Naturally, many of us practice attachment parenting without even knowing what it is. According to about.com ,”The goal of attachment parenting is to raise children who can form healthy, emotional connections with other people throughout their life. Attachment parents believe this must begin by forming a respectful, compassionate connection between parent and child.” Sounds good, right? Well unfortunately, there is a stigma associated with the common practices of parents such as breastfeeding, baby-wearing, co-sleeping and even simply holding your child. For some reason, responding to your babies hunger cues and keeping him close to your heart in a sling is seen as disgraceful. When I came across the image to the right, I laughed because it is so true. Even if you only practice one aspect of attachment parenting, like breastfeeding, you experience negative feedback from other people. In reality, there is nothing wrong with bonding with your child and these “shameful” practices are more beneficial than harmful. One of the most important needs of a young child is to have a trusting relationship with a caregiver and breastfeeding, baby-wearing, etc. help to facilitate that bond. When I was in the postpartum unit, many nurses were impressed with how calm my newborn was, not crying during procedures or throughout the night like other babies. This was due to the fact that I was unknowingly practicing “attachment parenting” right in the hospital room (co-sleeping and all, don’t tell the authorities). As mothers, we must be confident in the way we raise our children because someone will always have something to say. The same people who complain, are the ones who will admire how peaceful, well-mannered and intelligent your child is!
It is important that mothers initiate breastfeeding shortly after birth. To ensure your needs are met and to create the optimal environment for natural feeding, include the following things in your birth plan (it is not necessary that you include them all):
- I would like the baby to be placed skin-to-skin immediately after birth (umbilical cord does not have to be cut yet). That is, before the baby is washed or has drops placed in his eyes. If the baby needs extra warmth, a blanket can be placed over him.
- I would like all newborn procedures delayed until after the first feeding, and done with the baby lying on me or being held by me.
- Allow my baby to explore my breast at his own pace. I would like to give the baby an opportunity to self-latch.
- I would not like my baby’s mouth to be suctioned unless medically necessary.
- Please do not give my baby artificial nipples such as teats, dummies, or pacifiers.
- Unless medically necessary, I do not want my baby to receive supplemental feeding such as glucose water or formula. If supplementation is needed, I would like to discuss my concerns with a pediatrician and lactation consultant.
- In the event of a c-section, I would like to hold the baby skin-to-skin as soon as possible after surgery. If I am unable to for some time, I would like my husband/relative to hold the baby skin-to-skin.
- I want my baby to stay in my room with me, so that I can hold my baby skin-to-skin as much as possible. To ensure your modesty is protected, have your nurse put a sign on the door indicating that you do not want male caregivers and/or that you everyone must knock, state who they are, and wait for a response.
- I would like help in establishing a comfortable and effective latch, and learn different positions for nursing my baby. I would also like assistance in learning hand expression, how to recognize swallowing, and what to expect in the days following discharge.
- If I encounter any breastfeeding problems, I would like help from an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant.
- If I am separated from my baby for medical reasons, I want to use a breastpump to help establish my milk supply.
- Do not give me any formula promotional material including the free formula diaper bags, coupons and crib cards.
- Please provide me with resources for breastfeeding support in my community such as lactation consultants, clinics, groups and/or organizations.
If a mother eats a reasonably, well-balanced diet, taking vitamins are not necessary. To find out why, checkout this article by Kellymom. SubhanAllah, Allah (swt) has made our bodies very efficient at producing milk for our babies.
However, with the demands and stress of postpartum life, many women fall short of eating a truly, nutritious diet. Therefore, many women continue take a multi-vitamin to ensure that they are getting all the nutrients they need.
“O you who have believed, eat from the pure things which we have provided you” (Quran 2:172). Did you know that most brands use haram ingredients to make their vitamins? Many people do not think it is important to check the pureness of vitamins, but as narrated by Abu Hurayrah (RA), the Prophet of Allah (saws) said, “a time will come upon the people wherein a man will not bother what he intakes; whether from Halal source or Haram” (Bukhari). Gelatin derived from pig fat or bones, is often used in vitamins as a softening agent. Alcohol may also be used to make certain ingredients in vitamins. Also, fat-soluble vitamins A,D,E and K often come from non-halal sources.
S’ad RA relates: Allah’s messenger (saws) said “O S’ad purify your food (and as a result) you will become one whose supplications are accepted. I swear by He in whose hands the soul of Muhammad (saws) lies, verily a servant (of Allah) tosses a Haram morsel in his stomach (due to which) no deed is accepted from him for 40 days” (Tabarani)
We all want our deeds to be accepted by Allah (swt). Therefore, it is important that you check your vitamins with a resource such as Muslim Consumer Group or contact the company to verify if the vitamins are safe to consume.
To make it easy for you, I have compiled a short list of halal vitamins.
Noor Vitamins (Certified Halal by Islamic Services of America)
Halvit (IFANCA certified)
Landau Multivitamins, Minerals, and Prenatal Vitamin
Maxi Health Multivitamins, Minerals, and Prenatal Vitamin
Solgar Multivitamins and Minerals, Calcium Citrate & Vitamin D
Zahlers Multivitamins and Minerals
If you know of anymore halal vitamin products, please contact me.
Islam protects the breastfeeding relationship by providing rights and provisions that ensure the mother and child attain optimal benefits. Here is a small list of examples that make breastfeeding easier and more achievable:
- Breastfeeding is the right of the mother. If she is willing no one can keep her from doing it.
- Breastmilk is the birthright of a child.
- As a part of marriage, husbands provide emotional, moral, physical and financial support.
- After birth, women are given a generous 40/60 day (depending on madhab) maximum resting period while she is still bleeding (nifas). During this time she is not obligated to fast or pray (Sunnipath).
- Sexual intercourse with one’s husband is not allowed while a woman is bleeding (nifas) after childbirth.
- With a valid excuse, breastfeeding women can delay their fasts and make them up at a later time.
- Children must honor their parents as mentioned in the translation of Surah Luqman verse 14, “And We have enjoined on man to be dutiful and good to his parents. His mother bore him in weakness and hardship, and his weaning is in two years. Give thanks to Me and to your parents; unto Me is the final destination”
The following are derived from Surah Al-Baqarah Verse 233:
- The recommended full term of breastfeeding is 2 years. This is the perfect amount of time because there are many benefits (please refer to this post).
- Breastfeeding does not have to be a hardship. No one can force a woman to breastfeed.mm
- Weaning early is permissible if a mother and father wish to do so.
- If the parents choose to, they can hire a wet-nurse to feed the baby.
- If the father/husband is not available e.g. he dies, his heir is responsible for facilitating his responsibilities for feeding the child.
- Women have no obligation to work outside the home to provide food, clothing, or maintenance of the household. In general, and within reasonable means, this is the responsibility of the husband.
- It is the father’s responsibility to find and pay for a milk-source if the mother does not breastfeed.
- If a woman is divorced and still breastfeeding she has to be maintained (or compensated) by the ex-husband.
The first time I saw that sisters were asking this question to scholars online, I laughed. It has never crossed my mind that breastmilk could be considered najis. But after some thinking, I realized that there are many valid reasons to ask this question. Though breastfeeding is not sexual, it is an intimate act of feeding. And living in a culture where breasts are appreciated more for being erotic than for feeding infants, it is understandable that people will have this idea. Another reason people may have this doubt is that breastmilk is another body fluid like blood and semen which do compromise wudu. However, scholars unanimously agree that breastmilk and breastfeeding does not break the mother’s wudu. See the following links for more info.
This is a great article which basically encompasses a lot of issues I would like to discuss on this blog. It’s a good read for anyone who is considering breastfeeding or who would like to understand more about why it is important for Muslims to breastfeed.
Many mothers worry if their child is still nursing beyond the age of two years. As a mother myself, I understand that certain challenges can prevent a child from completely weaning as expected. However, mothers should not put undue hardship on themselves if their child does not weaned by their second birthday. In the translation of Surah-Al Ahqaf verse 15, Allah (swt) shows his compassion for mothers, “And We have enjoined upon man, to his parents, good treatment. His mother carried him with hardship and gave birth to him with hardship, and his gestation and weaning [period] is thirty months. [He grows] until, when he reaches maturity and reaches [the age of] forty years, he says, “My Lord, enable me to be grateful for Your favor which You have bestowed upon me and upon my parents and to work righteousness of which You will approve and make righteous for me my offspring. Indeed, I have repented to You, and indeed, I am of the Muslims.”
Naturally, weaning is a gradual process that differs for each child. While there is a recommendation to breastfeed for two years, there is no obligation to wean at two years. Also, there are different allowances for the length of time one can breastfeed in Islam. Please read the following questions answered by qualified scholars to learn more about this issue.
Great Articles on Weaning: