sahoor – it’s the best energy provider during the day. I didn’t believe it at first but it makes a lot of difference when I missed eating them. I felt sooo tired and lethargic. Oh and also a spoon of honey. You need these two important ingredients to keep yourself energized.
3. Extra meal supplement : ESP or a Meal Shake
I took Shaklee’s ESP last year and it helped to keep me feeling full longer during the day. I’m going to try Shaklee’s Meal Shake this time around because I don’t quite like the taste of the ESP. Sometimes a glass of Milo works for me too. I don’t do this every day, only when I think that my sahoor food is insufficient to keep me full.
4. Remember to take your milk booster during sahur
Different people seem to have different forms of milk booster. Some prefer malt drinks like Horlicks. What works for me are oats and habbatus sauda capsules. So I took habbatus sauda every day and occasionally oats. It is important to take what you BELIEVE is your milk booster because I personally think that milk boosters are just the game of the mind. What you THINK works, will work ;)
5. Drink plenty of water! Avoid caffeinated drinks
Caffeinated drinks can decrease the liquids in your body and this will affect the milk production. Ensure that you drink plenty of water progressively (not at one go) from the time of breaking fast until sahoor time.
6. Think positively and have a strong mind
This goes back to point #4. If you think you can, you can. Stay strong and always end your sahoor with “I can survive today,”
7. Don’t overtire yourself during the day
Do your house chores at night. Ask for assistance from your husband. Rest as much as you need during the day: read the quran, do zhikir and relax your mind by taking a short nap. Tired bodies produce less milk.
8. Make lots of dua!
Have faith and make lots of dua to Allah to give you strength and ease your fast.
9. If your milk production drops, don’t panic too soon!
Our body has a miracle way to adjust to a certain routine. Let’s say if you’re trying to lose weight and you cut your food intake, you will start off feeling VERY hungry the first few days and then suddenly, you’re used to it. The same goes to milk production. You will notice that initially, your milk production will drop slightly. Ensure that you eat and drink well in between breaking fast and sahoor, allow a few days and you will notice that your body automatically adjusts to the new routine. Your milk production will get back to its normal (or close to normal) amount, insyaAllah.
10. Listen to your body and do not force yourself
Think of you and your baby’s health first. If you think that you’re getting sick, or that your baby is getting less wet nappies than the usual or looking dehydrated, or if you’re worried that your baby is not getting enough nutrients, don’t force yourself. Muslim women who are pregnant or breastfeeding may be exempt from fasting if they feel that their health or the baby’s health would be negatively affected by the fasting.
Dear mummies, to breastfeed and to fast, is a big sacrifice. I give all my love and hugs and kisses to all of you for being that supermummy and I pray that Allah reward you for your sacrifices!
[image from: http://www.greenprophet.com/2013/04/breastfeeding-islam-adoption/]
An engineer turned entrepreneur. Mummy to 3-years old Aisya & 2 weeks old Luqman. Founder & Managing Director of ZAAHARA - The Zaahara Telekung. Erina also blogs at rawakramblings.com