Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Avicenna (AD 980 to 1037) and the care of the newborn infant and breastfeeding


A brief historical review of medicine during the fourth century Islamic civilization or eleventh century AD in Persia or Iran was undertaken with its focus on Avicenna. A physician–philosopher, named Ibn Sina or Avicenna (980 to 1037), followed and further expanded the tradition of western philosophy and medicine by Aristotle, Hippocrates and Galen. Avicenna, a physician, philosopher, astrologist, anatomist, pharmacologist, ethicist and poet wrote, the Canon of Medicine, the most comprehensive medical textbook of its time. This important textbook was extensively used in European medical schools for centuries after Avicenna's death. In the Canon of Medicine, a chapter is dedicated to the care of the newborn infant dealing with hygiene, breastfeeding and upbringing of the child.

Your institute does not have access to this article

Relevant articles

Open Access articles citing this article.

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. Encyclopaedia Britannica. Avicenna Encyclopaedia Britannica Online 2007;

  2. Catalogue: Medical Encyclopedias. The Canon of Medicine Updated 23 February 2006. Islamic Medical Manuscripts at the National Library of Medicine. US National Library of Medicine: 8600 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, MD.

  3. Al-Rahman al Naqib A . Avicenna (370?–428 AH–980?–1037 AD). Dar al-Thaqafah lil-Tibaah wa-al-Nashr: Egypt, 1984.

  4. Ibn Sina/Avicenna. The Canon of Medicine—1953. Saab Medical Library, American University of Beirut, 2002–2007. Last modified: 27 March 14:21:11, 2007 BL.

  5. Avicenna . The Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. II. Robert Appleton Company: New York, 1907.

    Google Scholar 

  6. Taziz-Uddin-Siddiqi T . A new critical edition of Ibn Sina's al-Qanun Fi’-Tibb and its English translation. Stud Hist Med 1977; 1: 159–166.

    Google Scholar 

  7. Bakhtiar L . The Canon of Medicine. Avicenna Adapted by Laleh Bakhtiar. Great Books of the Islamic World Inc.; Kazi Publications Inc.: Chicago, IL, 1999, pp 359–368.

    Google Scholar 

  8. Russell GA . Avicenna (Ibn Sina). Encyclopedia of Life Sciences. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, 2002,

    Google Scholar 

  9. Smith RD . Avicenna and the Canon of Medicine: a millennial tribute. West J Med 1980; 133: 367–370.

    CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  10. Sarton G . Avicenna—physician, scientist and philosopher. Bull NY Acad Med 1955; 31: 307–316.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  11. Levi R . Avicenna—his life and times Paper read before the Cambridge University History of Medicine Society on 27 November 1956; 249–261.

  12. Namazi MR . Images in psychiatry. Avicenna, 980–1037. Am J Psychiatry 2001; 158: 1796.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  13. Dunn PT . Avicenna (AD980–1037) and Arabic perinatal medicine. Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed 1997; 77: 75–76.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Osler W . The Evolution of Modern Science. Yale University Press: New Haven, CT, 1921; 243.

    Google Scholar 

  15. Ahmed M . Ibn Sina (Avicenna)—doctor of doctors. This article originally appeared in Muslim Technologist, November 1990.

  16. Darmani NA . Avicenna: the prince of physicians and a giant in pharmacology. JIMA 1995; 26: 78–81.

    Google Scholar 

  17. Urguhart J . Letter. How Islam changed medicine. Ibn Sina (Avicenna) saw medicine and surgery as one. BMJ 2006; 332: 120.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. American Academy of Pediatrics, work group on Breastfeeding. Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk. Pediatrics 1997; 100: 1035–1039.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. American Academy of Pediatrics. Breastfeeding and the use of human milk. Pediatrics, Policy statement 2005; 115: 496–506.

    Google Scholar 

  20. Committee on Health Care for Underserved Women, Committee on Obstetric Practice. Breastfeeding: maternal and infant aspects. ACOG Clin Rev 2007; 12 (Suppl): S1–S16 January – February 2007, Special report from ACOG.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to H D Modanlou.

Additional information

This work was presented at the 2007 Pediatric Academic Society—Society for Pediatric Research meeting, Toronto, Canada.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Modanlou, H. Avicenna (AD 980 to 1037) and the care of the newborn infant and breastfeeding. J Perinatol 28, 3–6 (2008).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


  • Avicenna
  • Canon of Medicine
  • Breastfeeding
  • Islamic medicine

Further reading


Quick links