On a normal average day, I usually express about 350 ml of breastmilk. On a sick day, I’d be lucky to express that amount. But I am more than grateful to be able to express 260ml. And what about Ramadhan? A month where I can’t eat or drink from sunrise till sunset. From being pregnant till being a nursing mother, here’s my story to share.
So how is Ramadhan like for pregnant women and/or nursing mothers? Will I survive the day? Will I faint halfway? Will my baby be affected? Will my baby starve? Will my baby die because I am fasting? Will I kill my baby because I choose to fast? Will I disappoint Allah for not fasting? Will I be punished? So many questions left unanswered because we all know someone who said, “If I can do it, so can you.”
These women will tell you many different stories but what matters is at the end of the day, it is entirely up to you to decide — even if these women are pressuring you. Listen to your body first. If you think you can do it, get another opinion from your gynaecologist because he/she would know if it is safe or if it might harm your pregnancy.
2019 will be my 5th year of not fasting. Don’t get me wrong. I am not proud of it. But the only reason why I am not fasting is because I am a nursing mother to both my daughters (aged 29 months old and 11 months old). And before anyone has anything to say about it, I have spoken to my ustaz about it.
Dear mommas, it is okay for you to not fast.
I did everything I can to prepare myself and my body to fast. I drank heaps of water till I got so bloated. I had milk too. I bought dates and ate most of it. I also ate my supplements to maintain my supply and the quality of the milk since I won’t be eating and drinking from sunrise to sunset.
However, the first time I tried fasting while breastfeeding my first daughter was in 2017, and I almost fainted. I was very dehydrated and my body was so weak. By asar, I was already light-headed and all I did was to lay in bed, hoping for maghrib. I couldn’t even bring myself to latch my daughter. Hence, I had to express.
My husband told me not to fast because he knows my body wouldn’t allow me to, and when he offered me a glass of milk to break my fast before maghrib, I told him with full confidence that I will go through day one. I, however, did survive but it was scary. My milk supply dipped drastically. Since then, I didn’t fast because I had to provide breast milk for my daughter.
Some of you might ask, “Since you are an oversupply mother, why can’t you give your frozen breast milk and fast?” Well, I could but I didn’t because my frozen breast milk is for rainy days and I am glad I stocked up because by 2018, I was pregnant and I had to stop breastfeeding. I have tried and wasted a lot of money on different formulas because my daughter rejects all.
Some of you might also ask why I can’t build my stash after Ramadhan. My supply dropped so drastically that by maghrib, I was only expressing less than 100ml. My breasts hurt because I was expressing almost nothing. I was very disappointed. If I continued fasting, I reckon by end of Ramadhan, I would have stopped breastfeeding and I would not reach the first year of breastfeeding.
So, what do I do during Ramadhan? Fidiya and carry on being a good muslim like every other normal day. Remember, it is perfectly okay not to fast if it might cause any form of harm to yourself and/or your child. Allah swt understands, in syaa Allah.
PS: Don’t ever skip your solat.