Today, we are going to talk about the effect of Ramadan fasting on breastfeeding mothers. But before that, we should correct some misconceptions about diet and breastfeeding.
Food and breast milk production
One of the most popular question among breastfeeding moms is:
Which type of food should I eat to increase my breast milk production after Ramadan fasting? or
What is the best herb/pill/supplement that boosts my breast milk while breastfeeding in Ramadan?
To answer all of these questions, let’s see how breast milk is produced by your body.
Breast milk production phase I
Your breast milk is manufactured – while you are pregnant – but is not secreted yet. The main cause is a pregnancy hormone called Progesterone hormone “anti-breast milk production hormone.”
Breast milk production phase II
After birth and for about one week later, your breast milk is secreted in small amount which is called “Colostrum.”
Although this amount seems to be not enough from your perspective, it is very rich/condensed in nutrients and all the essential elements for your breastfed baby.
Breast milk production phase III
Breast milk production during this phase is the highest and it lasts for the end of your breastfeeding journey.
The resources your body uses to manufacture your breast milk is your body depot of nutrients, not the food you eat or what you drink.
And that is why you are gaining extra weight “fats-water” during your pregnancy period. This is a natural process your body makes for the next step after delivery which is breastfeeding and milk production.
Do fasting in Ramadan can affect my breast milk quantity?
No. The American Academy of Pediatrics announced that “less-than-ideal diet will probably not affect your breastfeeding child, but it may leave your body at nutritional risk.”
Another evidence from the Australian Breastfeeding Association that food and drinks don’t have a great impact on your breast milk “Even in countries where food is scarce, mothers are able to breastfeed and their babies thrive”
So, How could I maintain my breast milk production during the Holy Ramadan?
The breast milk unique rule is: The more you take, the more you make. or more breastmilk removal is accompanied by more breast milk production and vice versa.
Thus, breastfeed, breastfeed, and then breastfeed. To make that clear to you, see the following infographic.
Poster from Breastfeedo.com
There is a protein found in your breast milk called “Feedback Inhibitor of Lactation=FIL.”
This protein is the main player in the process of breast milk production. How? The more you breastfeed, the more you evacuate your breasts from both the milk and the FIL protein.
So, when FIL decreased, a signal sent to your brain to place the order to your mammary glands – your breast milk factories – to secret more milk.
But when your breasts are full of milk, the FIL within your full breasts send the message to stop producing more milk to avoid boastfulness and engorgement.
The researchers said that there is no food-drink-herb can increase or decrease the amount of the FIL protein.
Does drinking a lot of water during “iftar-sohour” would increase my breast milk during Ramadan daytime?
The same answer No. As we said before water doesn’t increase your breast milk production. Breastfeeding moms who have breast milk overproduction “engorgement” don’t get better when they decreased their water intake.
Severe dehydration may drop your breast milk production. And when we say severe we mean 24 hrs without water.
If you are asking how many cups of water should I drink while breastfeeding, be guided by your thirst. Your body would tell you when more water is needed.
Should I avoid caffeine while breastfeeding in Ramadan during Iftar time?
Caffeine is found in:
- Some cold medicines
Despite the fact that caffeine is excreted in your breastmilk and reaches your breastfed baby, it was found that caffeine has no harmful effect on your baby.
Poster source Breastfeedo.com
Some babies are more sensitive to caffeine than others.
Watch your baby and if you found he is more anxious and alerted during night-time, decrease your intake of caffeine and watch again.
Besides, caffeine has a diuretic effect “it migrates body water into urine.” So, limit your intake of caffeine to keep your body hydrated especially if Ramadan comes in the summer.
Finally, your limit of caffeine as a nursing mom is about 300mg/day which means:
- 4 mugs of tea
- 2 mugs of filtered coffee
- 3 mugs of instant coffee
- 4 tablets of Panadol Extra
This is an article written by sisters from breastfeedo.com