Cupids Health

Saudi Birth Story: Birth is Inherently Safe


In the last seven articles we explored the Mother’s Role to maximize the many safety nets that Allah (SWT) has built into the childrearing year, including the First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth of ten such safety nets we will discuss in this series. This time we’ll talk about breastfeeding.
Best Way to Feed

In fact, it is the simplest, cheapest, and safest way to feed our babies. Nothing can truly compare to this perfectly created fluid that changes composition and quantity in direct response to our baby’s current needs, as Allah is the best of all Creators. Studies even show that in the first eight weeks both breastfeeding and bottle feeding require the same amount of effort; however, from this point onwards, breastfeeding is far easier than bottle feeding.

Colostrum

The first milk produced is called “colostrum,” and is often referred to as “liquid gold” for its thick golden consistency, small amount, and amazing properties.

  • Perfect Amount – The newborn’s stomach is incredibly small, in fact the size of a small marble or pea at birth. It cannot accept much content in the first week, during which time the mother produces colostrum in small amounts, just perfect for the baby’s needs. Sadly, in some cultures babies are force fed formula at this time, which distends the stomach and creates a cycle of over eating and obesity for the rest of the child’s life. 
  • Laxative – The newborn’s first bowel movements are called meconium. This is a thick and sticky tar-like substance that is very dark in color. This first milk, colostrum, is a laxative that helps to clear the meconium. In fact, this is why the newborn will likely have a poopy diaper with each change in the first week, until the mother’s mature milk comes in, which will turn the poo to a mustard-yellow color and its frequency will reduce.
  • Antibodies and Immunity – The colostrum is considered the baby’s first vaccine. It is full of antibodies that are specific to the mother’s environment and support development of the baby’s immune system, relative to its own environment, subhan’Alalh (glory to God). The baby benefits so much from receiving this first milk from mother and it should never be substituted with suboptimal formula. 

More than Nutrition

Breastfeeding serves more than nutritional needs. It is a bonding and nurturing activity between the mother and child that comforts the baby and builds a close relationship. It also gives the baby a sense of safety and security in knowing that his or her needs will be met. Breastmilk has also been found to have anesthetic properties, which explains why mother’s instinct is to put baby to the breast when they’ve had a bump or bang and are crying from minor pains. Breastfeeding also helps baby to regulate heartbeat and temperature as they are close to mother’s chest and begin to be in rhythm with her vital signs. As discussed above, the immunologic properties continue from colostrum to mature milk. In fact, when babies are starting to explore the world and interact with one another, breastmilk is an important protection against illness, so keep breastfeeding for the full two years if you can, which is recommended not only in Qur’an but also by the World Health Organization (WHO). 

“And the
mothers may nurse their children for two whole years,
if they
wish to complete the period of nursing…” 
[Qur’an 2:233] 

Benefits for Mother

Breastfeeding also has benefits for the mother. First of all, nursing right after birth will cause after birth contractions that are vital to shrink the uterus, expel the placenta, and minimize bleeding-thus making it life saving for the mother. Breastfeeding also reduces the mothers risks of breast and ovarian cancers if she breastfeeds at least two years over her lifetime.

Breastfeeding is truly one of the most amazing signs of Allah (SWT)’s greatness and perfect planning, subhan’Allah (glory to God).

“We shall
show them Our signs on the horizons and within themselves
until it
will be obvious to them that it is the Truth. Does your Lord not
suffice,
since He is Witness over all things?!” 
[Qur’an 41:53]



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