Nishmat's Women’s Health and HalachaIn memory of Chaya Mirel bat R' Avraham

  • Hebrew
  • English
  • Espnaol
  • Francais
Menu

Conception and breastfeeding

22 June, 2006

Question:

According to the doctor, my wife’s breastfeeding will delay her next conception of a baby…Can I ask her to start giving formula? Our baby is 6 months old.


Answer:

On a medical note, even a woman who breastfeeds fully and has not yet menstruated may conceive after six months. (See our article on the Lactational Amenorrhea Method for more details.) Your wife’s nursing will not necessarily delay conception.

Halacha encourages breastfeeding, especially for the first two years of life, without concern for possible reduction in ability to conceive during that time. Halacha does not recognize desire to speed fulfillment of the command to procreate as reason to desist from breastfeeding, especially because breastfeeding itself is a form of involvement in and giving sustenance to a child. Breastfeeding thus may be considered part of fulfilling the command to be fruitful and multiply.

You should feel free to discuss your desire to have another child soon with your wife. But you should be careful not to pressure her.

In any case, six months is an appropriate age to begin supplementing breastmilk with solid food. Even if both you and your wife are eager to conceive again quickly, there is no need to start giving formula.

Updated August 2020.


This internet service does not preclude, override or replace the psak of any rabbinical authority. It is the responsibility of the questioner to inform us of any previous consultation or ruling. As even slight variation in circumstances may have Halachic consequences, views expressed concerning one case may not be applied to other, seemingly similar cases. All health and health-related information contained within Nishmat's Women's Health & Halacha Web site is intended to be general in nature and should not be used as a substitute for consulting with your health care professional. The advice is intended to offer a basis for individuals to discuss their medical condition with their health care provider but not individual advice. Although every effort is made to ensure that the material within Nishmat's Women's Health & Halacha Web site is accurate and timely, it is provided for the convenience of the Web site user but should not be considered official. Advice for actual medical practice should be obtained from a licensed health care professional.

For further questions or comments: 

The Nishmat Women's Health and Halacha Site is a public service of Nishmat, The Jeanie Schottenstein Center for Advanced Torah Study for Women. This project and others like it are made possible by contributions from people like you. If you have benefited from the service, and wish to enable us to help others, click here to donate.


Users of Internet filtering services: This site discusses sensitive subjects that some services filter without visual indication. A page that appears 100% complete might actually be missing critical Jewish-law or medical information. To ensure that you view the pages accurately, ask the filtering service to whitelist all pages under yoatzot.org.