in its origin is a name for custom among the Arabs in the time of the Prophet (sws).
In this custom, an animal was sacrificed and its blood poured upon the child’s
head, after which, the child’s head was shaved. It was believed that till such
an act was performed upon the child, the child remained prone to calamities and
Prophet (sws) was asked about this custom, he is reported to have replied that
he did not approve of it. He dissuaded people from observing the referred
custom. Nevertheless, he encouraged the father of a newly born child to offer
sacrifice as a show of gratitude and thankfulness towards their Lord, for
blessing him with a child. Over the years, this custom of sacrificing came to be
known as ‘Aqīqah.
If you want to
offer sacrifice as a token of gratitude to the Almighty you may proceed. There
is no restriction on the matter of who offers it. You can sacrifice any kind of
animal which is not declared prohibited. Of course, sacrificing an animal is not
the only way to show gratitude to the Almighty; one can adopt other ways.
Moreover, shaving the baby’s head has no basis. One may do so for hygienic
reasons but one is not required by Islam to do so.