From the Rav’s Desk: Nursing mothers using a milk collector cup on Shabbos

  1. Question: [Thursday, 7th Tammuz 5781]

During the week, I am accustomed to use a breast milk collector cup in order to both save as much milk as possible, as well as prevent my clothing from getting wet. Is it permitted for me to use this on Shabbos?



There is nothing intrinsically wrong with wearing it on Shabbos so long as one does not actively squeeze out any milk into it, and it is no different than wearing a nursing pad. However, the milk that is collected is considered Muktzah according to many authorities, and so rules the Alter Rebbe, and therefore may only be moved with an irregularity. Accordingly, it may not be dealt with, poured into a bottle, and fed to a child on Shabbos. However, seemingly, to remove it from the body and spill it into the sink is permitted to be done. Likewise, if one places some water into the cup and has the milk drip into the water, then the milk does not become Muktzah at all, and it is permitted to move the nursing cup to spill out the milk for any purpose on Shabbos, even to save it and place it in the fridge [however, Tzaruch Iyun if it may be fed to the baby on Shabbos].

Explanation: Although it is a Biblical prohibition of Dash/Mifareik to squeeze milk on Shabbos, whether from a milking cow or a nursing mother, nonetheless, this prohibition only applies against actively squeezing the milk, however, to have the milk simply drip out on its own is not under any prohibition, and is not something that one can control. Nonetheless, according to many Poskim, the milk itself is considered Muktzah due to being a complete Nolad and perhaps also due to the decree of Mashkin Sheavu, and so rules the Alter Rebbe in his Shulchan Aruch. [Other Poskim differentiate between milk of a mother and cows milk and argue that perhaps mothers milk is not Muktzah as they disregard the reason of Nolad altogether, and claim that since it is meant for breastfeeding, there is no decree of Mashkin Shezavu. However, according to Admur who invalidates cows milk due to Nolad, the same would apply to women’s milk.] Theoretically then, it would seem that it would not be permitted to use a milk collector cup on Shabbos being that the milk is forbidden to be handled due to Muktzah. However, in truth we can permit moving the nursing cup that holds the milk in order to then spill it out into the sink under the basis of Tiltul Min Hatzad, which permits moving a non-Muktzah object that contains a Muktzah object in it for the sake of the non-Muktzah object, and so too here one desires to get rid of the milk from the cup for the sake of emptying it. Likewise, perhaps it can be permitted under the status of Geraf Shel Reiy, being no different than throwing out a soiled nursing or sanitary pad. However, if one desires to keep the milk for feeding after Shabbos, then it is a problem due to Muktzah to move the breast cup for the sake of spilling and saving the milk, as Tiltul Min Hatzad is prohibited when done for the sake of the Muktzah item. Nonetheless, as by all Muktzah, it would be permitted to do all this using an irregularity, such as the back of one’s hands, if one can manage to do so. Now, regarding circumventing the Muktzah prohibition by placing water in the cup, so is explicitly ruled in the Poskim regarding Muktzah wine that flowed on Shabbos, and works under the basis of Kama Kama Batul. However, if in the end there will be more milk than water in the mixture then although it is still not Muktzah, it is questionable whether a child may drink as perhaps the milk is forbidden to be consumed due to the decree of Mashkin Shezavu. Vetzaruch Iyun!


Sources: See regarding the squeezing of milk prohibition: Admur 328:41; 305:28-33 regarding cow; See regarding that milk that flowed on Shabbos is Muktzah: Admur 305:31; 308:9; Kuntrus Achron 305:2; Michaber 305:20; M”A 305:12; Shut Rav Akiva Eiger 5; Tehila Ledavid 328:56; Chazon Ish 44:4-5; M”B 328:58 regarding moving Muktzah milk for baby with Shinuiy; Tzitz Eliezer 8:15-12; Peir Hador 3:182; Megilas Sefer 66; Maor Hashabbos Shevet Halevi 8:80; Shabbos Kehalacha 19:15; Piskeiy Teshuvos 330:11 and 12 footnote 88; See regarding status of Muktzah of complete Nolad: Admur 310:19; 507:3; M”A 310; M”B 310:32; See regarding the decree of Mashkin Shezavu: Regarding fruits: Admur 320:3; Michaber 320:1; Shabbos 143b; Regarding milk: Admur 305:33; Kuntrus Achron 301:2; See regarding Tiltul Min Hatzad: Admur 308:61-62; 309:4-6; 310:17; 311:14; Michaber 308:27; 309:3-4; 310:8; 311:8; See regarding Geraf Shel Reiy: Admur 308:72-76; 335:4; Michaber 308:34-37; Gemara Beitza 36b; Shabbos 121b; See regarding Kama Kama Batul: Admur 335:4; M”A 335:4; Darkei Moshe 335:1; M”B 335:15; Yoreh Deah 134:1 and 3; Shach Y.D. 134:4; Avnei Nezer Y.D. 225; Shabbos Kehalacha 19:15 and 16 Biurim 8 p. 20

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