Breast milk or formula milk

Answered according to Shafi'i Fiqh by

Answered by Shaykh Amjad Rasheed
Translated by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad

Does the husband have the right to decide whether his wife should breastfeed their baby or give it formula milk?

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

If the mother of the child volunteers her milk without demanding payment for it, then [our imams mention] that she has more right [to breastfeed the baby] than any other woman. It can be inferred from this a fortiori that she is given precedence over formula milk and it is not permissible for the husband to prevent her from breastfeeding her child.

Likewise, if she demands the “going price” for breast milk [in return for her breastfeeding the child] and the husband is unable to find another woman who will volunteer her milk without demanding payment, then her husband may not prevent her [from breastfeeding [by giving the baby formula milk instead of her breast milk]. You will find this in detail in the Minhaj and its commentaries such as the Tuhfa.

السؤال : هل للزوج أن يقرِّر ما إذا كانت الزوجةُ سترضع مولودَها رضاعة طبيعية أم أنها سترضعه حليباً اصطناعياً ؟
الجواب : إن تبرعت أمُّ الطفل برضاعته من غير أجرة فهي أحقُّ به من غيرها فضلاً عن اللبن ( الحليب ) الاصطناعي فلا يجوز للزوج منعُها من إرضاع طفلها ، وكذلك لو طلبت أجرةَ المثل ولم يجد الزوجُ امرأةً غيرها تتبرع بالرضاعة فليس للزوج منعها من ذلك ، كما تجد هذا مفصلاً في “المنهاج” وشروحه كـ “التحفة.”

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