Nursing and Fasting on Yom Kippur

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Note: This Q&A is shared for general knowledge only. Any similar (or dissimilar) question should be discussed personally, rather than assessed based only on the particular response to the questioner below.

Dear Rabbi Simon.
Shanah Tovah!
Having given birth recently, I’m feeling very anxious about Yom Kippur this year WRT fasting. I am currently drinking over 6 litres a day I think, as I’m exclusively breastfeeding which makes me so thirsty. I’m feeling weaker than I had expected to feel by now (and still bleeding heavily). I’m really nervous about both feeling awful in myself but also my milk production and being able to function for the Energetic Two. Is there anything that I can do or at least have in place in case I feel bad as I won’t be at Shul to ask?
Thank you,
Shoshana

Dear Shoshana,
Your anxiety is certainly understandable, as fasting while nursing a baby is of course taxing. However there are things you can do to mitigate the difficulty, particularly drinking generously before the fast, also eating foods with “slow-release” fluid such as cucumber and melon. By all means stay home and try to minimise your exertion. If you can arrange any help at home that would be a good idea. Of course it is also prudent to have access to Similac or similar in case of need. Your baby’s wellbeing is paramount, but it should be possible to preserve that priority without compromising the sanctity of Yom Kippur.
Nevertheless, I would also suggest that you ask your doctor or medical professional as to whether s/he feels there is a potential danger to either Daniel or yourself if you were to fast on YK. If s/he is of the view that there are particular concerns here which mean that fasting is not only difficult but presents an actual health risk, please let me know and we can re-evaluate as necessary.
I hope this is helpful. Feel free to give me a call too if you would like.
Best wishes
Rabbi Rashi Simon

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Questions and Answers

Ask the Rabbi: Quinoa on Pesach
Dear Rabbi Simon,
Where do you stand on quinoa (and the kitniyot ban) for Pesach?
Many thanks,
Tzippy
***
Dear Tzippy,
In line with other American authorities, I am in favour of quinoa. Although I reject completely the voices (mostly from Israel) seeking to abolish the ban on kitniyot entirely, IMO we do not need to include in the prohibition pseudo-grains that were unknown in the Old World until modern times. Best to buy with a Pesach hechsher though, to be free of any possible wheat contamination.
Rabbi Rashi Simon
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