Ramadhan 2018 (Fasting & Nursing)

Last year I wrote a blog post about my experience fasting while pregnant at 16-20 weeks. My intention was to continue writing an update every other week but I never did. Nevertheless, alhamdulillah, I was able to complete the entire month. This year was going to be a new experience again as this time I am nursing a 6 month old and watching my 2 year old daughter. I was more worried about watching her while fasting than the nursing bit. She doesn’t nap every day like she did last year, and I just can’t sleep before the pre-dawn meal (suhoor) so my plan was to keep her up till later in the evening so she would sleep longer in the mornings. This has been the case and it’s working. We completed day 8 today. She’s even napped a few times ever since Ramadhan began. On a normal day while not fasting, my blood sugar level drops significantly after not eating for too long but in Ramadhan hunger doesn’t have the same effect. Perhaps it’s because one’s routine slows down and you don’t pass your time like you normally would outside of Ramadhan. I also believe there is a blessing and strength that comes with this month. It’s not simple hunger.

As for my milk supply, mashallah, it has not been impacted at all. I’m very careful with what I eat and we have not indulged in any of the mouth-watering Ramadhan treats that are so easily accessible in the part of Istanbul we live in. Except for a couple of occasions and without overdoing it. This has helped in regards to maintaining good energy levels throughout the day and of course for nutritious milk production.  But we’ve generally sticked to our ‘no modern wheat, no sugar’ rule and of course all sorts of other junk which means a lot of cooking at home and taking away as little as possible to none at all.

We break our fast with dates as per the sunnah. We also have a glass of cool water and our coffee ready. I prepare a small plate of fruits. Fruits are better eaten before the main meal (unless they’ll be your main meal) as they are digested quicker than other foods like grains and meat. This has been immensely helpful in maintaining a healthy digestion (don’t get me started on our habits last year during Ramadhan).

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”And fruit of what they select, and the meat of fowl, from whatever they desire.” Al-Waqi’ah, 56:20-21

Then we pray Maghrib, the prayer appointed at sunset, and we proceed to have our dinner. After I put the kids to sleep, I usually have about 3 hours or so before we have our pre-dawn meal. I might have a snack, like a smoothie, kefir or some herbal tea (often fennel seed, aniseed, fenugreek or combination) with dates.

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Smoothie: Banana, dates, soaked walnuts, raw cow milk, dash of cinnamon, turmeric, vanilla, black seed (Nigella sativa) & a few drops of zamzam water

After our light breakfast style suhoor, we wait for Fajr, the dawn prayer, and then head to bed. My day consists of normal activity; preparing my daughter breakfast, clearing up, reading some Qur’an, praying, reading (currently reading Imam al-Ghazali’s Principles of the Creed, Book Two of the Revival of the Religious Sciences), crocheting, light exercise like MuTu core, yoga, and/or light walking. I’ve also been trying to do some very basic art when the kids are asleep every other night or so. I try to go out almost every day to get some fresh air, especially for the sake of my daughter. We have a small park nearby and she enjoys playing there. It’s one of the few parks that don’t get too crowded.

One of the things that I had made the intention to fast from during Ramadhan, other than the obligatory, was to keep my phone at bay. Well, I’m going to be honest. It’s not going too well. In fact, I feel like I’m using it a lot more frequently than I was prior to Ramadhan. I don’t care too much about using it when my children aren’t around to check social media, but when they’re around, I truly feel like a neglectful mother and most of the time, some sort of *bleep* will go down when I’m watching my phone and not my kids. I just find it consumes me. Yuck. Anyway, tomorrow is a new day and Ramadhan isn’t over yet, and so I truly pray and intend to be more careful. Tomorrow will be better.

So that’s my current struggle. Not only struggle, but a significant one.

While I’m at it, I’d like to share this really useful link to some Ramadhan related resources, especially this and this. Thank you, Seekers Hub.

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Beautiful prayer while breaking the fast: ‘O Allah, for You I have fasted and in You I believe and with your provision I break my fast.’

 

Wishing you all a fruitful, blessed month.

 

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