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Refusing to nurse, sleep training a child

Fatwaa ID: 1996

Asalaamu alaykum wrwb

Is there any Hadith about the punishment of women who refuse to nurse their babies?
If there is then would it t be permissible to sleep train a child who is under 2 lunar years as this could involve not feeding them at night even if they cry

Jazakallahu khairan

In the Name of Allaah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salaamu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullaahi wa-barakaatuh.

  1. Consider the following Hadith. Rasulullaah ﷺ narrated a dream wherein he was shown various punishments of the Hereafter. Amongst them was,
    فَإِذَا أَنَا بِنِسَاءٍ تَنْهَشُ ثُدِيَّهُنَّ الْحَيَّاتُ، قُلْتُ: مَا بَالُ هَؤُلَاءِ؟ قَالَ: هَؤُلَاءِ يَمْنَعْنَ أَوْلَادَهُنَّ أَلْبَانَهُنَّ
    “I suddenly came across women whose breasts were being bitten by snakes. I asked, ‘What is the matter with them?’ The angel replied, ‘They are those who use to refuse their children their (breast) milk.’.” [Haakim 2837, Ibn Hibbaan 7491, Ibn Khuzaymah 1986]
    It is the moral right of the child to be breastfed by his/her mother. A mother is morally obligated to nurse her infant. This creates a strong bond between the mother and the child. Likewise, it is beneficial for the child in terms of his/her health and growth. In the absence of wet nurses and if the baby does not drink other milk, then it will be legally binding on the mother to breastfeed the child. The Hadith above is applicable in the latter case.
  2. Sleep training, also known as controlled crying, is a set of parental intervention techniques with the end goal of increasing nightly sleep in infants and young children. Parents respond to their infant’s cry at increasing time intervals to allow independent settling. There are many methods to this. The above is permissible provided that it does not harm or negatively impact the baby. One should however consult a reliable upright pediatrician before trying it out. It should be noted that many of the methods may not be morally appropriate, especially with infants.

And Allaah Ta’aala knows best.
Mufti Muajul I. Chowdhury
Darul Iftaa New York

06/06/1445 AH – 12/20/2023 CE | AML1-8650

وصل اللهم وسلم وبارك على سيدنا محمد وعلى ءاله وصحبه أجمعين


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