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General Advices for Pregnant Women and Mothers

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(Adapted from the notes of the late Hakeem Muhammad Yusuf [rahimahullah] of Hekpoort as well as from Behishti Zewar and other sources)

Advices for Expectant Mothers

When a woman has conceived, then she should practice on the following:  

1. Abstain from all types of sins, especially watching television (whether it is movies or even video clips), eating haraam, listening to gheebah (backbiting) or making gheebah, etc. It is also important to abstain from all sins when breastfeeding.

2. Engage in reciting the Quraan Majeed and making zikr. Also listen to the recitation of the Quraan Majeed and zikr. It is recorded that Moulana Muhammad Yahya (rahimahullah), who is the father of Shaikhul Hadeeth, Moulana Muhammad Zakariyya (rahimahullah), had memorized approximately ½ a para of the Quraan Majeed while still breastfeeding. The reason for this was the excessive recitation of Quraan Shareef that he was exposed to.  

3. Avoid excessive use of technology as this overstimulates the brain resulting in weak minded children.

4. Do not allow yourself to become extra emotional e.g. becoming angry, grieved, etc.

5. Refrain from smelling too much of perfumes – especially perfumes containing alcohol.

6. Avoid pictures of animate objects on the clothes and utensils. These cause us to be deprived of the company of the angels.

7. Keep the forehead open and free from hair. This helps with oxygen and the processing of the brain.

8. Do not allow yourself to be constipated.

9. Drink one teaspoon of almond oil (sweet almond oil) before bedtime (also beneficial for constipation). Massage some onto the temples, palms and soles of the feet for two minutes each.

10. Avoid taking laxatives.

11. Do not do strenuous work nor laze around (engaging in work strengthens the womb and makes the labour easy, however the work should not be so strenuous that it tires one out completely).

12. Do a fair amount of exercise daily (especially walking).

13. Do not jump from a high place.

14. Do not pick up heavy objects.

15. Try to avoid or reduce having relations for the first three months of pregnancy.

What to Eat in Pregnancy?

1. Eat healthy foods (especially green vegetables).

2. Eat one bright, red apple daily without cutting it.

3. Eat coconut and sugar candy to increase strength for labour.

4. Eat 12g of fresh coconut every morning and evening. Eat it with ghor (jaggery) or haakar (sugar candy). Chew it well before swallowing.

5. Increase calcium intake through almonds etc.

6. Make a paste with five almonds, five lumps of sugar and a little water. Divide into three equal portions. Take one portion in the morning, one in the afternoon and one in the evening. 

7. Try to eat pears and guavas daily (also assists with regular bowel movements and preventing constipation).

8. Take two teaspoons of pure virgin olive oil 10 minutes before every meal.

9. Pregnant mothers should make the following mix and snack on it throughout their pregnancy. It is especially beneficial for raising iron levels:

a. Almonds

b. Haakar (sugar candy)

c. Stalk raisins (raisins with seeds – available from Checkers under the ‘Padkos’ brand name)

Take all of the above in equal quantities, mix together, store in a container and snack. If the teeth are weak, it is better to buy the smaller haakar (small sugar candy) as it is easier to chew.

Morning Sickness

1. For nausea (morning sickness), eat two or three dry cream crackers in bed and lie in bed for another 15-20 min before waking up.

2. When a woman is suffering from morning sickness and nausea, she may try to eat the following for breakfast:

Take plain boiled white rice, and mix with milk to make into a porridge. Sweeten with haakar (sugar candy) or honey.

3. In the case where the expectant mother struggles to keep any food down, she should try to drink the water of one fresh coconut twice a day, morning and evening (two coconuts a day). This will provide her with nutrition.

Advices Pertaining to Childbirth

1. When a woman is very close to her due date (one or two days before her due date), she should take the hair/strands from a cob of corn and boil in a cup of water until only half the water remains. She should drink the mixture daily, as it assists with an easy labour.

2. When labour starts, have a bath from the navel downwards with hot water. Insha-Allah, this will allow the baby to come out with ease.

3. Once the labour commences, she should take one or two strands of saffron and boil in a cup of water (or steep in boiling water) and drink the water. This also assists with labour.

4. During delivery, ensure that the mother is covered properly as far as possible. Avoid exposing parts of the body that are not necessary.

5. Avoid a caesarean birth as far as possible.

6. Taking rest properly after birth (“suwaawar/huwaawar” aka “confinement”) is important. The mother needs to heal mentally and emotionally.

7. When visiting a woman in confinement, keep the visit short and sweet.  

8. There is no basis for baby showers. This is a sophisticated way of begging for gifts.

Advices Pertaining to the Child

1. When the baby is born, one may add a little bit of Himalayan salt or Epsom salts to the water for bathing the baby. Thereafter, bath the baby with plain water.

2. When changing, change half the body at a time. Try to avoid complete nudity.

3. Place a changing mat under the child so that the impurity does not mess other areas.

4. When changing a child, especially a girl, do not do so in front of boys, even younger and elder brothers.

5. Feed the baby in an upright position to avoid an ear infection.

6. Do not prop the bottle with a pillow and leave the child unattended.

7. If the baby is constipated, mix ½ tsp brown sugar and ½ tsp warm water. Administer once daily. 

8. Do the khatnah (circumcision) for the baby boy as quick as possible. (The best is for it to be done within the first seven days of birth). The pain is less and it heals quicker.

9. After the child is circumcised, continue giving him honey to suck, as this aids with the healing.

10 Massaging the baby with natural oils (e.g. olive oil, almond oil, coconut oil, ghee) is very beneficial for the child and this should continue until the baby is five or six months old (it is also beneficial to exercise and stretch the baby at this time).

11. Keep the child away from light that is too bright and sunlight as this weakens their eyesight.

12. Keep changing the child’s sides so that the child’s gaze is not fixed on something for too long. This can cause the baby to become squint. (This can also cause the skull to become flat on one side as the baby’s skull is soft.)

13. When the child is seven days or more, then to rock the child and play soothing natural sounds is also beneficial.

14. When the baby is teething, mix a little salt and honey and rub on the gums. This will aid in the process. (Giving the child a piece of lemon peel to chew on also assists the teeth to cut.)

Advices Pertaining to Breastfeeding

1. The mother’s milk is the best for the child – provided the mother is healthy. 

2. Even if the mother has no milk, just the baby suckling on the mother’s nipples is not devoid of benefit.

3. The mother should cover herself properly when breastfeeding.

4. Try and feed in the state of wudhu. This has a tremendous effect on the imaan of the child (see here and here).

5. The breastfeeding mother should avoid gassy foods and all those foods which affect the baby (e.g. potatoes, beans, peas, lentils, deep fried foods, etc.).

6. Put a drop of honey on the baby’s palate before each breastfeeding. To give the baby one finger of honey to suck on before breastfeeding each time is also beneficial.

7. To increase the mother’s breastmilk, mix the following ingredients together and store in a jar:

 100g powdered sataawar (this can be obtained from a spice shop)

 100g powdered jeero

 100g haakar (sugar candy)

 Take 1 level table spoon with a cup of warm milk 3 or 4 times daily.

8. Often, the breastfeeding child develops oral thrush, and this sometimes spreads to the mother’s breast as well. In order to prevent and treat this, the breast and nipple area should be cleaned with a wet cloth after every feed. Similarly, the breast should be washed with warm water once or twice a day. The child’s mouth, tongue and gums should also be wiped gently.

9. For increasing breastmilk, feed the mother nutritious foods such as free range eggs, chicken soup, milk, fish, almonds, gaajar halwa, etc.

10. If the child tends to be phlegmatic during breastfeeding, the mother should avoid consuming dairy products (and foods that are cold in temperament such as: rice, sour foods, citrus, watermelon, litchi, banana, brinjal, bhindi, raw tomato, lettuce, cucumber, fizzy drinks, ice, sweetened foods and foods that are cold i.e. eaten from the fridge).  

11. If the baby is sick due to something inappropriate which the mother ate, it is better to treat the mother and not necessarily the child.

Weaning and Feeding the Child Solids

1. When weaning a child, then in order to decrease and dry up the milk in the breasts, the mother should keep a leaf of cabbage tied to each breast. The leaf should be replaced with a new leaf every three to four hours.

2. When the baby can eat solids, feed him wholesome foods prepared at home.

3. Feed the baby with the right hand and recite bismillah before feeding him.

4. When introducing an infant to cow’s milk for the first time, dilute the milk so that there are two parts of water to one part milk. Thereafter, as the child’s digestive system becomes accustomed to the milk, the proportion of the milk may be gradually increased.

5. When commencing the child on solids, the following mixture may be fed as a porridge. It is especially beneficial in developing the brain:

Take 3-5 almonds, peel them and soak them in one cup or half a cup of water overnight. In the morning, blend the mixture until it is smooth. Sweeten with honey or crushed haakar (sugar candy). Half a teaspoon of arrowroot powder may also be added (beneficial for muscle development).

6. When it is time for the baby to start eating solids, do not give the child things to eat which are very hard as this can make it difficult for the teeth to come out.

7. Do not overfeed the child. The child’s stomach can become weak for the rest of his life. (Also, do not feed the child any food before he is able to digest it e.g. feeding meat or eggs to a very young child.)