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Monday, January 09, 2006The Yemen Times is running an article series right now that explores what Islamic Law has to say about things like breastfeeding. It makes for interesting reading whether you are a practicing Muslim or not.
From the article:
Islam prescribed breastfeeding and commanded children do so until they attain full power and strength, as breastfeeding greatly impacts children's growth and development. Allah gave the required time period for breastfeeding. He said, “The mothers shall give suckling to their children for two whole years.” (Al-Baqarah: 233)
Note the two whole years comment. I thought this was interesting as it fits with the time periods of developing countries, but is considered "extended" by most within the western world. I can't say that the comment is surprising though as most of the "old" religions like Judism, Christianity and Islam teach positively about the act of nursing a child.
The article goes on to say:
If the mother is not divorced, she should breastfeed her child as a religious obligation, not because she is the natural mother. If she is divorced, then nursing is dealt with as nafaqah (financial support), as established in the Shari`ah. Nafaqah of the child is the father's responsibility. The father must give the mother compensation for her nursing. If she refuses to nurse, then it is incumbent upon the father to find and hire the child a wet-nurse. However, scholars make it mandatory upon the mother to nurse her child if the child refuses nursing by any other or if the father doesn't have sufficient funds to hire a wet-nurse.
The article goes on to discuss the rights of wet-nurses, the decision to wean and several other issues related to child-rearing.
I must admit, this has me a little curious to do some digging into other religions to see what they teach about breastfeeding. I've already done some posting on things from the Christian perspective, but I've never done much researching apart from that. May have to see what I can dig up.