This is Day 81 of the Green in 365 series!
Breast milk is nature’s perfect food for your newborn baby, and breastfeeding is the greenest and most eco-friendly way to feed your baby for their first months of life. Once you get the hang of it, breastfeeding is easy for you an your baby – no bottles and nipples to wash and sterilize, no formula to buy, measure and mix, and make sure you have enough with you everywhere you go, no bottles to warm up in the middle of the night.
If you have the choice and the ability to breastfeed, you can know without a doubt that it is the best choice for you and your baby.
Here are 5 Reasons that Breast Milk is the Greenest First Food:
1. Breast milk requires no production, manufacturing, packaging, or shipping.
There are no production facilities required for breast milk, beyond your own body. Breast milk doesn’t not require resources for packaging or shipping to get it from the factory to the store shelves. It doesn’t require any energy to wash and sanitize bottles and nipples. Breast milk is the most “local” eating you can get!
2. Breast milk creates no waste.
Because there’s no packaging, and you don’t need a bottle to feed a baby with breast milk, it creates no waste. You have exactly the right amount with you wherever you go, and you don’t have to worry about making a bottle and wasting half of it because baby wasn’t really hungry.
3. Breast milk is basically free.
Besides the money you may spend on breastfeeding supplies, which you buy once and then can use for the whole time you are nursing, and even reuse for multiple children, and the money you may spend on extra food, breastfeeding is basically free. Compared to formula and formula feeding, which can cost up to $1,500 a year, or more, the cost savings for breastfeeding are significant!
4. Breastfed babies are healthier.
Breast milk is the perfect food for babies, the easiest for them to digest, and full of living organisms – like white blood cells, hormones and antibodies, that protect their growing bodies from sickness and disease. Babies who are breast fed are less likely to get ear infections, and less likely to have health problems later in life like allergies, asthma, obesity and type 2 diabetes. (source)
5. Breastfeeding is better for mothers.
Mother’s who breastfeed have better health outcomes as well, they have lower risks of type 2 diabetes, breast and ovarian cancer, and postpartum depression. Breastfeeding also releases oxytocin, which is the feel good hormone, that helps mother’s to feel calm and relax and connect with their babies. Breastfeeding also can help a mother return to a healthy weight after her pregnancy. (source)
For all of these reasons, and more, it’s important to chose to breastfeed your baby! I understand there are some situations where, for whatever reason, a mother cannot breastfeed her baby. I want to be sensitive to those mothers, and I believe that every mother makes the best choice for their child that they can with the circumstances and information that they have.
However, the statistics still speak for themselves that less than 40% of babies are exclusively breastfed through 3 months of age, and less than 50% are still breastfeeding at 6 months of age (source), so there are many mothers and babies who are not continuing to breastfeed for some reason, and I believe it is important to encourage mothers as much as possible so that we can continue to see that number grow!
Next week we’ll be talking about the most eco-friendly way to start your baby on solid foods!
Please share your breastfeeding story with us in the comments, did you overcome a challenge while breastfeeding and stick it out, even though it was hard?
Find all the Green in 365 posts.
- Starting Solids: Benefits of Baby Led Weaning
- Following Baby Led Weaning for Starting Solids
- Starting Solids: Best First Foods for Babies
- Baby Led Weaning: Helpful Resources
- Feeding Baby – Breastfeeding and Beyond
- Feeding Baby: Breastfeeding and Beyond, Part II
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