Tahneek means the placing of a piece of date, softened by chewing, on the palate of the new-born. The practice of tahneek is Masnun (a confirmed Sunnah) since Rasulullah SAW made the tahneek of Abdullah bin Zubair RA and Abdullah bin Talhah RA. Unfortunately this practice of tahneek is rarely acted upon in modern times. The reward of reviving a "dying" sunnah of Rasulullah SAW is boundless. Here again, this should be the prerogative of a learned Aalim or a pious elder of the family. Otherwise any Muslim male would suffice. If dates are not available, honey should serve as an ideal substitute.
THE AFTERBIRTH AND NAVAL-CORD
The afterbirth and naval-cord should be buried with due care since they are considered parts of the human body. As such, it should be treated with respect and honour. Disposing it in the drain or garbage is contrary to this honour. It is for this reason, too, that the dead body of a human being may not be cremated or abandoned in a pit for vultures and other animals to devour it, as is customary among the people of other religions.
As the infant is the offspring of its mother, it is common sense that the mother's milk is the most suitable source of nourishment for the baby. Therefore, the mother should most obligingly fulfil her duty of breastfeeding the child. By so doing - bonds of love, affection and intimacy are strengthened between mother and child, and in the process, good habits and character are transmitted to the child. All these and countless other benefits are contained in breastfeeding. Artificial methods of feeding are all devoid of these benefits. Other methods of feeding of course may be resorted to if ill health or other circumstances do not permit the mother to breastfeed her child. The mother must ensure that no Haraam food is consumed by the child; and the recitation of "Bismillah" should always be recited before feeding.
MAXIMUM PERIOD FOR BREASTFEEDING
The maximum period for which a child could be breastfed is two years, for this is the right of the child. The child should be weaned by two years and common food should be fed to the child.
THE CHILD'S ATTIRE
Muslim males may not adorn themselves with clothes of silk or any red and bright orange (saffron) colour. Neither gold nor silver ornaments (except for a silver ring of defined specifications). Adorning is only characteristic of women.
Parents should also ensure that children dress in an honourable and modest manner - never immitating the ostentatious styles that may be in vogue. Due to the incorrect concept of 'freedom" and "broadmindedness", parents allow their children to dress and act in a manner they wish. This eventually results in problematic, rebellious and disobedient children who in adolescent stages cause parents and society untold heartbreak and much anxiety.
HAIR, AQIQAH AND NAMING THE CHILD
It is recommended Sunnah to remove the baby's hair and to observe the Aqiqah and to name the child on the seventh day after birth. Gold or silver equivalent to the weight of the removed hair may be given as charity to the poor. Otherwise its equivalent value in money. The hair, being a portion of the human body should be buried with due respect. Aqeeqah is a form of sadaqah whereby the child is safeguarded against misfortunes. Two sheep or two goats are offered for a boy while one goat or sheep suffices for a girl. If the seventh day coincides with the days of Qurban (the Eid of sacridfice) then portions of a cow, ox or camel may be offered as qurbaani and portions for Aqiqah.
Circumcision must be performed on the children, both male and female. For males it consists of removing the prepuce from the penis, and for females, it involves removing the prepuce (bazr) of the clitoris (not the clitoris itself, as some mistakenly assert). It is best that circumcision is done at a very young age - e.g. on the seventh day after birth, as that is when it is easiest to perform; and at most before puberty - the age of which non-performance of Solat becomes sinful.