Why Muslims Should Start a Mommy War

One of the most debated topics in the acclaimed “Mommy Wars” is breastfeeding versus bottle-feeding.  Self-proclaimed “lactivists” proudly stand for breastfeeding while their formula-feeding opponents generally express indifference to the whole issue.  I think it is ludicrous to debate about something that has been around for thousands of years (breastmilk) versus something that has been around for 50 years (formula).  But, I think the discussion is a healthy medium to promote the unmatched benefits of breastfeeding in a society where bottle-feeding is the cultural norm.  This controversy should be brought up in the Muslim community, where encouraging mothers to breastfeed is nearly taboo.  From my experience, sisters are light-hearted about the recommendation to breastfeed in the Quran and are very reluctant to mention the importance of breastfeeding in Islam.  Influenced by popular culture, many Muslims have adopted the myth that formula is superior (or equal) to breastmilk.  Then, there are those who feel that breastfeeding is immodest and should be forfeited to maintain one’s dignity.  Lastly, for many who are first generation Americans, bottle-feeding is a status symbol, a sign that they are truly American.  However, our brothers and sisters are missing out on the barakah of breastfeeding by disregarding this truly forgotten sunnah.  If more of us followed the divine guidance of Allah (swt), we would avoid some of the common perils of artificial feeding such as contamination, constipation and obesity.  As an Ummah, we should do more to encourage each other to breastfeed, providing the perfect form of nourishment for the mind, body and soul of a child.  Insh’Allah, more Muslim mothers will learn about the superior benefits of breastfeeding and will be motivated to adjust their lifestyle appropriately when they do become mothers.  Lastly, we should not neglect or shun the mothers who do commit to breastfeeding their children.  Instead, we should be openly proud and supportive of the fact that they are gaining reward from Allah (swt) “for every drop of breastmilk.  By promoting breastfeeding, we are not only protecting the health of our children, we are strengthening our families, our community and our future.

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