07/07/2016 by Aruna Kamath
During the holy month of Ramzan, Muslims over the world follow the religious practice of fasting that lasts from dawn to dusk. While it is mandatory for all healthy adults, the rules are relaxed for pregnant and lactating mothers with the Islamic law giving them permission to give fasting amiss. However, most staunch followers chose to fast during this period. With a good diet and support from family, it’s easy to tide over this period. Here a few things you should know.
Will fasting impact your baby when you’re breastfeeding?
As long as your baby is breast fed, milk production will continue even if you are fasting. Reducing your calorie intake or inadequate nutrition also does not alter the composition of breast milk. In fact, you could eat nothing for 24 hours, without affecting the quantity or nutritional value of your breast milk. So your baby is unlikely to be affected or harmed in anyway.
If fasting leads to drastic weight loss, it may begin to affect the fat content in your breast milk. This is because, the body starts using up the extra fat stored in your body. The lack of fat in your diet, changes the type of fat in your breast milk, though the quantity remains unaltered.
Will fasting affect a breastfeeding mother?
Unless you’ve had previous health issues or complications during pregnancy, fasting is unlikely to cause any problems during breastfeeding. But, if you’re not careful about your diet and fluid intake, you could suffer from dehydration and an unhealthy weight loss. Both of which could make you sick. You would know if you are dehydrated if you are
- Very thirsty
- Weak and dizzy
- Passing strong-smelling and dark coloured urine
- Suffering from headaches
In you notice any of these it’s a signal that you must immediately discontinue with your fast by having a glass of water. Add some sugar and salt to make up for the loss of salts.
Here are some tips to help you cope with breastfeeding while fasting
Take ample rest: Breastfeeding can sap your energy. So don’t tire yourself by overworking. Take every opportunity to rest and build up energy levels.
Keep a tab on what you’re eating: It’s important that you get enough nutrients and calories to cope with breast feeding. So don’t compromise on your diet during your non-fasting hours.
- Eat a balanced diet. Include carbohydrates and protein-rich foods
- Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Avoid spicy foods
- Go slow on dairy products as it has a tendency to increase mucous production and thicken the body fluids
Don’t skip your suhoor meal: Remember breakfast is the first and most important meal of the day. It not only provides you with the energy and essential nutrients to keep you going through the day, but also keeps hunger symptoms like headache and fatigue at baby So no matter what, make sure you eat well before the fasting hours.
Avoid guzzling water: Consuming too much water at a time can leave a bloated feeling in the stomach with little space for the important solids that provide the vital nutrients. Over-drinking could also cause edema and affect milk supply.
Keep well hydrated: Breastfeeding can make you feel thirsty. So make sure you drink enough fluids t before resuming your fast and after breaking it.
Avoid fizzy drinks/caffeinated beverages: Its best to avoid both these as it could cause dehydration. Caffeine is a diuretic, which means it increases urination.
Get a good night’s sleep: A sound sleep will rejuvenate you and give you enough energy to cope with your fast the next day.
Break your fast with a cup of juice or water and 3-4 dates to bring your blood sugar levels to normal. You could also eat fruits rich in water to help you re-hydrate and make up for the lost fluids during fasting.