Fasting for Ramadan and Breastfeeding - Mothering Forums
Spirituality > Fasting for Ramadan and Breastfeeding
gigismom's Avatar gigismom 11:25 AM 10-15-2004
I need to speak to the sheik at our mosque regarding this but just have not had a chance. Thought I might get some insight here. I know that you get a license to not fast if you are ill or traveling or mestruating. I think also in general if fasting will cause hardship you are also not required to do so. I want to fast this year but have a 3 month old and am concerned about the effect on milk supply and myself. As it is, if I don't eat or drink regularily during the day I get light headed and very dehydrated, headaches. I really want to do what is right and feel that Ramadan could be such a significant time for me this year. Anyone have any insight?

mrzmeg's Avatar mrzmeg 11:38 AM 10-15-2004
My understanding is that you also do not fast if pregnant or breastfeeding, though I don't know a hadith/surah off the top of my head.
Nabbe's Avatar Nabbe 12:22 PM 10-15-2004
Salaam aleikum

That fatwah goes mostly for pregnant women, since it is was not known among the Sahaba that it should be a danger during breastfeeding. This is a new "danger" that the kuffar put in our minds mostly. The first muslim women, the Mothers of the Believers were fasting while breastfeeding, and they lived much harder lives than we do. And hotter, in most cases...
goodcents's Avatar goodcents 04:28 PM 10-15-2004
Keep in mind you don't need a kuffar to tell you that your body can't handle fasting while breastfeeding if you get light headed, headaches, etc already.

From the site nabbe posted
"Pregnant and breastfeeding women come under the same ruling as those who are sick. If fasting is too difficult for them, it is prescribed for them to break the fast, and they have to make up missed fasts when they are able to do so, just as in the case of one who is sick."

This is also indicated by the hadeeth of Anas ibn Maalik al-Ka’bi, according to which the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘Allaah has exempted the traveller from the obligation of fasting and has reduced the prayer by half for him, and has exempted pregnant and breastfeeding women from the obligation of fasting.” (Narrated by the five).
You are legitimately excempt from fasting while breastfeeding if it will cause you hardship. You must, however, make up the fasting days later or feed the hungary (making the days is better)

While you most likely be able to sustain your milk supply through adequate fluid intake and healthy eating during non-fasting hours I don't think you chould fast. As you well know caring for a newborn is difficult beyond breastfeeding, you need your energy and well being to care for your child. You may not to be able to do this to the best of your ability if you are hungary, ill, lightheaded, dizzy and possibly fainting (an extreme version of the symptoms you already suffer from but quite possible during sustained fasting.)
umsami's Avatar umsami 05:10 PM 10-15-2004
Assalamu Alaikum:

If your child is still solely depending on your breastmilk for nourishment (as a 3 month old is), I would not fast. Remember, breastfeeding is your child's right... and you get lots of reward from Allah(swt) for doing it. Dehydration could affect your breastmilk supply (and is dangerous for pregnant women).

As for not fasting while pregnant or breastfeeding, I don't believe it is from the nonbelievers. To me, it is all part of Allah's mercy, graciousness, and wisdom. Allah(swt) gives this exemption as a gift... as this religion is not meant to be difficult. Everyday science shows the wisdom of Allah(swt)... even the benefits of washing one's hands five times per day (such as in wudu) has been proven in preventing colds. To me these studies just back up Allah's wisdom... they don't take apart from it.

And while talking about fasting, I don't know about the rest of you, but it is far more difficult for me to abstain from "ruinations of the tongue" rather than food and drink! The Prophet, Peace and Blessing of Almighty God be upon Him, said: “Whoever fails to leave off ruinous speech, and acting on it [during Ramadan], God does not need him to leave off eating and drinking.” Al-Bukahri

From In his seminal work, “Quickening the Religious Sciences,” Imam al-Ghazali mentions them as the following:
a) Speaking in matters that do not concern one.

b) Excessive speech.

c) Speaking about sinful matters.

d) Disputation and contestation.

e) Argumentation.

f) Excessively embellished speech.

g) Lewd, insulting, or crude speech.

h) Invoking the Curse of God on someone.

i) Singing indecent songs, or relating immoral poetry.

j) Excessive joking.

k) Sarcasm and ridicule.

l) Revealing secrets.

m) False promises.

n) Lying and false oaths.

o) Backbiting and slander.

p) Instigating tense relations between people.

q) Being two-faced.

r) Praising someone who is either undeserving, or unable to remain humble when praised.

s) Speaking about involved subjects and ideas one lacks the necessary knowledge or eloquence to adequately convey.

t) Ordinary folk speaking in subjects that are the domain of specialists.

gigismom's Avatar gigismom 08:06 PM 10-15-2004
Asallam Alaikum... Thank you for all of your thoughtful replies. I feel that I will not fast this year as I tried today and was dizzy and faint until I gave in and drank water. Maybe my children and I can find some kind of soup kitchen or other similar activity to participate in so that we can still feel connected to Ramadan this year. Thanks again for your insight...


goodcents's Avatar goodcents 09:42 PM 10-15-2004
I find that staying up with my husband in the morning, and eating Iftar with him helps with feeling connected. It certainly is not the same thing - but it helps. Also, family time at night reading and discussing the Q'uran feels yummy and good. Remember during Ramadan every word you read of the Q'uran is an especially good deed.

I want you to know I support your decision and think it is the right one. Hey - if we are still on these boards together in 2006 maybe we can make up our days together, I will finally be post pregnancy and post breastfeeding Baby Hummus due in April 2005 :LOL!!!!
umsami's Avatar umsami 07:14 PM 10-16-2004
I'll join you guys in making up days Insha'Allah next year.

I agree with reading more Qur'an. For me, this year, I've tried to set a Ramadan goal for both reading the Qur'an in Arabic (which is tough for me as I"m just learning) and in English. That makes me feel more connected.

I also like to listen to Islamic those by Hamza Yusuf and the like.

I also feel very Ramadan-y, by decorating the apartment... making Ramadan cookies, etc.

1jooj's Avatar 1jooj 02:38 AM 10-17-2004
I am breastfeeding and fasting, but alhamdulilah I have the choice.

My dd is old enough that supply is not an issue of survival/formula. Besides, she nurses more at night, anyway, when I am quite hydrated.

My first Ramadan with ds, I believe I broke fast more than I fasted, because my supply was less reliable with him. I also worried more.

I think you are using wisdom in listening to your body. Islam tests us, but it should not hurt us or our babies.

Giving sadaqa if you can, even if not fasting, is a wonderful way to observe Ramadan. And you can help needy families to celebrate the Eid in high spirits.

Remember that the Qur'an states clearly that your milk is your baby's birthright. This may bring you greater peace, too.

Ramadan Karim, Insha-Allah!
MuhajibahMama's Avatar MuhajibahMama 09:18 AM 10-17-2004
Originally Posted by goodcents
You are legitimately excempt from fasting while breastfeeding if it will cause you hardship. You must, however, make up the fasting days later or feed the hungary (making the days is better)
As Salaam Aleykum Sister,

Are you sure that your statement is an either/or? I know according to my school of thought if one is able to do both then it is required to pay the Kaffarah as well as make up the fasts.

Fi Amaanillah,

goodcents's Avatar goodcents 04:21 PM 10-17-2004
Waalikyum as Salaam,

Yes I do believe it is either/or.

The purpose is to make up for the fasting days. You are not punished if you are legitmately exempted from fasting, which is the only reason I could see you be required to do both.

1 fasting day for 1 fasting day


1 fasting day for 1 day of feeding the poor

“and whoever is ill or on a journey, the same number [of days which one did not observe Sawm (fasts) must be made up] from other days”

[al-Baqarah 2:185]

The interpretation is that this is those who are ill or physically unfit to fast (pregnancy) this is the prescribed remedy for missind days according to the Q'uran.

HOWEVER, Allah knows best.

This is my interpretation of what I have read.
MuhajibahMama's Avatar MuhajibahMama 09:32 AM 10-18-2004
As Salaam Aleykum,

Okay, I do not have a direct source, but I have found the information I wanted summarized in an article. And in my earlier post I confused Kaffarah for Fidyah...I meant Fidyah.

It is interesting that according the article, all schools of thought state that if a woman opts for Iftar she is bound to the Qada' of the fast.

According to the article, Hanafi's don't require Fidyah or Kaffarah. Maliki's require it for a nursing woman, but not a pregnant one. Hanbali's and Shafi's require it for both the pregnant or nursing mother if she fears only that harm to her child. If she fears harm to both herself and her child then only the Qada', not the Fidyah. There are differing rulings among the Jaffari's as to whether or not Fidyah is required in the latter case.

Miskeen is given as a resource in the footnotes. And the article is entitled Fasting, According to Five Islamic Schools of Law.

So, that would explain the puzzlement on my part. I have always abstained while pregnant or fasting out of fear for my child alone, so I have always paid the Fidyah as well as made up the fasts.

Fi Amaanillah,

goodcents's Avatar goodcents 11:20 AM 10-18-2004
Hi MM,
That was a very interesting post. Is the article you are referring to here on the web?
but I have found the information I wanted summarized in an article.
I would like to read it. I am very curious about this:

It is interesting that according the article, all schools of thought state that if a woman opts for Iftar she is bound to the Qada' of the fast.
Does that mean I am not allowed to eat Iftar with my dh? I have been eating the Iftar with him as my "dinner" meal. It helps us remain close and bonded during the holiday, and I am sure he would not like to eat Iftar alone.

On another note, I become very hyperglycimic when pregnant. While I am not sure if fasting would harm my baby directly (how could one ever tell that in advance right?) however, I do fear for my own health. I can barely make it a few hours without having a small snack with becoming lightheaded, nauseaus, getting the shakes, not to mention tempermental and downright mean! I can't imagine fasting for 8-10 hours.

Thank you for your notes and do please post a link if you have one.

Ma Salaama,
MuhajibahMama's Avatar MuhajibahMama 02:04 PM 10-18-2004
I believe this is the same article

My printed article has slightly different footnotes, and it apparently I misunderstood the footnote reference for miskeen. I thought it was a book, but it looks like a measure of weight according to this version of the footnotes.

With respect to your question regarding the Iftar, I don't know. I know in my case we attend Iftar at the mosque, so I know the Qada' fasts are wajib for me (and it make sense, since the preparer of the Iftar gets the sawab for providing the food the fasting person uses to break their fast). And it's not an issue of whether you can or can not eat with your husband. Of course you CAN, but if it is Iftar then the question is whether or not your dinner is also iftar...or how can you differentiate between your dinner and his iftar. I think this ma come down to the point of intention, since you are the one preparing the food. It's not your intention to make Iftar for yourself, so...

The worst case scenario is that you have to make up the fasts when you are able. And fasting outside the month of Ramadhan is always a good thing to practice anyway.

Fi Amaanillah,

umsami's Avatar umsami 04:49 PM 10-18-2004
Assalamu Alaikum Justine:

If you know you get hypoglycemic during pregnancy, then don't fast. I do think you can take iftar with your husband as MM said based on intention. Should you eat a few dates and say the du'a for breaking your fast? Of course not, since you didn't fast. Can you still eat dates or have iftar/dinner? Why not. Just say Bismillah and enjoy. You may also want to say a du'a thanking Allah(swt) for his mercy in not requiring pregnant women to fast, for the bounty of food at the iftar, and for the companionship of your husband (and community if you're at your local masjid.)

Just my two cents.
goodcents's Avatar goodcents 06:48 PM 10-18-2004
Thanks for the link MM - will read it when not dashing off to make IFTAR!!

Just want to clarify something.

I do not eat Iftar as if I am breaking the fast (that would just be plain ol' silly! ).

I stand next to my husband with baby in arms when the call happens, and watch him drink, say Bismallah, explain to baby what is going on and head back to the kitchen to serve up the meal . So me eating with him, is to do just that, to eat with him, share the meal, and share/be present to as much of the holiday as I can without fasting myself.

And yes thank you for reminding me Karla that I should say make D'ua concerning not being able to fast. Lord it would be a terrible feat to do so!

I hope all of you fasting sisters have a safe, lovely, kind, forfilling Ramadan!!
Lisa Lubner's Avatar Lisa Lubner 07:55 AM 10-19-2004
i wanted to fast this year, but i am breastfeeding again and hypoglycemic as usual... for the sister who mentioned that they get hypoglycemic, i have never EVER heard or read that a hypoglycemic should fast. occasionally, i come across something that says that *some* diabetics can fast... IF they do it carefully and IF they don't get hypoglycemic when they do fast.

as far as being connected during ramadan, as far as i understand it, this holy month is not only for fasting from food... but also for learning self control in other areas, such as control over the tongue, etc.... there are so many duas for every day of ramadan, reading Quran, extra prayers that you can do... joining friends for iftar even when you haven't been fasting.

inshallah, have a peaceful ramadan!
gigismom's Avatar gigismom 01:11 AM 10-20-2004
Asalam alaikum

I wanted to update this post for two reasons. The first is to thank all of you as usual for your thoughts and references. The second is to tell you that after speaking with the Imam at our mosque I have decided to fast as many days as I can. So far I have been able to fast each day that I have attempted to do so. I am so grateful and happy to do this. As some of you may know, I am in the process of reverting to Islam and feel that fasting this year will help to bring me closer. I have been reading each night and discussing various topics with my husband. In sha Allah, my fast will be accepted as God knows my true intentions. Thanks again for your thoughts.

goodcents's Avatar goodcents 11:25 PM 10-21-2004
I am going offtopic and asking for immediate help and prayers for our sister Umsami.

Please see her thread here.

Her and her baby needs our prayers.

UmmSamiyah's Avatar UmmSamiyah 03:27 AM 11-04-2004
i know this is off topic but I REALLY need help. I have been trying to wean my son and have been having a terrible time. if it were up to me we would still be nursing. But he turns 2 tomorrow and he is still up screaming asking to nurse. I just don't know what to do. I haven't been able to fast because I am hypoglycemic and to fast and nurse would be dreadfully difficult, but I don't feel like I am getting the proper spiritual support on this issue. It breaks my heart to see him like this and it makes me cry. I have managed to calm he and myself down this evening but he is on my lap now asking for it. Well, he is resorting to a pacifier . please help me. I feel helpless and like a bad mommy.
1jooj's Avatar 1jooj 09:11 AM 11-04-2004
Is there a reason you feel you need to wean him now? Islam does not forbid nursing past two...
umsami's Avatar umsami 12:18 PM 11-04-2004
Wa'alaikum Assalam Sister:

What makes you think you have to wean him by his second birthday? Yes, a child should be nursed until he is two years old, it is his right... but there's nothing that says breast milk must stop on that day. Instead, most people I've spoken to say it's his right to be nursed at least two years.

If you need help on weaning, try

um_hanna's Avatar um_hanna 08:53 PM 11-06-2004
alhumdulilah i have found where the muslims hang out i am due to have ayah in feb of 2005, insha'Allah...i am not fasting this year, dh says the his sil is so its ok, i told him Allah has given this to us that we do not need to, but a lot of times i think its cultural and not islam...Allah is all knowing...if something happens to our babies and then this is on us, not anyone else...these babies have their rights also subhan'Allah...ramadan mubarak everyone