Oct 14, 2013

An Islamic Look At the Benefits of Breastfeeding

By Umm Halimah


Unlike in the past, a woman now has to make a conscious decision about whether to breastfeed or formula feed her child. However, as with everything in life, the decision can be made clearer when looking through the lenses of Islam.

According to Islamqa.com, a site headed by Shaikh Muhammad S. Al-Munajjid, there is no difference of opinion among the scholars that breastfeeding is among the rights of a child. Traditionally, this breastfeeding can be from the mother or a suitable wet-nurse. If looked at as being part of a child’s rights from his parents, breastfeeding is indeed a serious matter. In fact, Allah even mentions in verse 233 of Suratul Baqarah of the Qur’an that a father is obligated to spend on the woman who breastfeeds his child even if she is a wet-nurse. It is truly a miracle and blessing from Allah that women are usually equipped to feed their children from themselves and provide them with the best nourishment, free of extra costs. Additionally, a woman would be performing a good deed inshaAllah by giving her child his/her right.

In addition to the Islamic benefits of breastfeeding, modern science has now proven the many benefits of breastfeeding to both mothers and babies. Due to these findings, there has recently been a campaign in the United States and elsewhere aimed at encouraging women to breastfeed their babies at least for the first few months of life. The following is a list of benefits for the baby:
  • Breast milk is easy to digest and sterile 
  • Complete Nutrition (breastmilk changes to suit the child’s age) 
  • It is always the right temperature 
  • Boosting of the immune system and passing on of immunity 
  • Reduction in many illnesses such as stomach and intestinal troubles, allergies, diabetes, ear infections, etc. 
The baby is not the only one benefiting from breastfeeding. The mother and even greater society can benefit from this practice. As a mother of two children who spent most of the last 4 years involved in breastfeeding, I can attest to many of these benefits myself. The following is a list of some of the benefits women can expect from breastfeeding for themselves.
  • Reduction of blood loss after delivery 
  • Promotes uterine contraction (back to normal) 
  • Helps in loss of pregnancy weight by sharing your calories with baby 
  • May reduce risk of osteoporosis in addition to ovarian and breast cancers 
  • No mixing, bottles, or heating required (No middle of the night bottle making) 
  • Excellent bonding for mother and baby 

Although there are numerous benefits to breastfeeding, we cannot ignore or discount the possible complications that may accompany the effort to breastfeed. Many women who try to breastfeed give up very early on due to these challenges. I believe it is imperative for a woman to get as much information and support on breastfeeding before and after her baby is born. The beginning can be very rough but with the right help and perseverance, it can quickly get better and become quite rewarding.

Not breastfeeding may have the opposite effects that breastfeeding has such as an increase in stomach/intestinal discomfort for baby and a weaker immune system, etc. However, we do acknowledge that some people may have circumstances that would make breastfeeding very difficult or impossible. Therefore, care must be taken to give baby the best nutrition possible. In our effort to raise healthy, righteous children we must always be sure to also make du’a to Allah (May He be Glorified and Exalted) that he guides us and makes the straight path easy for us.

1. Sherin Binti Kunhibava, 2008. A.S. Noordeen, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. A Blessed Pregnancy: Enjoying & Understanding Pre-pregnancy, Pregnancy & Post-partum Care with Reference to the Qur’an and Sunnah.
2. Why Breastfeeding is Important. http://www.womenshealth.gov/breastfeeding/why- breastfeeding-is-important/index.html
I'd love to know your views on this topic. Please post in the comments section below :)


Loved reading this...I was having a hard time giving time to my 3yr old daughter after I delivered a baby few months back...she always wants to play wid me..but me bcoz of my new baby n thinking he needs me more nw fr feeding n all...I dnt play more with her now. .
But after reading this I vl still try to give her my time mch as i can. ..
May Allah give me strength to take care of my kids. ..

Alhamdulillah, Glad you benefitted Sr. Hafsah.

beautifully written and very encouraging...conveys the warmth and emotions for your child masha Allah.
May Allah reward you, and put abundant barakah and success in your dawah. Ameen

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