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20 Islamic Rules for Breastfeeding – Proper Ways

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The birth of a baby is the most anticipated by a married couple. When the baby is born, Islam teaches how to prepare before and after birth. A mother must breastfeed their newborn child until the age of two. Here are 20 Islamic rules for breastfeeding.


1. The duty of nursing mothers in Islam

In one verse of the Qur’an, it is said that the obligatory for a mother to breastfeed her baby is until the child is 2 years old. Here is the following Quran verse.

“Mothers shall suckle their children for two whole years; (that is) for those who wish to complete the suckling…..” (Verse 2:233)

2. Helps meet mother and child needs

A father is obliged to help breastmilk continue to be available with all the needs of the mother. Islam also obliges a father to cover the costs of his mother’s needs, if he divorces the previous wife and still has a baby. Read more about Law of Marrying Underage Children in Islam

This is aimed at the process of breastfeeding the baby smoothly. The following is explained in one of the same verse, Al Baqarah.

“…. The duty of feeding and clothing nursing mothers in a seemly manner is the father of the child. No-one should be charged beyond his capacity. A mother should not be made to suffer because of her child, nor should he to whom the child is born (be made to suffer) because of his child. …..” (Verse 2:233)

3. Take charge of keeping babies

In Islam, when a father travels or dies. So, the family members need to take is taking responsibility for nurturing newborns and providing all the needs of mothers during breastfeeding. The following is a passage of the verse from the Quran.

“…and if ye wish to give your children out to nurse, it is no sin for you, provide that ye pay what is due from you in kindness. Observe your duty to Allah, and know that Allah is Seer of what ye do.” (Verse 2:233)

4. Difficulty in breastfeeding

If a mother encounters difficulties in breastfeeding, then the mother may nurse it to a woman whom she believes in. Here below is an excerpt of Quranic verses. Read more about Rights of Siblings in Islam

“…but if ye make difficulties for one another, then let some other women give suck for him (the father of the child).” (Verse 65:6)

5. Breastfeeding children to others

The habit of feeding babies to women (other mothers), is a habit in Arabs. One example is The Prophet Sallallahu ‘alaihi Wasallam himself had some milk mothers, among them Halimah as-Sa’diyah. Below here is the following hadith.

Anas bin Malik Radhi Allahu ‘anhu said that the Messenger of Allah SAW said,

“Last night my son was born, so I named him my father, Ibrahim.” Then he handed Ibrahim, his son, to Ummu Saif, the wife of Abu Saif.” (HR Bukhari and Muslim)

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6. The rules of mahram in breastfeeding

Breastfeeding to women (other mothers) is associated with the mahram. Where this mahram means a baby given breast milk outside her biological mother, it means that the mother is the mother of the law and the law is illegal for her to marry. Read more about The Boundary of Male Awrah in Islam

The mahram rule in this breastfeeding is if the baby drinks milk at least 3 times of the suction. Here is the following hadith.

From Umm Fadhl Saying that “A rural Arab came to the Prophet who was then in my house, then the man said,” O Prophet! I have a wife, then I married again. Then my wife, who believes that she once nursed my young wife on one or two occasions? “The Prophet (s) said:” Once a suction and two suction does not make a mahram.” (Muslim and Ahmad)

7. Illegal marry because of breastfeeding

In the previous point, it has been explained that mothers (other women) who give milk to babies are illegal to marry. This statement has been written in one of the following Quranic verses.

“Forbidden unto you are your mothers, and your daughters, and your sisters, and your father’s sisters, and your mother’s sisters, and your brother’s daughters and your sister’s daughters, and your foster-mothers, and your foster-sisters, and your mothers-in-law, and your step-daughters who are under your protection (born) of your women unto whom ye have gone in –


but if ye have not gone in unto them, then it is no sin for you (to marry their daughters) – and the wives of your sons who (spring) from your own loins. And (it is forbidden unto you) that ye should have two sisters together, except what hath already happened (of that nature) in the past. Lo! Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful.” (Verse 4:23)


8. Only breastfeeding creates the relationship of Mahram

At one of the Prophet’s hadith also mentioned that it is only a breastfeeding that can create a relationship from Mahram. The following is a hadith that states this.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said; “The only breastfeeding that creates the relationship of Mahram (unmarriageable relatives) is that which fully satisfies the stomach and takes place before weaning (i.e. during the two-year-suckling period).” (Bukhari and Muslim)

9. The Prohibition of breastfeeding related to the issue of male

If the baby gets milk from another mother (outside the biological mother), the baby also gets the guidance from the outside of biological father too. The following is one of the stories in the hadith narrated by ‘A’isha (Allah be pleased with her).

“By Allah, I would not permit Aflah unless I have solicited the opinion of Allah’s Messenger for Abu Qulais has not sucked me, but his wife has given me suck. ‘A’isha’ (Allah be pleased with her) said: When Allah’s Messenger entered, I said: Allah’s Messenger, Aflah is the brother of Abu’l-Qulais; he came to me to seek my permission for entering (the house). I did not like the idea of granting him permission until I had solicited your opinion.


Thereupon Allah’s Apostle said: Grant him permission. ‘Urwa said it was on account of this that ‘A’isha used to say. What is unlawful by reason of consanguinity is unlawful by reason of fosterage.” (Muslim)

10. The daughter of one’s brother through breastfeeding is forbidden in marriage

In another hadith also mentions that the daughter of a brother through breastfeeding is forbidden to marry in Islam. Here is the following hadith.

Ibn Abbas (Allah be pleased with them), it was proposed that he (the Holy Prophet) be married to the daughter of Hamza, whereupon he said;

“She is not lawful for me for she is the daughter of my foster-brother, and that is unlawful by reason of fosterage what is unlawful by reason of genealogy”. (Muslim)

11. Breastfeeding an adult

Breastfeeding is not just for babies but sometimes for adults. How does Islam respond to breastfeeding in adults? Below is a hadith that explains the Islamic view on this subject.

‘A’isha (Allah be pleased with her) reported that Salim, the freed slave of Abu Hadhaifa, lived with him and his family in their house. She (i. e. the daughter of Suhail came to Allah’s Apostle SAW and said;

“Salim has attained (puberty) as men attain, and he understands what they understand, and he enters our house freely, I, however, perceive that something (rankles) in the heart of Abu Hudhaifa, whereupon Allah’s Apostle SAW said to her: ‘Suckle him and you would become unlawful for him, and (the rankling) which Abu Hudhaifa feels in his heart will disappear.’ She returned and said: ‘So I sucked him, and what (was there) in the heart of Abu Hudhaifa disappeared.’” (Muslim)

12. Breastfeeding can change the habit

A baby who is milked by a woman (another mother) must be a good woman. The reason, the behavior of women (other mothers) will affect the baby’s behavior. Read more about Quran Verses of Respecting Parents

Below is a hadith narrated by Muslims,

“My son Ibrahim died at the age of breastfeeding (the source of his food was milk) and in heaven, he had two breastmilk who would complete his breastfeeding.” (Muslim)

13. As a form of parental concern

A mother who takes care of her baby for nine months and nursing her child for two years. This is a mother’s concern for her child. Here is a verse of Quranic below.

“And We have enjoined upon man concerning his partners – His mother beareth him in weakness upon weakness, and his weaning is in two years – Give thanks unto Me and unto thy parents. Unto Me is the journeying”. (Verse 31:14)

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14. Important of breastfeeding than others milk

Prophet Musa AS was one of the prophets who in his childhood was cared for by other women. However, the little Moses prophet at the age of under 2 years of the prophet Moses was still getting the mother’s milk from his biological mother. In the Quranic verse, Allah forbade him to suck (breastfeeding) him on another woman. Here Allah says in the Quran.

“And We inspired the mother of Moses, saying: Suckle him and, when thou fearest for him, then cast him into the river and fear not nor grieve. Lo! We shall bring him back unto thee and shall make him (one) of Our messengers.” (Verse 28:7)

15. Milk is better than other foods

The Prophet SAW narrated in hadith, that no food is better than milk (breastfeeding) . Below is a hadith narrated by Rasulullah SAW.

“For a child, there is no milk better than the milk of the mother.” (Mustadrak al-Wasail vol 15, page 156)

16. Milk cannot take place the other food

The Prophet SAW said that breast milk is the best food and drink for babies. Breast milk (breastfeeding) cannot be replaced with other foods. This important of breastfeeding mention in Quranic verse, like the below here.

“And his gestation and weaning take thirty months.” (Verses 46:15)

17. Provide breast milk with both

In one of the hadith, it is said that in breastfeeding the baby should be done with both breasts. Below here is the following hadith.

Narrated from Imam As-Sadiq (as):

“Oh Mother of Isĥāq, don’t feed the child from just one breast, but feed on both, as one is the substitute for food, and the other is a substitute for water.” (Al-Kafi vol 5 page 40 no. 2)

18. The benefits of breastfeeding with both breasts

Prophet Muhammad SAW said in his hadith that it is advisable to breastfeed with both breasts have the benefits. The benefit is the nutrition that baby needs, that is food and water. Below here is the following hadith.

“Allah (SWT) has placed the sustenance (rizq) of the child in the two breasts of the mother, in one is his water, and in the other his food.” 
(Wasail ash-Shi-a vol 21, page 453)

19. Breastfeeding can make unlawful

In Islam, there is a rule that can make breastfeeding unlawful. Breastfeeding can become unlawful if it is unlawful through the birth. Below is the following hadith.

‘A’isha (Allah be pleased with her) reported Allah’s Messenger SAW was saying; “What becomes unlawful through breastfeeding is that which becomes unlawful through birth.” (Muslim)

20. The story of a woman who commits adultery

There is a story at the time of the Messenger of Allah that there is a woman who came and said that the woman had committed adultery and became pregnant. This story gives the lesson that a baby remains and must have the right to be given breast milk, although, in the end, the mother will receive the punishment. Below is the hadith.

It is mentioned in al-Muwatta’ of Imam Malik from Yaqub ibn Zayd ibn Talha from his father Zayd ibn Talha that Abdullah ibn Abi Mulayka informed him that a woman came to the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu alaihi Wa Sallam), and informed him that she had committed adultery and was pregnant. The Messenger of Allah said to her, “Go away until you give birth.”


When she had given birth, she came to him. The Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu alaihi Wa Sallam) then said to her, “Go away until you have sucked and weaned the baby.” When she had weaned the baby, she came to him. He said, “Go and entrust the baby to someone.” she entrusted the baby to someone and then came to him. He gave the order and she was to be stoned.”  (Muwatta’ of Imam Malik Book)

Breastfeeding is one of the most important and necessary things for newborns to support their growth. Breastfeeding rules have been clearly painted on the Quran and hadith. Hopefully, the 20 Islamic Rules for breastfeeding can be a useful science, especially for the Muslim women wherever you are.

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