In this counseling answer:
•Once however, children begin to develop an awareness of self and others such as a child wanting to dress in private, or if a child begins to look at the sexual organs of his mother then it is perhaps time to keep oneself covered.
•Try to find a balance so that your husband gets alone time with you as well. Your child is not too young to sleep alone nor does he need you every minute.
•I would kindly suggest dear sister that you begin leaving your child with trusted relatives or friends for short periods of time and spend that time with your husband. Not only will it be beneficial for your marriage to spend alone time with your husband but it will also be good for your baby to begin the process of independence and skill building.
As salamu alaykum sister,
Thank you for your most important question. As children are to be breastfed until they are two years old, it stands to reason that a child this age is not aware of the nakedness of his mother. While I am not an Islamic scholar, it would appear that you are not violating any Islamic rulings as your child is still a baby. Once however, children begin to develop an awareness of self and others such as a child wanting to dress in private, or if a child begins to look at the sexual organs of his mother then it is perhaps time to keep oneself covered.
In the Qur’an it states “But when the children among you come of age, let them (also) ask for permission, as do those senior to them (in age): Thus does Allah make clear His signs to you: for Allah is full of knowledge and rules right.” (Quran 24: 58-59).
In this verse we can see “when the children among you come of age” to mean children who have reached the age of this awareness -possibly preadolescence, puberty and according to some scholars by the age of 4 a child begins to develop a sense of this awareness.
The request from your husband sister may be stemming from something other than Islamic etiquette and more from the position of a husband wanting more intimate, alone time with his wife. While I am not sure if this is your first child, your husband may be feeling left out. Yes, husbands do need attention after a baby is born! If we think about it, before we had children, it was just our husband’s and us. Then along comes this cute and very needy little baby which usually gets most of our attention.
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It is my feeling that your husband is longing for the closeness he and you shared and thus is requesting that your baby sleep in his own bed and that you also not shower with your baby. I suspect he is missing sleeping with you alone as well as having more intimate times with just you and him.
With that said, it is very important to realize that after a baby is born that the married couple try to retain intimacy, closeness and time alone. Too much time spent only as he, she and baby can cause distance and hurt in a marriage. Try to find a balance so that your husband gets alone time with you as well. Your child is not too young to sleep alone nor does he need you every minute.
In fact, it is good for him to develop independence and coping skills in your absence. However, he may also go through separation anxiety when you do begin leaving him for periods of time. Separation anxiety starts somewhere between the ages of 8 months to 1.5 years and some even as late as 18 months to 2.5 years of age (1).
It all depends on the child. If you leave your child, he might start crying, clinging to you, resist the comforts of others and frankly be quite miserable and make mom feel guilty! However, by telling your child “I will be back”-and coming back each time, it will reinforce his sense of security and insha’Allah the separation anxiety will decrease over time.
I would kindly suggest dear sister that you begin leaving your child with trusted relatives or friends for short periods of time and spend that time with your husband. Not only will it be beneficial for your marriage to spend alone time with your husband but it will also be good for your baby to begin the process of independence and skill building.
I would also kindly suggest you evaluate your own attachment to your baby. While we all are deeply attached to our children, sometimes first time or new mom’s can become overly attached to their child as their child is to them. Some mothers cannot function unless their child is with them. Parents can go through separation anxiety too. Much like when we were young and had a favorite toy or blanket that we could not be without, separation from our children can produce a similar anxiety and fear.
Also, some mom’s become overly attached to their babies in the hopes that their husbands will distance themselves from wanting intimacy with them. This can be due to fatigue, fear of having sexual relations (pain, another pregnancy) or just plain loss of desire.
If any of these describe you sister, please do have a medical evaluation to ensure your hormones have returned to normal after childbirth and breastfeeding. Also, if you have been feeling depressed, please see a local therapist for counseling. While postpartum depression usually occurs a few weeks after birth and has pronounced symptoms and can last for several months or longer, I am mentioning it just in case you are experiencing symptoms you did not discuss here.
While I am sure that insha’Allah everything is fine and everything will work itself out, please be assured that there is no harm in sleeping with your child at this age sister, yet you may want to start putting him in his own bed so you and your husband can have some alone time at night. We wish you the best, you are in our prayers.
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