aminah waited for the arrival of the wet nurses from the tribe of banu sa'd to choose one for muhammad, as was the practice of the nobles of makkah. this custom is still practiced today among makkan aristocracy. they send their children to the desert on the eighth day of their birth to remain there until the age of eight or ten. some of the tribes of the desert have a reputation as providers of excellent wet nurses, especially the tribe of banu sa'd. at that time, aminah gave her infant to thuwaybah, servant of muhammad's uncle abu lahab, who nursed him for a while as she did his uncle hamzah later on, making the two brothers-in-nursing. although thuwaybah nursed muhammad but a few days, he kept for her great affection and respect as long as she lived. when she died in 7 a.h. muhammad remembered to inquire about her son who was also his brother-in-nursing, but found out that he had died before her.
the wet nurses of the tribe of banu sa'd finally arrived at makkah to seek infants to nurse. the prospect of an orphan child did not much attract them since they hoped to be well rewarded by the father. the infants of widows, such as muhammad, were not attractive at all. not one of them accepted muhammad into her care, preferring the infants of the. living and of the affluent.
halimah, daughter of abu dhu'ayb
having spurned him at first as her colleagues had done before her, halimah al sa'diyyah, daughter of abu dhu'ayb, accepted muhammad into her charge because she had found no other. thin and rather poor looking, she did not appeal to the ladies of makkah. when her people prepared to leave makkah for the desert, halimah pleaded to her husband al harith ibn `abd al `uzza, "by god it is oppressive to me to return with my friends without a new infant to nurse. surely, i should go back to that orphan and accept him." her husband answered; "there would be no blame if you did. perhaps god may even bless us for your doing so." halimah therefore took muhammad and carried him with her to the desert. she related that after she took him, she found all kinds of blessings. her herd became fat and multiplied, and everything around her seemed to prosper.
in the desert halimah nursed muhammad for two whole years while her daughter shayma' cuddled him. the purity of desert air and the hardness of desert living agreed with muhammad's physical disposition and contributed to his quick growth, sound formation, and discipline. at the completion of the two years, which was also the occasion of his weaning, halimah took the child to his mother but brought him back with her to the desert to grow up away from makkah and her epidemics. biographers disagree whether halimah's new lease on her charge was arranged after her own or aminah's wishes. the child lived in the desert for two more years playing freely in the vast expanse under the clear sky and growing unfettered by anything physical or spiritual.