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Breastfeeding in Closed Room Annoying My Mother in-Law

Questioner

S

Reply Date

May 18, 2017

Question

I am a mother of a 3 months old breastfed baby living in a joint family system. I have to shut the door of my room often in order to feed the baby. Sometimes the baby sleeps on my lap, sometimes I feel so tired and lazy to open the door, so most of the time the door remains shut. And it only happens when I don’t need to do any house chores. My in-laws, however, object me severely on shutting the door. They claim that I purposely shut the door to avoid them. I tried to talk this out with my mother in law, but she didn't listen. I am very upset about this. Is this habit bad islamically?

Counselor

Answer


As-Salamu ‘Alaikum dear sister,

Congratulations on the birth of your baby. May Allah (swt) make him/her a source of joy and happiness. Certainly, a newborn baby comes with its challenges. Most new mums do feel tired most of the time due to adjusting to a new routine as well as the continuous feeding and changing routine that comes in the early months of a baby’s life. It will take time to adjust and recover, but for now, quite rightly, you do need rest and often this need results in falling asleep with your baby on your lap. It happens with most new mums. This will be made even more difficult if you have been facing difficulties with your mother-in-law. The stress will only make recovery and adjustment more difficult.

You have done the right thing to reassure her that it has nothing to do with avoiding her. Of course, breastfeeding is the best way to feed your child, but does involve exposing yourself to some degree, so for purposes of modesty, most women do prefer to go somewhere more discreet whilst breastfeeding. This is just part of the modest nature of the Muslim woman. Closing the door is not a bad thing as it is preserving your dignity, especially when there are people other than your husband around.

At the same time there is a need in this situation to maintain good relations with your in-laws, so do continue to reassure her that you are not trying to avoid them. During times when you are not in the room, try to engage with them as much as possible to try and diminish this feeling of avoidance she says she has been experiencing.

Over the next few months, in sha’ Allah, as you adjust to your new routine with the baby, you will be able to open the door after you have finished feeding your baby. If relations are not yet resolved with your mother-in-law, then in sha’ Allah, at this point things will get better.

May Allah (swt) give you strength and bring you happiness in your home. May He (swt) make relations good with your in-laws whilst you raise your baby in the way that is easiest for you.

Salam,

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About Hannah Morris

Hannah Morris is a mum of 4 and she currently works as Counsellor and Instructor of BSc. Psychology at the Islamic Online University (IOU). She obtained her MA degree in Psychology and has over 10 years of experience working in health and social care settings in the UK, USA, and Ireland. Check out her personal Facebook page, ActiveMindCare, that promotes psychological well-being in the Ummah. (www.facebook.com/activemindcare)

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