The performance of Aqiqah is highly encouraged (sunnah). It is to be performed by the parents or the guardians of the child. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his companions used to perform Aqiqah when they were bestowed with a newborn.
It is recommended to perform Aqiqah within the first week (and ideally on the seventh day) if not possible, then in the fourteenth, if not, in the twenty-first, if not, then at anytime. In addition, it is the recommended Sunnah for parents to give Sadaqah of equal value to the weight in gold of their baby’s hair (when it is shaved on the seventh day after birth)
There are many benefits to the performance of Aqiqah. One is announcing the birth of the baby. Secondly, certain suffering will be removed from the baby and the child will be blessed. Most importantly being bestowed a child is a great blessing from the Creator hence we thank Allah by feeding family members, neighbors, and friends. The poor should be included in the feeding event.
Hadith references regarding Aqiqah:
Sahih Bukhari Book 66. Sacrifice on the Occasion of a Birth (Aqiqah)
Narrated By Salman bin ‘Amir Ad-Dabbi: I heard Allah’s Apostle saying, “Aqiqah is to be offered for a (newly born) boy, so slaughter (an animal) for him, and relieve him of his suffering.” (Note: It has been quoted in Fateh-aL-Bari that the majority of the Religious Scholars agrees to the Hadith narrated in Sahih At-Tirmidhi that the Prophet (Peace be upon Him) was asked about Aqiqah and he ordered 2 sheep for a boy and one sheep for a girl and that is his tradition “Sunnah”).