Nursing In Front of a 4 Year Old
  • Question:

    Is it OK for a mother to breastfeed her newborn baby in front of her elder son of 3-5 years of age?

    Assalamu Alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh

    Thank you for your question.

    Firstly I would like to congratulate you on the birth of your baby girl. May Allah (swt) make her a coolness to your eyes and may her arrival be the means of everlasting joy to you and your family.

    With regards to breastfeeding / nursing the newborn child in front of her elder brother 3-5 yrs old, it is best to feed the child in privacy. My reason for this is as follows:

    The intelligence level and understanding of this age shows great inquisitiveness. Being a mother myself, it is well known that sometimes there are questions posed by young children that can catch parents off guard. At that spur of the moment, the best answer may not come to mind immediately.

    According to a study by a family science specialist, the brain of a 3-5 year old child is very inquisitive and works to find answers for everything it observes and hears. I quote from the research article; "By the time a child is 3 years old, a baby's brain has formed about 1,000 trillion connections — about twice as many as adults have. A baby's brain is superdense and will stay that way throughout the first decade of life" (For full article, see: www.ag.ndsu.edu/pubs/yf/famsci/fs609w.htm)

    If the situation does not permit for enclosed privacy, then a cape or blanket should be used which would completely cover the awrah (private areas of the body). A special cape has actually been designed for this specific need which is readily available in mainstream stores at malls and market places.

    Our religion is a religion of modesty and morality. This is why we should make all efforts to instill high moral traits in our families from a very young age.

    The Prophet of Islam, Muhammad (pbuh) has stated, "Iman has sixty odd or seventy odd branches. The uppermost of all these is the Testimony of Faith: `La ilaha illallah' (there is no true god except Allah) while the least of them is the removal of harmful objects from the road. And modesty is a branch of Iman.'' (Bukhari and Muslim).

    "Shyness/ modesty does not bring anything except good.'' (Bukhari and Muslim)

    And Allah knows best.

    Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Badat
    Hadith of the Day Imam
    Imam of the Islamic Foundation of Toronto and Director of Mathabah institute
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