My Friend’s Baby Breastfeeds Throughout the Day. Is She Exempt From Fasting?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: A friend is breastfeeding her 16 month old baby throughout the day. She didn’t fast last year as her baby wasn’t getting enough milk. She is now worried about this coming Ramadhan because of her baby and she might find it difficult to fast. Is she exempt from fasting?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for having such sincere concern for your friend.

Nursing mothers

This is a common challenge faced by nursing mothers. Some women have abundant milk supply and/or babies who don’t require much milk. Other women have more fragile milk supplies and/or babies who require a lot of milk. Your fasting days are also extremely long, subhanAllah.

Fasting

Your friend must pay back the days she missed, so I suggest that she start once a week, and monitor both herself and her baby. If that is too difficult, then she can try again when her baby is older. Some women are only able to pay back their fasts after their babies are completely weaned off breastmilk. Other women are able to still fast while breastfeeding. Please ask your friend to start with sincere dua and to ask Allah for ease.

Please refer to this section:

“The normal case is that Muslim women who are pregnant and nursing must fast. They should also take the means to ensure this.

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani has outlined from Ibn `Abidin’s Radd al-Muhtar the case of when a pregnant or nursing woman is exempt from fasting. She may leave fasting if she has a good reason to fear harm for herself or her child. This is through

1. advice from reliable Muslim medical opinion (or a non-Muslim medical opinion if it confirm’s one’s own good reason for fear)
2. previous experience
3. or clear and unmistakable signs”

[Excerpt from Pregnant Women & Fasting by Ustadha Zaynab Ansari and Ustadha Sulma ]

Please read this detailed article by for a more thorough explanation, based on all four schools of thoughts:

Pregnancy & Making Up Fasts: Does She Really Have To?

Solids

A 16 month old needs more solid intake for sufficient nutrition. Is there a health professional she can consult, to help her improve her baby’s consumption of solids? Once your friend’s baby needs less breastmilk, inshaAllah your friend will stand a better chance of fasting.

I pray that Allah make things easier for her and all nursing mothers.

Please refer to the following link:

Fasting Ramadan: Pregnancy, Breastfeeding & You

Wassalam,
Raidah

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani