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Posted By Topic: Breastfeeding

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20-10-2009 @ 12:57 AM    Notify Admin about this post
Umm Maryam Ameenah bint Sookdeo (London)
Posts: 5
Joined: Oct 2009
Assalamu Alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh,

I have a question that I pray someone can answer:

Q. When do you start giving your baby food? Is it after the two year breastfeeding period or after 6 months as recommended by the World Health Organisation?

(N.B Previously the WHO advised mothers to feed at 4 months, then after their tests they concluded 6 months, so who knows what they'll say in the future?!)

If it is after 6 months or when the baby starts growing teeth then I would like something clear to state that from the Quran/Sunnah.

I am not convinced that mothers should feed baby early as Allah says that it is a 2 year period and After that, then Wean the baby.

I need to know ASAP as my baby is 7 months and I am getting pressure from all sides to start weaning; regardless of the fact that baby is growing well and not showing signs of extra hunger.

And Allah knows best.

Brakallahu feek

23-10-2009 @ 11:12 PM    Notify Admin about this post
Abul-'Abbaas Moosaa ibn John Richardson (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
Posts: 1280
Joined: Sep 2002
Wa 'alaykumus-salaamu wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuh.  You may begin giving the baby other sources of nutrition along with breastmilk whenever you want.  There is nothing in our Religion preventing this.  In fact, the Messenger of Allaah used to rub the juices of a chewed date upon the pallete of newborn babies in a technique called "tahneek".  And Allaah knows best.

Moosaa ibn John Richardson

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25-10-2009 @ 12:01 PM    Notify Admin about this post
Saadia bint Hussain (UK)
Posts: 4
Joined: Oct 2009
wa alaikum asalaam wa Rahmatullaah

Speaking as a Paediatric Nurse and a trainee Health Visitor, Sis I would advise you to start weaning asap. Regarding WHO guidelines - it always changes because clinical practise has to be evidence-based, so when a new bit of research has been done the guidelines change to comply with the best opinion/method out there. Weaning was as early as 3/4months many years ago, now it's advised at 6months but it WILL change again in the near future. There's 2 major research trials going on at the moment at St.Thomas' Hospital, London; one where they're looking at preventing Peanut Allergies in children by feeding them peanuts as young as 4months (I worked on this Study), and the second study is looking at prevention of childhood allergies by introducing weaning at 3 months. Both trials will go on for the next few years so will be a while before research findings are published. So for now, we go by the current WHO guidelines of breastfeeding up to 2years and weaning at 6 months.

It's good you want to continue breastfeeding up to the 2years, as this is the Sunnah and most beneficial for the baby, but it is not wise to EXCLUSIVELY breastfeed after 6 months. The reason being that the baby cannot obtain all its nutritional sources from your breastmilk alone, or from formula milk for that matter. Only a small amount of what you eat in your diet is passed onto your baby via breastfeeding - the rest of the essential nutrients need to be gained from his/her diet. You say the baby is healthy - mashaa'Allaah, but he/she is healthy NOW, if you delay weaning further, the risks are multiplied - development of rickets, anaemia, lethargy. Not to mention speech and language delay - there's a period of between 7-9months whereby if the child hasn't been introduced to 'lumpy' foods (no longer pureed), they show signs of speech and language delay later, as the jaw muscles haven't been used like they should. You need to get your child used to pureed food first before he can go onto 'lumps', so you really shouldn't delay it further.

Sorry for the long rant, but it's because I've seen firsthand the impact on children's health and social well-being as a result of delayed weaning / inappropriate weaning. Follow the Sunnah by all means, but at the same time recognise Allaah (subhaanahu wa ta'ala) has given us the gift of medical science, the hikmah is there. And I don't mean that rudely. Just start off by pureeing some fruit or veg in a blender to a smooth consistency. Stick to fruit and vegetables at first, then later you can build up to meat etc. Main things to remember is NO salt or sugar to be added. They also advise the child shouldn't have honey until a year old, but we know it to be the Sunnah, so don't give it too regularly if you do use it. Get in contact with your Health Visitor, contact details will be in the front page of your child's Red Book. They often do weaning workshops to help get you started, they're all free so take advantage of it. There's a big government drive to encourage breastfeeding so they'll support you in juggling breastfeeding alongside weaning. Once you get started you'll be fine Inshaa'Allaah.

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