Here are 5 Fasting Tips for Mothers Who Are Breastfeeding

Some breastfeeding mothers are worried that fasting will affect the nutritional content and production of breast milk. Actually, fasting for breastfeeding mothers is not a problem. However, there are several things that breastfeeding mothers need to understand before starting to fast.

When fasting, a breastfeeding mother's body will continue to produce breast milk the same as when she is not fasting. Pregnant women don't need to worry, reducing the amount of calorie intake consumed during fasting will not make a significant difference in the amount of breast milk produced.

In terms of nutritional quality, fasting can reduce the levels of vitamins and minerals, such as zinc, magnesium and potassium in breast milk. However, this will not have much impact on breastfed babies. So, breastfeeding while fasting can still be done because it will not affect the baby much.

According to the Baby Center, whether or not a breastfeeding mother can fast depends on the age of her little one. This is because babies under six months of age generally still need exclusive breast milk because they have not received additional intake. This is different from babies who have turned one year old, they are able to consume other foods besides breast milk and usually only drink breast milk at night.

In essence, fasting is safer for mothers if their little one has reached the age of six months and the child has received additional intake from food and drinks other than breast milk.

If you are breastfeeding, here are some fasting tips for you.

Fasting tips for breastfeeding mothers

  1. Avoid strenuous activities
    During fasting, mothers can still carry out activities as usual. However, you should avoid activities that are too tiring. Excessive activity will make the mother's body tired, meanwhile the mother must continue to breastfeed and not eat or drink until breaking the fast. If necessary, take more breaks to save energy.
  1. Never skip sahur
    Nursing mothers should not miss sahur. The food consumed at dawn will provide a reserve of nutrients and calories during fasting all day. Therefore, you also need to pay attention to the type of food consumed at dawn so that you have adequate nutrition and remain energetic throughout the day.
  1. Consume nutritious food at dawn and breaking the fast
    Mothers who are breastfeeding really need complete nutritional intake, such as protein, carbohydrates, fiber, healthy fats, as well as vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin D, vitamin B, folic acid, iron, zinc, selenium and calcium.

    So that the nutritional intake of breastfeeding mothers and babies remains fulfilled during fasting, here are some foods that are recommended for breastfeeding mothers during fasting:
  • Vegetables, such as broccoli, tomatoes, cabbage, mushrooms, or potatoes
  • Fruit, such as avocado, mango, banana and orange
  • Seafood. However, limit consumption of fish that contain mercury?
  • Beef, lamb or liver
  • Nuts
  • Eggs, milk and their products
  1. Consume sufficient mineral water
    Fasting while breastfeeding can put mothers at risk of dehydration. Therefore, make sure to drink more water, at least 8 glasses per day or the equivalent of 2 liters. Drink 2-3 glasses of water at dawn and 5-6 glasses of water after breaking the fast.
  1. Don't stop giving breast milk
    When the mother is fasting, continue to give breast milk to the child as usual. The more frequently a mother gives breast milk to her child, the more the body produces breast milk. So, don't be afraid of a lack of breast milk when you fast, okay?

    Apart from breastfeeding directly, mothers can also pump breast milk at night to feed their child's breast milk during the day if the mother has to be away from her child. So, children's breast milk needs are still met.

Nursing mothers need to stop fasting if they experience this condition

Although breastfeeding while fasting does not have much influence on the quality and quantity of breast milk, the conditions of each mother and baby are of course different. If you are still breastfeeding a baby less than 6 months old, the decision to fast during the month of Ramadan must be considered carefully. This is because at that age, babies only consume breast milk and have   breastfeeding pattern   different from a 1 year old baby who already gets it   complementary food for breast milk . But make sure that breastfeeding mothers' fluid needs are met properly so they don't become dehydrated.

In cases of severe dehydration, breast milk supply decreases temporarily. If there are signs of dehydration such as dry eyes, mouth and lips, feeling very thirsty, dark urine, headache, fatigue and body feeling weak, immediately cancel the fast.

These are various fasting tips for breastfeeding mothers. If you are still worried that the amount and nutritional content of breast milk is not enough for your little one, you can consult a doctor. To maintain the quantity and quality of your breast milk, your doctor may give you supplements and suggest a certain diet during fasting.

Article written by dr. Candra Segeren, Sp.A, M.Kes (Children's Specialist at EMC Cibitung Hospital).