Friday, April 18, 2008

Earth Day 2008: Tip 3

Breastfeeding helps to mother Mother Earth and baby!

We all know that I am a HUGE lactivist and proud of it, so of course I must dedicate one of my Earth Day 2008 posts to the environmental benefits of breastfeeding. To maximize the benefits, one would need to serve breastmilk from the tap (i.e. without pumping, bottles, etc), but let's face it. For working mothers that is not possible. However, every little bit counts, so if you can nurse when together you are already reducing the impact of feeding the youngest members of our society. Also, the biggest impact is avoiding formula, which has a HUGE footprint in production!

Here are a few bullets of the environmental benefits:
  • Breastfeeding is a renewable resources!
  • Reduces deforestation. Each cow used to make formula requires thousands of acres of land for grazing, not to mention the impacts of feeding the cow!
  • Reduces packaging! From the Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog:
    An article originally published in Mothering Magazine states, "For every 3 million bottle-fed babies, 450 million tins of formula are consumed. The resulting 70,000 tons of metal in the form of discarded tins is not recycled. The 550 million tins of artificial baby milk sold each year to bottle feed US babies alone stacked end to end would circle the earth one and a half times; 550 million tins equals 86,000 tons of tin and 1,230 tons of paper labels."
  • Reduces exposure to BPA. Formula cans are lined with BPA, which has been found to be more concentrated in liquid formula than BPA in bottles and other plastic baby items!
  • Reduces fuel needed (and therefore carbon emissions) for manufacuturing and transportation. Breastfeeding takes your fat and/or up to 500 calories per day from your own body to produce milk!
  • Reduces waste. When the child weans off those bottles, the bottles tend to end up in a landfill, and while I seem to have lost the source, I did read that it can take up to 400 years for a baby bottle to break down. CRAZINESS!
  • Less methane gas released.
  • Reduces pollution to our waters. Not only does the manufacture of formula impact our water supply, so does the run-off and pollution from farming practices.
I am sure there are more that I am missing, but the bottom line-- breastfeeding is a better choice for the environment! The greatest benefit is seen with exclusive breastfeeding, but if you need to pump in order to work, you are still reducing the harms to the environment!

Nursing Mother Supplies "Breastfeeding is Green"

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