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Parenting-Infants

NURTURING
THROUGH BREAST FEEDING


"We have enjoined on man kindness to his parents: In pain did his mother bear him, and in pain did she give him birth. The carrying of the (child) to his weaning is (a period of) thirty months. At length, when he reach the age of full strength and attains forty years, he says, 'O my Lord! Grant me that I may be grateful for Thy favor which thou hast bestowed upon me, and upon both my parents....'"
Holy Quran 46:15

Family Life Question: "Breast feeding our new baby will be a new experience for me, and I'm concerned about providing an adequate amount of milk. What are some helpful things to know?"

Dear New Mother:
It is from the breast that "the milk of human kindness" literally flows. Human milk contains thousands of nutrients, some of which are not found anywhere else in nature. It is very specific in its design for the optimum growth and development of the human infant.

Breast feeding is a part of the continuation of life, that is evolving in the manner Allah has ordained. Breast feeding is natural. We have abandoned many of the beautiful natural things that Allah has given to us that would assure the sanctity of human life. We need guidance to adhere to the more natural ways of life that are in accordance with Allah's universal order. "There is no moving creature on earth but its sustenance dependeth on Allah." (Quran 11:6)

Not only are the physical qualities of breast milk best, the emotional and spiritual bonding that takes place between mother and child is immeasurably vital to life. Breast feeding encourages bonding for the entire family. Allah has given the woman the role of nurturer of life, the role of providing the warmth, comfort, security and compassion that sets life on the best course.

There are many herbal remedies for breast feeding mothers. More than 30 herbs are considered to promote healthy milk producing. Nutritionists advise the widely know herb, fenugreek. Dr. Mohammed El-Shatet of Fouad University in Cairo, Egypt, reports in Mothering magazine (July-Sept. 1988) that fenugreek could increase breast milk production by as much as 900 percent. Mothers who had experienced their babies failing to gain weight found that infants thrived when they began drinking fenugreek tea. Even adoptive mothers have been able to produce milk for their babies after drinking this tea regularly. (3)

The effectiveness of an herbal remedy is dependent upon its preparation. Healing qualities are increased when herbs are grown in a kitchen garden with loving care and without pesticides and herbicides. There are natural pros and cons to using herbs while breast feeding: herbs may flavor milk; some herbs that affect the infant and are as potent as pharmaceutical products; herbal remedies may alter the composition of milk; herbs can influence the quantity of milk. When there is any room for concern, consult a nutritionist and always consult your caring physician.

Breast feeding is one way that Allah has given us as mothers to nurture life and through it, Allah wants us to feed our young ones the physical, emotional and spiritual food vital to life. Studies have revealed that "African" youth who are breastfed and carried about on the mother's back as she goes about through the day are among the youth with the highest intelligence levels in the world.

Kabongo, a Kikiyu chief in Africa, spoke these beautiful words about his mother when he was eighty years old: "My early years are connected in my mind with my mother. At first she was always there; I can remember the comforting feeling of her body as she carried me on her back and the smell of her skin in the hot sun. Everything came from her," as related in Touching the Human Significance of the Skin by Ashley Montagu. (4)

by Mildred M. El-Amin

REFERENCES

3. "Herbal Remedies For The Breast feeding Mother, " Mothering, No. 48 (Summer 1988), p.69.

4. Ashley Montagu, TOUCHING The Human Significance of the Skin, (Harper and Row Publishers, 1978), p. 75.


The following article is reprinted by permission from Family Roots: The Quranic View of Family Life, by Mildred M. El-Amin, 1991, pp. 109-111, 219, 220.

The book Family Roots: The Quranic View of Family Life can be purchased from Sound Vision.

Comments? Criticism? ideas? Talk to us. Let's develop a partnership about parenting by sharing with each other: parenting@soundvision.com

 


Your Comments

Umm Hamzah, Woodridge - wrote on 8/23/2010 2:40:26 AM
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Comment: I am really opposed to formula feeding. I just had my son in June 2010 and I went straight into breastfeeding exclusivly; I was good for the 2 months, till his 2 month check up when the doctors were "worried" because he only weighed 8 lbs 6.9 oz. when he should be 10 lbs or over, so they told me to supplement with formula at every feeding, otherwise they'll have to do labs on him (if he didnt improve in 1 month to gain 2 lbs in 1 month) and to see whats "wrong" with the care-giver. Astaghfirallah, so I was forced to start using some formula in order not to have CPS called on me for something stupid, but I still do mostly breastfeeding still, im only using some formula to put some weight on him, than after that taking him off once my formula cans are done and not going back insha'allah.


Umm Hamzah, Woodridge - wrote on 8/23/2010 2:39:59 AM
Rating: Rating

Comment: I am really opposed to formula feeding. I just had my son in June 2010 and I went straight into breastfeeding exclusivly; I was good for the 2 months, till his 2 month check up when the doctors were "worried" because he only weighed 8 lbs 6.9 oz. when he should be 10 lbs or over, so they told me to supplement with formula at every feeding, otherwise they'll have to do labs on him (if he didnt improve in 1 month to gain 2 lbs in 1 month) and to see whats "wrong" with the care-giver. Astaghfirallah, so I was forced to start using some formula in order not to have CPS called on me for something stupid, but I still do mostly breastfeeding still, im only using some formula to put some weight on him, than after that taking him off once my formula cans are done and not going back insha'allah.


Umm Hamzah, Woodridge - wrote on 8/23/2010 2:38:45 AM
Rating: Rating

Comment: I am really opposed to formula feeding. I just had my son in June 2010 and I went straight into breastfeeding exclusivly; I was good for the 2 months, till his 2 month check up when the doctors were "worried" because he only weighed 8 lbs 6.9 oz. when he should be 10 lbs or over, so they told me to supplement with formula at every feeding, otherwise they'll have to do labs on him (if he didnt improve in 1 month to gain 2 lbs in 1 month) and to see whats "wrong" with the care-giver. Astaghfirallah, so I was forced to start using some formula in order not to have CPS called on me for something stupid, but I still do mostly breastfeeding still, im only using some formula to put some weight on him, than after that taking him off once my formula cans are done and not going back insha'allah.


Hina, Karachi - wrote on 8/8/2010 9:02:45 AM
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Comment: thnkyou all for the information on breatsfeeding.My son is 21 months old , I am still breatsfeeding him but I plan on weaning him soon.please can someone give advice on weaning and how to go about it.Thnakyou.


yamin, chennai - wrote on 8/7/2010 2:00:44 AM
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Comment: thanks for the such a beautiful article .


muslimah, Los Angeles - wrote on 10/5/2005 1:29:03 AM
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Comment: I strongly recomend BF, and strongly oppose to formula.Formula is nothing but chemicals.Belive me, formula is the number one cause for ruining my life, as it doesn't make you strong phsically or mentally.That's why I devoted myself alhamdullillah to full time BF and no bottle for even a day.all kids 2 years except first only 21months because I was a beginer.So stay awayfrom formulas.Inshallah the more muslimahs BF the more intellectual umma we'll have as they'll be doctors, professors and other highly educated professionals.


amna, uk - wrote on 7/11/2005 9:28:34 AM
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Comment: May Allah SWT reward the sister who wrote the article on Islam and breastfeeding. I breastfed my 1st 4 yr old son for 2 years Alhamdolillah and the main motivation was the reward from Allah otherwise I would have given up at about 1 or 1 1/2 years. In one ahadith of the Prophet SAW he SAW said that when a woman finished breastfeeding the angels come down and pat her back and say that all her past sins are forgiven. Practically I struggled at the begining but when I let him suck more and increased the amount of fluids I was drinking (I used to drink a glass of something every hour to establish my milk flow)my milk also increased and he was satisfied. I do find that the lack of support from some family members was becasue of their own ignorance of not understanding how long it takes to breastfeed a child and that potentially every woman IS good enough to breastfeed. It is hard with my second baby who is 5 months now because sometimes his morning feed is delayed due to the school run, but I have perservered with it and it is much easier now. The culture of the 1960's and '70's and even 80's has to change now and we should encourage each other to breastfeed-indeed if it wasn;t for the support of my friends who were already breasfeeding to give me tips at the beginging then I couldn't have done it!Thanks!


Inang, Brunei - wrote on 5/19/2005 1:03:58 PM
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Comment: I am a mother of 2 daughters, however, i was not success to breast feed exclusively. i don't mean not to support breastfeeding, i really like to breast feed my children fully but i don't know why i find my breast milk not enough. Is it because of my nutrition status. For your knowledge, i breast feed my child less than 2 hours inorder to maintain lactation.Please help me. Inang.


Pari, London - wrote on 12/23/2004 4:01:35 PM
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Comment: This was a clear explanation about breast feeding and I totally agree with it however there is the issue that some of us as Women we cannot breasfeed - i'm sure it's not only me - I've got two wonderful sons 4 yrs old and 2 yrs old now however my breastfeeding days were not very long at all and it was barely about 2 months first time round and about 1 week second time around and up to now this plays on my mind why this happened to me as I would have loved to breastfeed my children. Insha Allah next time


Shiha, KL, Malaysia - wrote on 9/22/2004 10:21:18 PM
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Comment: I am a proud mother of Ahmad whom I breastfed for a good 18 months. He just turned 2 on 16th Sept 04. I was lucky as I got all the support from my husband and parents during those BF days. For me, support is one vital aspect that really helps, be it from your family members or from other BF mothers. The technical part of it was slightly difficult only during the first two weeks. After that it was like a second nature to me, just like changing diapers or bathing the baby. So, for all muslimahs out there, do not hesitate to breastfeed as that is one special gift that only YOU can give to your precious one.


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