Template:Nursing on Shabbat

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  1. According to Ashkenazim, it is only permissible to nurse on Shabbat if the infant feeds directly from the mother. A nursing mother who is experiencing pain may express excess milk if it goes directly to waste and is not collected in a cup or container.[1]
  2. According to Sephardim, a woman who is nursing and the baby doesn't want to nurse, to avoid a lot of discomfort it is permissible to express the milk but it should go to waste immediately, such as nursing into a disgusting cup or onto the ground.[2]
  3. While it is permitted to nurse a child on Shabbos a woman may not pump extra milk to have for a later time as she would be transgressing the melacha of mefarek (extracting)[3]. However in the event that the woman is in pain she may express her milk directly into a sink[4]. In the event that this is not practical, the Poskim permit one to use a pump providing that there is soap or vinegar in the bottle that would immediately render the milk useless[5]. She should then pour the milk directly into the sink when she is done. If she does not have a manual pump and is in significant pain she may even ask a non-Jew to turn on an electric pump for her[6]. If she knows prior to Shabbos that she will need to express milk due to pain and she does not have a manual pump, she would be permitted, on Friday, to set her pump to turn on with a Shabbos clock.[7]
    1. 39 Melachos (vol 2, pg 356)
    2. Yalkut Yosef (Otzar Dinim L'isha 28:9)
    3. Shulchan Aruch O.C. 328:34, Biur Halacha s.v. V’Tineck
    4. Shulchan Aruch O.C. 330:8
    5. Taz 320:12, Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchata 36:20 footnote 61
    6. S.A. 328:17
    7. Rabbi Heshy Kahn (What's Doing, Greater Connecticut, 3/3/11) quoting Rabbi Yitzchok Berkowitz, Shlita. Although if one can secure for themselves a manual pump that would be more Halachically preferable as Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv was under the impression that by using the electric pump you are causing the motor to work harder. Therefore even when one would rely on this leniency one should secure the pump onto oneself prior to the time that the machine is set to go on.