Blac Chyna has been on the news a lot lately for losing 20+ pounds two weeks after giving birth to her baby, Dream.
Many people wondered if she got surgery, but she shut those comments down by telling her followers and fans that one reason she lost the weight was because of breastfeeding and pumping breast milk—good for her for breastfeeding her baby and encouraging breastfeeding!
There are many incidents that have gone viral on social media where women were shamed for breastfeeding in public. But many celebrities have also been encouraging breastfeeding and have been vocal about it, like Alyssa Milano.
Breastfeeding is not always easy and requires a lot of sacrifice and commitment. For example, a breastfeeding mom needs to constantly, and painfully, nurse in the first couple of months to help build her supply.
So what does Islam say about breastfeeding? We all have read research about the benefits of breastfeeding, including lower SIDS risk for the baby and lowers cancer risk for mother and yes, sometimes weight loss.
The Quran highly encourages breastfeeding:
“Mothers shall breastfeed their children for two whole years, for those who wish to complete the term” (2:233).
It is recommended to breastfeed for two years in Islam if the mother is able to. The Quran mentions breastfeeding again along with childbirth and pregnancy:
“His mother carried him with hardship, and gave birth to him in hardship. And the carrying of the child to his weaning is a period of thirty months” (46:15).
Many mothers experience low supply, latch issues with the baby and some find it difficult to keep up with pumping if they’re working full-time, so it is indeed a struggle at times and it is OK to wean earlier.
“If they both (parents) decide on weaning, by mutual consent, and after due consultation, there is no blame on them” (2:233).
Further, during the prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) time, wet nurses or foster-mothers were common. Nowadays some moms who cannot breastfeed will look for donated breastmilk from mothers who overproduce.
“And if you decide on a foster-mother for your offspring, there is no blame on you, provided you pay (the foster-mother) what you offered, on equitable terms” (2:233).
Many Muslim women may find it embarrassing to nurse in public, especially if they wear hijab. There are tons of cute cover-ups nowadays to use, or heck, just wear a large hijab. Many mothers nurse while wearing their baby in a baby carrier or sling, as well. In Muslim countries, many women in hijab will nurse their child in public with a cover or with a long hijab, even in conservative countries like Egypt.
Breastfeeding in public, especially in the U.S., may offend bystanders, so if anyone is offended, simply tell them to turn the other way, and there’s no need to explain yourself. When your baby is hungry, he or she has to eat.
If you want to try to breastfeed after delivering your baby, go for it! Find a supportive network, read about it and don’t get discouraged if you run into problems. If you try and are unable to breastfeed, it is OK and don’t beat yourself up about it. You may not lose 23 pounds in two weeks like Blac Chyna, but at least your baby is fed and happy!