Is there any halachic concern with breastfeeding on Shabbat? I believe the Chazon Ish brought down one can’t milk a cow on shabbos (which I disagree with personally), but under his logic would a similar issue present itself with breastfeeding from a human mother? I know technically, babies are not obligated to keep Shabbat, but would this be an issue of lifne iver on the mother’s part (at least according to the logic of the Chazon Ish)?

  • 1
    Everyone agrees cows cannot be milked on shabbat (in the standard way, collecting the milk for later, etc.)
    – Double AA
    Commented Oct 18, 2023 at 17:01

1 Answer 1


Admur 328:41 (ff.) rule that it is allowed.

It is permitted without restriction for a woman to breast-feed a child on Shabbos, even if the child does not need to breast-feed such as if he is already satiated, or has formula or other foods available. (see here).

The reason for this is because it is considered "Derech Achila" (See Shulchan Shlomo 328:56 in name of Rav SZ”A; Piskeiy Teshuvos 330:1).

However, it is forbidden to squeeze the milk into a vessel. Pumping extra milk is forbidden (Orach Chaim 328:34 ff.), due to the prohibition of melacha mefarek..

So to summarise:

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.

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.

  • Thanks, but according to the mizrachi movement which allowed milking a cow on Shabbat would it be allowed to store in a cup if it will be drinken soon after? @shmuel
    – Kirk
    Commented Oct 18, 2023 at 16:35
  • Is there any provision to do it for no reason? This implies engorged or pain is the minimum reason. What if it is simply for enjoyment or keeping the baby busy or putting the baby to sleep etc
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Commented Oct 18, 2023 at 16:38
  • Rav Auerbach is quoted in Me’or Ha-shabbat, Vol. I, pp. 504-505 in saying that this is allowed, only when the mother is in great pain or discomfort. The only way to do it, is to pump it into a sink or vessel, but to make sure there is a substance added to it, to render the milk "unusable". - Refer to here: etzion.org.il/en/halakha/orach-chaim/shabbat/…
    – Shmuel
    Commented Oct 18, 2023 at 16:40
  • 2
    @RabbiKaii The limitation on pain is only for expressing milk wastefully, which ordinarily would be rabbinically prohibited but we override that to avoid the pain. Straight nursing is always fine.
    – Double AA
    Commented Oct 18, 2023 at 17:02
  • 1
    Thanks Reb Kaii. I don't follow what you mean unfortunately. Please feel free to edit it, I am on my Ipad rn :)
    – Shmuel
    Commented Oct 18, 2023 at 17:42

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .