In Islamic societies
In the early modern period, milk kinship was widely practiced in many Arab countries for both religious and strategic purposes. Like the Christian practice of godparenting, milk kinship established a second family that could take responsibility for a child whose biological parents came to harm. "Milk kinship in Islam thus appears to be a culturally distinctive, but by no means unique, institutional form of adoptive kinship.":308 A child in one of these societies would be breastfed by a woman of a lower class, enabling the child's biological mother to maintain her modesty.
The childhood of the Islamic prophet, Muhammad, illustrates the practice of traditional Arab milk kinship. In his early childhood, he was sent away to foster-parents amongst the Bedouin. By nursing him, Halimah bint Abdullah became his "milk-mother." The rest of her family was drawn into the relationship as well: her husband al-Harith became Muhammad's "milk-father," and Muhammad was raised alongside their biological children as a "milk-brother".:309 This case suggests that it was typical for a child's wet nurse to be responsible for raising him.