In Surah Baqarah (2) Allah says:

Mothers may breastfeed their children two complete years for whoever wishes to complete the nursing [period]. Upon the father is the mothers' provision and their clothing according to what is acceptable. No person is charged with more than his capacity. No mother should be harmed through her child, and no father through his child. And upon the [father's] heir is [a duty] like that [of the father]. And if they both desire weaning through mutual consent from both of them and consultation, there is no blame upon either of them. And if you wish to have your children nursed by a substitute, there is no blame upon you as long as you give payment according to what is acceptable. And fear Allah and know that Allah is Seeing of what you do.
Quran 2:233

But with the rise of powdered infant milk, I see many mothers putting their babies on the bottle, not for any medical reason but just for the sake of vanity.

Besides the fact that the child is not getting natural nutrients through milk from it's mother or foster-mother (as in the case of Prophet Muhammad), what view does the Islamic Shariah hold?

Can a mother forego her duty to breastfeed her baby without any valid medical reason? Is breastfeeding optional in Islam?

  • It is wajib as long as the infant requires it and it is within the stipulated time period. There is difference of opinion on whether it is wajib on the mother or the father (to arrange it), and even where it is wajib on the mother there are reasons other than medical where a mother can forego it (see 65:6).
    – UmH
    Dec 17, 2018 at 16:56
  • @UmH why is it wajib and how is this wajib defined? As far as I understand feeding and provision is a due on the husband/father while the verses I have in mind sound rather like optional for the mother.
    – Medi1Saif
    Dec 17, 2018 at 18:23
  • 2
    @Medi1Saif For whom are you asking? Wajib on the father, wajib on the mother, or wajib in general?
    – UmH
    Dec 17, 2018 at 18:32
  • @UmH According to the ayah (65:6) you shared, a foster mother should be arranged only if there is a discord between the parents and/or if the mother has passed away. Is my understanding correct?
    – Ahmed
    Dec 18, 2018 at 4:18

2 Answers 2


Yes, if the infant needs to be breastfed then breast milk must be provided for him.

It says in al-Mawsoo’ah al-Fiqhiyyah (22/239): There is no difference of opinion among the fuqaha’ that it is obligatory to breastfeed an infant so long as he needs that and he is at the age for breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding is a proven right of the infant, according to the rulings of sharee’ah, and must be provided for him by the one whose duty it is to do so. The fuqaha’ clearly stated that breastfeeding is the right of the child.

Source: IslamQA

  • Please mark your quotations as such to distinguish them from your own words.
    – Medi1Saif
    Apr 27, 2022 at 18:48
  • Can you check if this is correct format?
    – Riyaz
    Apr 27, 2022 at 19:02
  • Please note that we expect answers to be mainly written in your own words. We don't want to be a copy of islamqa or any other fatwa site.
    – Medi1Saif
    Apr 27, 2022 at 21:07
  • And why is that? We are not Mufti. We can only rely on scholars. These questions aren’t new. They have been asked during the past 1400 years. You just need to take the right rulings.
    – Riyaz
    Apr 27, 2022 at 22:27
  • We are not a fatwa site! See on our meta here, here, here and here. And check the site scope.
    – Medi1Saif
    Apr 28, 2022 at 7:22

Is breastfeeding optional in Islam? Undoubtedly, breast milk is the best food for a baby in the first months of its birth, and feeding the baby with this milk in the first two years of life is one of the blessings that God has bestowed on human beings. And planning has processed this important issue and calls on parents, especially mothers, not to withhold this God-given blessing from their child; Because breast milk is a unique and complete food that has a valuable and irreplaceable role in promoting mental health, physical growth, optimal development of children and increasing emotional relationships in society. Breastfeeding for two years has been emphasized by the mother in several verses of the Holy Quran (repeated more than 10 times).

Ref: https://www.sid.ir/fa/journal/ViewPaper.aspx?ID=526803

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