by Fudia Muhammad
One would be hard pressed in 2017 to find anyone who would attempt to argue against the overwhelming health and nutritional benefits of breastfeeding for both mother and baby when compared to any of the most popular manufactured baby formulas. Most reputable organizations in the health industry including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Academy of Pediatrics, La Leche League and the Surgeon General all advocate and promote human milk as the best source of nutrition for infants. In fact, the companies that produce baby formulas also bear witness to this truth! Similac, for instance, states on its website, “We believe that breast milk is the best nutrition for babies.” Nestlé, the parent company of Gerber, states on Gerber’s website – “Nestlé believes breastfeeding offers the best possible start for babies, followed by inclusion of developmental, stage-appropriate feeding choices.”
The list of advantages is vast; but even more amazing is that these are only the benefits we are aware of – there are many more yet to be realized! And still, we would argue that the many health benefits discovered by these doctors, chemists, nutritionists and researchers are yet just a portion of the overall picture.
The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan said, “Anyone who takes a baby from the breast of its mother is committing a crime against humanity.” He also stated, “When baby nurses from mother’s breast, there is satisfaction for the child, not only in the stomach, but in the mind. As the baby is physically fed, the act of nursing produces a chemical reaction in the brain of the child, resulting in contentment…When the mother has peace of mind, this is transferred to the child through the milk…Milk is capable of being the conduit of security or fear, due to the mental condition of the giver” (Building the Will, Part IV).
One of the definitions of the word ‘divine’ is “of, relating to, or proceeding directly from God or a god” (Merriam-Webster). Mother’s milk is indeed divine. It is not just the best source of nutrition for the baby, but it is the PERFECT food for the baby; created, formulated and designed by He who is Perfect, Allah (God).
Several times in the Holy Qur’an Allah (God) guides the woman to suckle (nurse) her baby for two whole years. He is the Best Knower and with His infinite wisdom, He has created a different combination of ingredients in each mother’s milk that is absolutely perfect for her child. Though similar, no mother has the same breastmilk as the next. And no mother produces the exact same milk pregnancy after pregnancy. That’s right; breastmilk is different for each child that comes from the same mother. It is formulated and designed by Allah (God) perfectly for that specific baby, providing him/her with the specific recipe he/she needs to develop – not only the body, but the mind and spirit. This gives the baby the best start on the road to health and toward finding and fulfilling his/her divine purpose in life.
Breastmilk changes DAILY, along with the rapidly developing body and mind of the baby. This simply cannot be replicated in baby formulas; some of which cover a span of birth to twelve months using the same ingredients. Now, you do not have to be a mother to know that there is a huge difference between a newborn baby and a twelve-month old. This can result in nutritional deficiencies and vulnerability to sickness and disease. It can also lead to spiritual and mental frailty.
In How to Eat to Live, The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad stated that the reason we have such a great percentage of delinquency among minors is because the child is not fed from his mother’s breast. He also wrote, “A baby nursed from its mother’s breast will love its mother more than the baby fed from the bottle. He loves the bottle…” (How To Eat To Live, Book Two). So sometimes, the baby does not even care if the mother is around as long as the bottle is there, since he is bonded to the bottle and not human life. At the earliest age, we are in-fact bonding our children to things instead of life when we deprive them of mother’s divine milk. Our natural love, reverence and respect for humanity can be reinforced through mother’s milk and the bond of nursing. This makes it difficult, as we get older, to harm another human being because from infancy we are bonded to life and not material possessions.
The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan teaches us that there is a difficulty factor attached to everything of value; the greater the value, the greater the difficulty. How valuable are our children? Yes, making the decision to breastfeed can be a challenge and requires the mother to make certain sacrifices, but every time we follow God, the reward is immeasurable!
(Sister Fudia Muhammad is a member of Muhammad Mosque No. 64 in Austin, Texas. She is married to Student Minister Robert L. Muhammad and they have been blessed with four children. Sister Fudia holds a Master’s degree in Education – she is a writer, an educator and an advocate for God-centered child-rearing.)
[Note: This article first appeared in The Final Call newspaper in June 2013. It has been slightly modified by the author in order to represent current statistics and data.]