Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil
Question: Assalam aleykum,
I am expecting my first child with my wife. Is there anything in the sunnah we need to do leading up to the birth of the baby next month? What do we do when the baby arrives and the days coming after the birth of the baby?
Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us.
Congratulations! May Allah ease your wife’s discomfort in this last stage of her pregnancy and bless her with an easy birth and postpartum recovery.
I recommend that you look up this excellent resource by Ustadh Abdullah Anik Misra: What Acts Are Recommended After Giving Birth To A Child
Preparing for birth is similar to preparing to a marathon: there are a spiritual, mental, emotional and physical components. First-time parents like yourself may benefit from the support of a doula, who is trained birth companion and an advocate for your baby’s gentle birth.
I have found these resources tremendously helpful in the birth of my own babies, and I pray that these may benefit you and your wife:
Have you and your wife attended any breastfeeding or birth support classes? Breastfeeding is from the sunnah, and does not necessarily come naturally to many women. It takes practice, support, and much patience, especially when a baby is born early, or in other challenging circumstances.
Abdullah bin ‘Amr (Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him) said: “The merciful are shown mercy by Ar-Rahman. Be merciful on the earth, and you will be shown mercy from Who is above the heavens. The womb is named after Ar-Rahman, so whoever connects it, Allah connects him, and whoever severs it, Allah severs him.” [Tirmidhi]
Do you have sufficient postnatal care support for your wife? This is an oft-neglected tradition in the modern world. Alhamdulilah, where I live in Malaysia, it is very much the norm for a woman to rest for 40 days at home, with live-in support (mother, mother-in-law or a live-in helper). This may seem excessive at first glance, but it makes such a difference.
I cannot stress enough how important it is for you to support your wife in her post-partum state. If it is not possible for you to take at least two weeks off from work, then ensure that your mother or her mother is close by to provide support.
Ensure that your wife’s main role is to bond with her baby and rest. Either you cook her nourishing meals, or provide the means for someone else to do so. Her body has just gone through something incredible and exhausting, and she needs as much support as you can provide. Please relax your expectations (clean home, freshly ironed clothes etc) and take the initiative to do the chores she would normally do, or pay someone else to do it. Know that being there for your wife when she is at her weakest is also very much from the sunnah.
I recommend that you and your wife read this book together: After the Baby’s Birth: A Complete Guide for Postpartum Women.
Culturally, it is common for excited relatives to visit as soon as they hear the good news. Please help to ensure that your wife is well-rested and sufficiently covered before that happens. She is in a vulnerable state, and so is your baby. It is not rude to gently remind them to wash their hands before they hold your baby. If your baby is asleep or nursing, then it is fair to let them know that.
Again, congratulations on the upcoming birth of your first child. The newborn stage is exhausting and exhilarating. Get some rest too, in between caring for your wife and newborn.
[Ustadha] Raidah Shah Idil
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil has spent almost two years in Amman, Jordan, where she learned Shafi’i’ fiqh, Arabic, Seerah, Aqeedah, Tasawwuf, Tafsir and Tajweed. She continues to study with her Teachers in Malaysia and online through SeekersGuidance Global. She graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales, was a volunteer hospital chaplain for 5 years and has completed a Diploma of Counselling from the Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors. She lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with her husband, daughter, and mother-in-law.