Question:

I am a healthy breastfeeding mother. Is it safe for me and my baby to fast on Yom Kippur this year?

Answer:

Yes, it is absolutely safe!1 I'm a nursing mom, and have nursed through several Yom Kippurs without any problem. The milk supply does not diminish in that time span. Just do note that you have to fast but your baby doesn't, be sure to continue nursing him/her normally throughout the fast.  Granted, fasting does make you thirsty...make sure to increase your drinking intake in the days leading up to Yom Kippur, and to limit salty foods. Another suggestion I heard and which I personally found to be helpful is to eat grapes right before the start of the fast. Also, if you have started supplementing the baby’s feedings with solids or bottles, you may want to use those feeding methods on Yom Kippur so that the nursing will be easier on you while fasting.

Finally, if you have any other concerns, or if you want more advice, speak to a lactation expert. You can also click here to find more fasting tips.

Remember to take it easy. The mitzvah of the day is to fast, if you have to lie down most of the day to do so that is fine.

Let me know how it goes!

Best wishes for a sweet new year,

Chani Benjaminson,
Chabad.org