Exclusive Breastfeeding Campaign in Ghana

Once again, it appears that infant formula companies are inappropriately advertising their products to families.  Read the the following linked article get more info about how breastfeeding advocates in Ghana are making a comeback by launching a campaign to encourage mothers to exclusively breastfeed.

GHS calls on media to intensify education on exclusive breastfeeding.

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My Rant on the Stigma of Attachment Parenting

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! 

Breastfeeding in Your Birth Plan

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.

Free Birth Plan Creator

Is Your Vitamin Halal?

Noor Vitamins are certified Halal and affordable.

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)

Nutrition Enhancement

Salaam Nutritionals

Vitamin Corner

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 and Promotes Breastfeeding

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.

Tutorial: How to Make a Khimar from a Bedsheet

Khimars are provide great coverage for breastfeeding mothers, it is a hijab and nursing cover all in one!  Save money by making your own, it is super easy!

So, I was at the thrift store and I saw this bedsheet.  Immediately, I knew this color and fabric would be perfect for a khimar.  So, I found these instructions online and adapted them to make a khimar with an attached headband that ties in the back.  Please forgive my poor quality pictures, I was 9 months pregnant and had to two toddlers “helping” me when I took these pictures.  FYI, I’m only a beginner sewer so if you prefer to do things a better way, feel free.

Supplies

bedsheet

sewing machine (it can be handsewn as well)

stickpins

yardstick or ruler

fabric pen or marker

Start off by cutting off the widest seam on the bedsheet.  Set this to the side  for later.

Next, Fold the sheet in half along the width with the right sides together and anchor it with some fabric weights (I used cans).  Starting at the fold and 40 inches from the open edge (or however long you would like the back to be), draw a straight line that is about 18 inches long.  As you can see, the yardstick is parallel to the open edge.  Then, draw a straight line about the same length, starting at the far right side 40 inches down from the fold. I put red lines on the image to show you how this should look.  These straight lines are made to ensure that the front and back have the same shape.

Next, draw a curved line connecting the two lines (yes, free hand!).  And cut along your one big line.  It should look something like this.

Now take that long strip of fabric we cut earlier from the widest seam.  Fold it in half and with the raw edge closest to the open edge, slip it over this end of the sheet.  Make sure the sides stay even (this will be the headband).  Pin it in place on both sides (do not pin it shut).  Make a small mark on both sides along the pins 6 inches down from the top peak.

Open the khimar and sew from one “six inch” mark to the next, attaching the headband to the khimar (be careful not to sew the khimar shut).  This is the portion that will be on the forehead (about 12 inches in length).  The loose ends will be the ties.  After sewing, you can goto the mirror and “try on” the khimar by tying it behind your head and pull the sides to the front.  Use a safety pin to mark how far you want the khimar to be sewn up under your chin.  No one likes a choking khimar.  If you don’t want to bother with trying it on, just turn the khimar inside out and sew it shut (leave a face opening), starting from the bottom.

I realized I got a better fit by making my line 3 inches from the edge.  Then I sewed it up to the safety pin.  If you need better guidance, turn your khimar inside out, draw a  line along where you want your seam and pin it shut.  Then, sew from the bottom up, removing the pins as you go.

Lastly, hem the bottom of the khimar.  I didn’t bother with pinning, I just turned it up about inch and sewed.

Depending on the size of your sheet, your ties may be too long.  Cut them to your preference, I like mine long so I can tie it easily behind my head.  You can sew the ties shut on end or leave them raw (I left mine raw because this is just a house khimar.  Plus they don’t show because I tie mine under the khimar).

That’s it!  You are done.

* Please do not copy or duplicate this post.  Provide a link if you would like to share.