Written by Chihiro Mujahed-san
Hello to all of the Muslims who are either raising child in Japan or planning to give birth to a baby in Japan.
My name is Chihiro Mujahed.
I am a Japanese Muslim with one year old daughter.
I would like to take this opportunity to share with you on the maternity hospital, pre-school, milk, and baby food based on everything I know through my own experience of being a newbie mom.
Although what I’m about to share with you is a personal opinion of a typical Japanese and a single Muslim, it is my hope that my sharing of this article can shed a small light to the living situation of the readers, as well as to help reader’s to feel more excited about child raising in Japan.
My guess is that perhaps some of you are feeling worried and inconvenient when raising a child in Japan as a Muslim.
Of course, it goes without saying that it would be ideal to be able to raise a child in Japan in an environment that is fun and secure for both parents and the child.
I recognize that there may be some people who feel like the living arrangement in Japan is just not fitted for the Muslim lifestyle. However, I’m convinced that a type of environment that is fun and secure for a child raising in Japan can be created through one’s own engagement.
Getting married 4 years ago as an opportunity, I became a believer of Islamic religion.
Although I didn’t really have any major doubts or worries when it came to my new found faith and my new way of living as a Muslim, when it came to labor and child raising, there were many things I became worried about.
However, these types of worries gradually started to fade away as I went through the actual experience of labor/child raising.
As the initial worry for giving birth in Japan, I believe many people are at loss over choosing the right maternity hospital.
For my case, I’ve always wanted to give a birth at a hospital where I was born.
Because the hospital I was born was a Catholic hospital, the hospital was very sensitive toward providing consideration to one’s religion.
Needless to say, the hospital was full of patients with various nationality and religious backgrounds, and for the medical form, the first entry space read “religious belief”.
At present moment, I believe this is something that you rarely see in a typical Japanese hospital. Based on the religious reasons, in general, amniotic diagnosis and blood transfusion are not strongly recommended at the Catholic hospital.
Since this hospital allowed me to choose a female physician in charge and corresponded to the meal ingredient request on individual basis, I was able to eat the meal with peace of mind during my stay. However, it should be noted that since the meat being used were probably not halal meat, I recommend each patient to consult with physicians and nurses on individual basis.
Powder milk is often added as a supplement to provide adequate nutrient to a newborn for cases where breast milk alone is not adequate. In corresponding to such need, the birthing assistant directly contacted various makers and provided me with adequate ingredient information, so that I could decide on my own which milk to use.
As an additional note, although milk is typically made with milk constituents, since there are recent surge of newborns who are allergic to milk, a soybean milk that does not use any milk constituents is now also available for purchase.
Since this milk has slightly unique taste, some babies might not like it. But it is still nice to know that plant-based product that can safely be used by Muslim moms is available.
However, there may be cases where a hospital or pre-school will not allow the use of this type of milk, so it is important to figure out what kind of milk should be used through careful consultation.