As Ramadan begins many will have been preparing mentally and physically for long hours of fasting and prayer. However, Ramadan comes with additional challenges for new parents and for pregnant women, or those who are breastfeeding. Our HHWT founder, Suzana, became a mum last year with the birth of her first daughter, Sofia, who's 9 months old! ? After almost 3 weeks of spending Ramadan as a new mum, she shares with us as part of our new Ramadan Experiences segment, a few tips for new parents or parents-to-be navigating their first Ramadan with a newborn, or a newly minted toddler! ?
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P.S. If you missed out on our previous Ramadan Experiences, check them out below!
- This SG Muslim Woman Shares What’s It Like Fasting With A Chronic Condition
- This Mother In SG Shares How Her Son With Autism Approaches Ramadan
- This Syrian-American Student Shares His First Time Fasting In Madinah
- This Singaporean Chinese Convert Shares His Experience On Finding Himself Through Islam
- This Singaporean Student Shares Her First Time Fasting In Melbourne
- This SG Chinese Muslim Hopes To Help Fellow Converts Navigate Through Their Journey In Islam
- Our Non-Muslim Colleague Tries Fasting For A Day And Here's Her Experience
Tips For Breastfeeding Parents Who Are Fasting As Well This Ramadan 2022
1. Listen to your body
Before Ramadan, I was very nervous about whether I would be able to fast because I’m breastfeeding Sofia! I’m already super duper thirsty on normal days, how would I ever survive during Ramadan with no water or food ? Almost 3 weeks on, I’m managing okay and Sofia is still drinking well! ? What worked for me is to tank up between iftar and sahur. I have never drunk so much water before; I have a Thanos-sized tumbler! With that said, our circumstances are unique and we shouldn’t make comparisons or feel bad if we can’t fast because God gave concessions to women for a reason and taking these concessions are a way of obeying God ? The health of you and your baby should be prioritised, so remember to ask yourself if you can manage fasting and breastfeeding at the same time! No one knows your body like yourself ?
2. Have an emergency plan for sahur
Babies love to join in for sahur, or at least Sofia does ? If she does wake up and needs tending to, we might not have the time to prepare for sahur, so we try to do it as much as possible the night before. Our sahurs are really simple; just an egg mixture for scrambled eggs, fruits sliced up and it's done! But sometimes, if we snoozed and there's only 5 minutes left for sahur (it really happened before ?), we have simple meals ready on deck with little to no preparation at all - banana, dates, and cereal drinks to the rescue! Whatever the situation is for you; be it your child being fussy during the wee hours of the morning or late till the night till you overslept to have your sahur, try your best to not skip sahur. Your body needs to store as many nutrients as it can, so always have an a nutritious emergency sahur pack on standby! ?
3. You'll need tons of patience
I knew parenting is hard but I guess I didn’t truly understand what it means to be a parent till I became one. And during Ramadan, it’s a whole new level of my patience being tested ? Being sleep deprived, balancing work and looking after a baby who wants to stand, crawl, stand again… Singing to soothe a fussy baby who is teething while my tongue is parched… Phew ?? But somehow while it’s more challenging, I barely lost my cool as compared to outside of Ramadan! I guess the remembrance of God, reminding myself to be grateful that I get to experience Ramadan as a mum made me think twice before I react when I have rough days (though it may feel like everyday!). After all, didn’t God answer my prayers of having a child? There’s so much for me to be grateful for ? Remember motherhood is an ever-evolving and beautiful exercise in patience, and God loves the patient.
4. Be sincere and clear in your intentions
If I compare my Ramadan this year to previous ones, I would have rated myself pretty badly. But this Ramadan has taught me that it’s not about competing with previous Ramadans or comparisons with others. It’s the little things like looking after my baby, putting in my best effort for work and doing the best I can, as my intentions are sincere and for God ?
5. Lastly, accept that Ramadan as a parent will never be the same and that’s okay
The moment Sofia was born, it was never going to be about putting myself first. I thought I knew but experiencing it is a whole lot different! My husband and I would make an effort to watch Bayyinah videos to better understand the Qur’an every Ramadan, and I would perform terawih prayers at home. But now, we have to adapt our usual Ramadan routines to Sofia's needs. For instance, we still try our best to watch Bayyinah videos every sahur but at a very low volume so as not to wake the sleeping dragon up ? In all honesty, I haven’t done terawih this Ramadan because I’m so exhausted ? By the time I’ve put Sofia to bed, it’s almost 11pm (this baby has low sleep needs ??) and I have to do chores, start preparing for yet another day and catch up on work! I constantly ask myself if I’m making excuses for not being able to fulfil what I used to spiritually but I’m just so exhausted so I decided that I’ll try my best to do what I can. Doing ibadah may be different this Ramadan but I’m very grateful that I’m able to experience it in a different way - looking after Sofia, striving my best to balance her needs and work! May God bless and reward all the mothers out there this Ramadan who have been facing long sunny days with chaotic routines! We got this ?
Suzana has shared with us a video of a day in her life as a new mum this Ramadan, so stay tuned to check it out!