[From the Al-Ibaanah publication: “Raising Children in Light of the Qur’aan and Sunnah” by ‘Abdus-Salaam As-Sulaymaan. The book was introduced and commended by Shaikh Saalih Al-Fawzaan.]
Afterward, the mother should focus on breastfeeding the newborn child until the age of weaning.
Natural milk from the mother has a huge effect in the health and upbringing of a child.Allah instructs the mothers to breastfeed their children for two complete years.This is for those wish to complete the period of breastfeeding. Allah says:
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
“The mothers shall give suck to their children for two whole years (that is) for those (parents) who desire to complete the term of suckling.”
[Surah Al-Baqarah: 233]
The reason for this is because the infant senses the affection of the mother while breastfeeding and he is in need of that.
Modern medicine has confirmed that there is a high percentage rate of disease and death for those children that were fed in their infancy with processed milk. Natural milk is also advantageous to the mother’s health in terms of mending the uterus after delivery and her digestive system.
Islam also encourages it for it permits the breastfeeding mother to break her fast in Ramadhan if the fast will have an effect on her breastfeeding.
Perhaps one of the reasons why many children are not affectionately attached to their mothers and why there is such widespread disobedience of them in these times is due to the lack of using natural milk and the high use of processed milk.
Since breastfeeding has such an effect on the child being breastfed, the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) prohibited Muslims from employing a dumb woman for the purposing of breastfeeding one’s child.
Ibn Qaasim, may Allah have mercy on him, said in Haashiyat-ur-Rawd commenting on this hadeeth: “This is since breastfeeding has an effect on an individual’s nature.”Then he said: “Al-Qaadee mentioned that whoever is breastfed from a stupid woman, the child too will come out being stupid. And whoever is breastfed from a woman with bad manners, it will pass onto him. And whoever is breastfed from an animal, he will come out senseless, like an animal.”
Ibn Qudaamah, may Allah have mercy on him, said in al-Mughnee: “It is said:‘Breastfeeding changes personalities.’”
So how much more so for those who are fed formula milk which one does not even know the source from where it came or who processed it?
By ‘Abdus-Salaam bin ‘Abdillaah As-Sulaymaan
Source: Tarbiyat-ul-Awlaad fee Daw’-il-Kitaabi was-Sunnah (pg. 33-34)