Islam is a religion that gives attention to every aspects of human’s life, including in the early stages. One of the aspects than mentioned in the Holy Quran is about breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is feeding the babies or young children with milk directly from a woman’s breast. Breastfeeding should begin from the early hours after the baby is born until certain age, usually 2 years old. Here are the importance of breastfeeding in Islam:
1. Breastfeeding is a direct command from Allah SWT
The importance of breastfeeding is proved by a verse in the Holy Quran. Allah SWT has directly commands all mother in the world to give their children the best food possible, which come directly from their breasts. “The mothers should suckle their children for two whole years, (that is) for those (parents) who desire to complete the term of suckling, but the father of the child shall bear the cost of the mother’s food and clothing on a reasonable basis…” – Al Baqarah (2:233)
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2. Breastfeeding is a gift from Allah SWT
Suckling and breastfeeding is a gift from Allah SWT, and thus we have to be grateful to Him. It is mentioned in Quran, where Allah SWT says, “And We have enjoined upon man [care] for his parents. His mother carried him, [Increasing her] in weakness upon weakness, and his weaning is in two years. Be grateful to Me and to your parents; to Me is the [final] destination.” – Luqman (31:14)
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3. Breastfeeding improve the immune system of the child
Mother’s milk contain many minerals and vitamin that cannot be find in the baby formula. It protects the baby from intestinal and respiratory disease, also contain immune cells which can improve and protect the baby’s immune system until the child grows up.
Mother’s milk contain a yellow substance called colostrum which can only found in it. The colostrum is good to increase the immune system of the baby and protect the intestines. Breastfeeding will also protects the child from allergies, asthma, and eczema.
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4. Breastfeeding tightens the bond between mother and baby
Breastfeeding helps strengthen the bond between mother and baby. When a mother held their baby close to her chest, the baby feel recognize the mother’s heartbeat which brings the peace and comfort form him. Also, the baby suckling changes the behavior of the mother’s brain. The changes resulted in a massive rush of oxytocin, or the love hormone, in the mother’s brain. This enhances her feeling of trust, love, and affection.
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5. A breastfeeding mother will be rewarded
Breastfeeding is one of the biggest responsibility of a mother to her children. It is not only brings the benefits for the baby, but for the mother as well. A breastfeeding is a joy in motherhood, where the baby was fed with the best food in the world which come directly from the mother’s body. So Allah SWT promised rewards for the mothers who breastfeed their children. The importance of breastfeeding in Islam is shown by the promise of Allah SWT, that if a mother dies during the breastfeeding period, she’ll be in the same level with the martyr who has fights for Allah SWT.
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6. No food can replace the qualities of mother’s milk
Breastfeeding is not only the act of exchanging love and tightens the bonds between mother and the baby, but also the process of giving the baby the best food in the world as mentioned above. It is narrated from the Messenger of Allah (SAW), “For a child, there is no milk better than the milk of the mother.”
The prophet continues that there are no other food or water that can replace mother’s milk. It is also narrated from Imam Ali (AS), there is no milk that contains more blessings than the mother’s milk for a child.
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7. Breastfeeding is the reason of dutiful children
One of the excellence of pregnancy and breastfeeding are that both of them could be the ultimate reason for a child to be dutiful and kind towards his mother. Allah SWT says, “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.” – Al Ahqaaf (46:15)
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8. Breastfeeding erases the mother’s sins
Breastfeeding is indeed important for the baby, but also important for the mother as well. It is an act of worship, since breastfeeding is commanded directly by Allah SWT through the Holy Quran, and it can bring someone to get closer to Allah SWT. The hardship a mother faces during the pregnancy and breastfeeding period will erase her sins and raises her rank as the reward. The Prophet (SAW) says, “An affliction continues to affect a believing man or a believing woman in his/her own self, his/her children, and his/her wealth, until he/she meets Allaah without a sin.” – Muslim, Ahmad and Tirmidhi.
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9. Breastfeeding protect the baby from the harmful effects of baby formula
Baby formula is often become an option for a mother who is unable or doesn’t want to breastfeed her child. Breastfeeding could keep the baby safe from the harmful effects of the formula. It is proved that consuming baby formula from the early stages of life will increase the risks of obesity, diabetes type 1 and type 2, and the sudden death syndrome.
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10. Breastfeeding is important for the mother’s health
Not only breastfeeding is important for the baby, it is also important for the mother’s health. By giving the breast milk for her baby, the mother has specifically reduced the risks of premenopausal breast cancer, ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes, retained gestational weight, and the metabolic syndrome.
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11. Breastfeeding is important for the baby’s growth
Allah SWT has created a mother’s milk so unique that it can adjust with the baby’s growth. A breastfed baby will have an optimal growth development and protected from many diseases.
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12. Breastfeeding prevent the behavior difficulties
As breastfeeding brings comfort and safety for the baby from the mother’s hug, he will be grow up as a calm person with no behavioral difficulties.
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Finally, those are the importance of breastfeeding in Islam that everyone should know. Breastfeeding is a joy of motherhood that shouldn’t be missed. May Allah SWT blessed every mother who breastfed their child.