Q&A: Fasting and Breastfeeding During the Long Summer Days

Q. I would be grateful if Mufti Sahb could advise me on what is the best course of action with regards to my situation as follows:

Ramadhaan is just around the corner.  I have a 9 month old baby who is breastfed and two other children.  The fasting days, will be very long, as I live in the UK.  What should I do in this situation?

1) Should I carry on breastfeeding while I observe the fasts?

2) Or should I wean my baby off so then I may be able to fast bearing in mind that she’s hardly one year old in age?

3) Or do I continue breastfeeding but do not observe fast and make up the fasting days immediately after Ramadhaan?

4) Or should I teach her to drink from the bottle, drinking my milk, and observe the fasts?

A. Continue breastfeeding your child and assess your health and physical strength. If there is fear of harm to oneself or the baby in fasting then postpone the fast. The Shariah allows postponing the fast for the sake of the infant.

The bond between mother and child should be maintained. Discontinuing your breastfeeding will have an adverse effect on this bond.

The Shaafi’ Math-hab

For those who follow the Shaafi’ Math-hab it is necessary for the mother breastfeeding her infant to forgo the fast if she fears harm to herself or her child. Then, if the fear of harm is for herself or both, herself and the infant, only qadha of the fast is necessary. If, however, the fear was restricted to the suckling child then together with qadha of the fast she will also have to give fidyah for the foregone fast.