In the second of our Ramadan blog posts, our health promoters at Sidra share some tips for mothers, many of whom who may choose to fast whilst breastfeeding.
As Ramadan falls during summer, some mothers may feel quite tired by the end of the day. While it will not impact milk production, there is a risk of dehydration for those exclusively breastfeeding. It is important that you are well enough to fast that your baby is also getting enough nutrition.
It is highly recommended that as a breastfeeding mother, you consult with your doctor that it should be ok for you to fast. Your doctor will be able to guide you based on any preexisting health conditions that may impact your ability to fast and breastfeed your baby at the same time.
1 – Eating a well-balanced and well portioned meal at pre-dawn is highly recommended. Don’t skip on meals at this time – you and your baby need the nutrients stemming from your pre-dawn meal. Make sure to get enough protein during Suhoor by eating meat, chicken, fish eggs and cheese
2 – Drink as much water when you are not fasting as there is a risk of becoming dehydrated. Your body adapts to the changes in your diet by more efficiently using your calories and maintaining breast milk production.
3 – Key things to look out in yourself: Are you losing too much weight? More than 1kg a week? Are you feeling excessively thirsty, is your urine very dark? Do you feel you are dizzy or have a headache? If any of these symptoms appear, you may have to stop fasting. In this case, consider breaking your fast with water or sweet fruit juice with a little salt.
4 – Your baby’s weight and growth rate will most likely remain unchanged if you are breastfeeding during Ramadan. However, it is important to keep your eyes open to spot any signs of ill health in your baby. Signs your baby’s nutrition may be inadequate include: constant crying, fewer wet nappies, greenish stool, weight loss of the baby. Please see a pediatrician if you spot these signs in your baby.