Previous Question Next Question
   
fasting while breastfeeding?
Question from nursing mother on 2/6/2002:

This is a medical question, but I need the perspective of a Catholic doctor to answer it. If a breastfeeding mother fasts on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday (using the minimal fast rules--one normal meal and two very small ones), how likely is it that it will affect her milk? I don't want to take any chances of underfeeding my baby, even for a day. Thanks.

Answer by NFP Outreach on 2/11/2002:

Dear Nursing Mother,

I have consulted with a La Leche League expert before answering your query.

The Church law on fasting is for most people not unduly burdensome and therefore is prescribed. However, clearly young and aged, those sick and for whom fasting is a hazard, should not fast, at least not from food. I am sure that, not infrequently, the needs of a rapidly growing/developing/ metabolizing infant, during certain developmental phases, takes precedence over the prescribed observance - even when milk and juice are abailable between meals.

In these situations the mother is best equipped to prudently decide that an alternative type of self-denial is in order. The way to recognize this is to pay close attention to your own energy levels, and take enough food "for one's strength", as the law prescribes. Clearly, implied though, is AN OBLIGATION TO SEE THE CHILD'S NEEDS FIRST. If there is any question, prudence would seem to require an alternative form of penance.

Prudence can be challenging, and we can't just cling to an observance in hopes that we won't have the responsibility of weighing the available goods according to a correct "hierarchy of values." I think "the body speaks" in ways an attentive mother can intuit. Also, the child will signal immediately by crying, irritability and impatience if the mother is overdoing the fasting and in case she should cease immediately. I might also say this: Throwing away pacifiers and practicing ecological breastfeeding, satisfying all the baby's needs at the breast, could be a wonderful form of motherly self-denial.

Dominic Pedulla, MD, FACC, CNFPMC Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Creighton Model Natural Family Planning Medical Consultant, Board Certified in Cardiology and Internal Medicine

COPYRIGHT 2014

Click here to send this Question and Answer to a friend                    

Previous Question Next Question


Visit the EWTNkids website


Back to topics list.

 

HOME - EWTNews - FAITH - TELEVISION - RADIO - LIBRARY - CHANNEL FINDER WATCH ONLINE - FAQ - EWTNKids
WHAT'S NEW - EWTN MOBI - GENERAL - RELIGIOUS CATALOGUE - PILGRIMAGES - PRESS ROOM - ESPAÑOL

Terms of Use      Privacy Policy      Contact Us

EWTN Global Catholic Network
5817 Old Leeds Rd., Irondale, AL 35210 USA 1-205-271-2900