Friday | 01 March 2024 | 20 Shabaan 1445

Fatwa Answer

Question ID: 1751 Category: Miscellaneous
What does islam say about breastfeeding?

Assalamualaikum wr wb

I pray that Allah swt allows you to answer my questions. Please inform what is the ruling regarding a mother nursing her baby in islam?

Is it fard to exclusively nurse till 2 years? During this time are solids allowed? Should there be mutual consent from both mother and father when solids are introduced? What happens if the father feeds the baby without the mother knowing? Will there be sin upon the mother?

If the mothers co-wife has milk flowing while her youngest child is at the age of 5, is she allowed to be a wet nurse for a baby even if the mother is providing adequate milk? Is she allowed to nurse the baby with the fathers approval only?

If a woman falls pregnant during the time she is nursing is she allowed to continue nursing her baby to reach that 2 year mark? What happens if within those two years she also delivers the second baby? Does she continue nursing the first baby or is that milk exclusive to the second child? 

بسم اللہ الرحمٰن الرحیم

:الجواب وباللہ التوفیق

1. The period of nursing a child is two years. Breastfeeding is a moral duty of the mother.This does not mean that breastfeeding is obligatory up to the age of two years, and the child cannot be weaned in less than two years. Rather, it means that most children can be breastfed up to this age, and not beyond. 

In case there is no one to breastfeed other than the mother or if the child does not drink anyone else's milk, then it is obligatory on the mother to breastfeed her child. But If the wife does not want to breastfeed due to some excuse or compulsion, then the husband cannot force her to breastfeed. And if she does not breastfeed without any excuse but just because of stubbornness and obstinacy, that amounts to a sin. On the contrary, if the wife wishes to breastfeed her child, the husband cannot force her to wean off the child before completing the two-year period. 

2. If weaning is done prior to two years, by mutual consultation or the child stops drinking mother’s milk and alternative food is given to the child, it is permissible to do so. 

3. Consent and consultation of the mother and father while giving other foods is based on compassion towards the child. The purpose is ensuring the child’s health is not compromised. But if the child is being harmed, it is important to act in favor of child without permission of each other.

4. If the father decides to have the child breastfed by another woman without the mother’s permission, it is allowed for him, and there is no sin on the mother. But on the contrary, it is “makruh” for a woman to have her child breastfed by another woman without the permission of her husband. 

5. If the father wants to have his child breastfed by the child’s stepmother, he is allowed to do so, and the mother's permission is not necessary. When a woman other than the mother is required to breastfeed the child based on certain circumstances, then this situation should be well remembered, and other relatives should also be informed about the lady who breastfed the child. Rather, it is important to document it, so that later in age, there is no mistake in relationships due to ignorance. 

6. If a woman is pregnant and wants to breastfeed the baby during that time, she can do so. After giving birth, she can breastfeed the first child along with this newborn if the mother is healthy and has sufficient milk quantity. The milk will not be reserved only for the second child. 

Above principles are based on Shariah Rules and moral obligations. It should be kept in mind that soundness of relationships is not only governed by rules and principles but through good moral behavior, and obligingness. Therefore, if the life is lived with mutual trust and respect, being considerate of each other's nature, feelings, and temperament, then there will be comfort and peace between the spouses. 

 ﴿ وَالْوَالِدَاتُ يُرْضِعْنَ أَوْلَادَهُنَّ حَوْلَيْنِ كَامِلَيْنِ ۖ لِمَنْ أَرَادَ أَن يُتِمَّ الرَّضَاعَةَ ۚ وَعَلَى الْمَوْلُودِ لَهُ رِزْقُهُنَّ وَكِسْوَتُهُنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ ۚ لَا تُكَلَّفُ نَفْسٌ إِلَّا وُسْعَهَا ۚ لَا تُضَارَّ وَالِدَةٌ بِوَلَدِهَا وَلَا مَوْلُودٌ لَّهُ بِوَلَدِهِ ۚ وَعَلَى الْوَارِثِ مِثْلُ ذَٰلِكَ  فَإِنْ أَرَادَا فِصَالًا عَن تَرَاضٍ مِّنْهُمَا وَتَشَاوُرٍ فَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْهِمَا ۗ وَإِنْ أَرَدتُّمْ أَن تَسْتَرْضِعُوا أَوْلَادَكُمْ فَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْكُمْ إِذَا سَلَّمْتُم مَّا آتَيْتُم بِالْمَعْرُوفِ  وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ بَصِيرٌ ( البقرة : 233)

والواجب علی النساء أن لا یرضعن کل صبي من غیر ضرورۃٍ ، وإذا أرضعن فلیحفظن ذٰلک ولیشہرنہ ویکتبنہ احتیاطًا ۔ ( شامي ۴ ؍ ۲۹۶ )

وفي الخانیۃ من الحظر والإباحۃ : امرأۃ ترضع صیبًا من غیر إذن زوجہا یکرہ لہا ذٰلک ، إلا إذا خافت ہلاک الرضیع ، فحینئذ لا بأس بہ ۔ وینبغي أن یکون واجبًا علیہا عند خوف الہلاک إحیائً للنفس ۔ ( البحر الرائق ۳ ؍ ۲۲۲)

فتاویٰ شامیں ہے ’’ویکرہ للمرأۃ ان ترضع صبیا بلا اذن زوجھا الا اذا خافت ھلاکہ (فتاویٰ محمودیہ:۱۳؍ ۶۲۱) 

وللأب إجبار أمتہ علیٰ فطام ولدہا منہ قبل الحولین إن لم یضرہ الفطام ، ولیس لہ ذٰلک یعني الإجبار مع زوجتہ الحرۃ قبلہا ؛ لأن حق التربیۃ لہا ۔ ( شامي ۴ ؍ ۲۹۵)

وتؤمر بہ دیانۃ؛ لأنہ من باب الاستخدام، وہو واجب علیہا إلی قولہ: والأصح أنہا تجبر عند الکل وجزم بہ في الہدایۃ، وفي الخانیۃ وعلیہ الفتوی، وقولہ وفي الخانیۃ: وإن لم یکن للأب ولا للولد الصغیر مال تجبر الأم علی الإرضاع عند الکل۔ (البحرالرائق، کتاب الطلاق، باب النفقۃ، زکریا ۴/ ۳۴۲،)

فقط واللہ اعلم بالصواب