The Islamic Religion

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Iraq Though not all women in Iraq are Muslim there are a significant amount of them who do follow the Islamic religion. More specifically from my own experiences, the women from Iraq that I have worked with have all been Muslim and do follow the Islamic religion. Therefore, I found it pertinent to include this part of their culture in this section because of how their beliefs effect their breastfeeding decisions. Breastfeeding has a religious basis in Islam and it is recommended that the mother suckle her offspring for 2 years if possible (Shaikh & Ahmed, 2006, p. 164). Weaning from the breast before that period is allowed if mutually decided on by both parents. The infant 's father has an obligation to support his wife through any circumstances that may affect breastfeeding and, in case of divorce, provide shelter and financial support to the mother–infant pair for as long as breastfeeding continues (Shaikh & Ahmed, 2006, p. 165-167). Shaikh & Ahmed (2006) state that, by showing understanding and respect of Islamic beliefs related to infant feeding, clinicians can help support healthy early feeding of Muslim infants (p. 164-167). I have found in my own work that it is important for me most often to include the partner of the woman and to show an understanding the family’s beliefs and culture. This creates and builds rapport and support system. Also in Islam, both parents and children have rights and responsibilities. Breastfeeding is considered a child 's right upon his or her parents, and it is highly recommended to do so if the mother is able. Breastfeeding is very clearly encouraged in the Quran which is the holy book of the Islamic people. The recommendation is that if both parents agree then the mother breastfee... ... middle of paper ... ...hs of age. This suggests the big gap between knowledge and attitude of mothers regarding complementary food and the need for more education and support. An effort needs to be made to help overcome the poor background of these mothers within Iraq (Shaikh & Ahmed, 2006, p. 165-167). Cultural influence plays a major role in the decision about which foods are to be introduced and at what age (Al Hilfy, 2007, p. 150-155). In one study about 35.2 percent of the mothers had no idea about what should be added exactly to the child’s diet and at what particular ages, but followed the advice of older females in their families or friends. This demonstrated the role of family and friend support to a breastfeeding woman in the Iraqi culture (Al Hilfy, 2007, p.152-153). This shows the need for more educated and professional breastfeeding support within the Iraqi community.

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