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Breastfeeding and Ramadan

Breastfeeding and Ramadan Ramadan is a time of joy, forgiveness and detox shared with friends and family. A special celebration when people join together to fast, reflect and deepen their faith. Women who are breastfeeding can choose to fast, or delay until a later date to avoid any negative health effects. (Australian Breastfeeding Association, 2018). With this in mind, it is important to look at the facts and key tips about fasting and breastfeeding, so that women can decide what’s right for them and their little ones. Key Facts… Current research on fasting and breastfeeding shows that women’s bodies are able to adapt to any diet changes to maintain a good milk supply. Rakicioğlu et. al. (2006) discovered that short term fasting while breastfeeding does not cause a significant reduction in milk supply (yay!) and the major components of breast milk (carbohydrates, fats and proteins), essential for growth and energy, remain stable. However, they also found that levels of potassium, zinc and magnesium, needed for a healthy immune system and bone development, may decrease if fasting for more than 24 hours (Ravindran, 2018, Gluckman et al, 2014). Fasting Top Tips…  If baby is less than 6 months old and is being exclusively breastfed, then on demand feeding is recommended, as they are fully dependant on breast milk for hydration, growth and other essential nutrients (Zimmerman, 2009). Babies older than 6 months can continue with their normal breastfeeding schedule, as they gain vitamins and minerals from both breast milk and solid foods. When fasting, it’s important to observe baby for signs of dehydration which can include; reduced feeding, sleepiness or a decrease in number of wet or dirty nappies. If any of these signs are spotted, then it’s probably a good idea to get baby checked over by a Doctor or Midwife for peace of mind (La Leche League International, 2021). It’s also useful to think about baby’s present health, as this could affect how well they cope with possible changes to milk contents or supply. To remain healthy, mothers should aim to drink lots of water and eat well balanced meals (proteins, carbohydrates and fats) during Iftar and Suhoor.This provides the body with the essential nutrients that it needs for healthy function and breastfeeding. Sweet treats such as oat based cookies may also be beneficial for extra energy and maintaining a healthy milk supply. Occasionally, some mothers may need to drink a small amount...
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