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How Does The Fasting of Ramadan Affect Breast Milk Constituents?

Elmuntasir T Salah
Nada M E Malik
Mayson S Hassan
Ismail A Mohammed
Manal Mohamed
Mohamed O Mohamed
Wadie M Elmadhoun


Background: Breast-feeding of infants is associated with their better biological, psychological and intellectual development. However, many factors affect the volume and composition of human milk such as stage of lactation and maternal diet. Many breast-feeding Muslim mothers fast the lunar month of Ramadan. The effects of fasting on milk constituents have not been previously studied in Sudan. Therefore, we aimed to investigate the variations between milk constituents during fasting and non-fasting periods among a group of Sudanese women.

Materials and Methods: Twenty four healthy breast-feeding mothers volunteered to participate in this cross-sectional study. Each mother provided 100 ml of breast milk during fasting and again 2 weeks after end of the fasting month of Ramadan. Milk was properly stored and analyzed for the various constituents, using the appropriate laboratory methods. The main constituents analyzed were: ash, protein, lactose, iron and electrolytes.

Results: The age range of lactating women was between 18 and 38 years, mean (+SD) 28.8 (± 5.15 years). Most mothers 17 (70.8%) were house-wives. Analysis of breast milk during fasting and non-fasting periods showed that: lactose, protein, sodium, potassium, calcium and phosphate were significantly decreased in the fasting breast milk compared with the non-fasting milk (p=0.01), while total soluble solid, moisture, ash and iron constituents had not significantly changed during fasting.

Conclusion: Fasting of Ramdan significantly affects proteins, carbohydrates and electrolytes in breast milk.

Keywords: breast-feeding, milk constituents, Ramadan, fasting.

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eISSN: 1858-5051