[Q-ID0602] Can we give formula milk to a child instead of breastfeeding?


What do the scholars of the Dīn and muftīs of the Sacred Law state regarding the following issue: Some women give formula milk instead of breastfeeding – is this permissible. What is the ruling regarding this; is it not wājib for them to breastfeed their children?

Questioner: A sister from UK


بسم اللہ الرحمن الرحیم
الجواب بعون الملک الوھاب اللھم ھدایۃ الحق والصواب

It is better that women actually give their own milk to their children, though they are allowed to give bottled milk; it is not wājib for women to breastfeed their children because ensuring milk is available is the responsibility of the father. However, if the child is not drinking any other milk, then in this case it is necessary for the woman that she breastfeeds the child, as it is necessary to save the child from starving.

Just as it is stated in the renowned Hanafī book of Fiqh: al-Hidāyah,

“فَإِنْ كَانَ الصَّغِيرُ رَضِيعًا فَلَيْسَ عَلَى أُمِّهِ أَنْ تُرْضِعَهُ۔۔۔ وَذَلِكَ إذَا كَانَ يُوجَدُ مَنْ تُرْضِعُهُ، أَمَّا إذَا كَانَ لَا تُوجَدُ مَنْ تُرْضِعُهُ تُجْبَرُ الْأُمُّ عَلَى الْإِرْضَاعِ صِيَانَةً لِلصَّبِيِّ عَنْ الضَّيَاعِ”

“If there is an infant, then it is not wājib for the mother to breastfeed it; this is when there is another to feed it. When there isn’t another to feed it, then the mother is compelled to feed the infant so that it is saved from starvation.”

[al-Hidāyah, vol 4, pg 412]

واللہ تعالی اعلم ورسولہ اعلم صلی اللہ علیہ وآلہ وسلم
کتبہ ابو الحسن محمد قاسم ضیاء قادری

Answered by Mufti Qasim Zia al-Qadri
Translated by Haider Ali

Read the original Urdu answer here:

Also see:

[Q-ID0295] Till what age can a mother breastfeed her child?

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