Observations from World Breastfeeding Week

observations from world breastfeeding weekWorld Breastfeeding Week may be over but National Breastfeeding Month continues throughout August with many opportunities to raise awareness for breastfeeding, support mothers in their breastfeeding efforts and celebrate breastfeeding as the very best nutritional choice for babies.  In fact, we will be celebrating Black Breastfeeding Week August 25-31 as a culmination of our National Breastfeeding Month festivities.

As we look back at World Breastfeeding Week, we can’t help but cheer for the victories for breastfeeding in the U.S. and take note of the work that still needs to be done.  Many other countries are still fighting for some of the issues the U.S. has worked hard to overcome. Plus nations around the world had significant triumphs this World Breastfeeding Week that we want to share. Today we’re giving an overview of observations from World Breastfeeding Week:

U.S. Breastfeeding Victories

Because of the progress made in the U.S., evidence-based information has changed many mothers’ perspective on the best way to nourish their babies. Study after study proves the benefits of breastfeeding for babies and mothers. From science to celebrities, more and more education and role models are making headlines in support of breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding in public was once taboo but is now more accepted than ever and protected by law. While some social stigma still exists, moms are prioritizing their babies’ health over a few awkward glances or snarky comments.

Mothers who cannot breastfeed are also seeking help from other moms in the form of donor milk.

Employers are making more effort to accommodate breastfeeding moms in the workplace, especially because statistics show breastfeeding makes families healthier leading to less missed workdays and morale is higher when moms have the opportunity to meet their breastfeeding goals and maintain their careers.

All of these are incredible victories for the U.S.

U.S. Breastfeeding Opportunities

Despite the aforementioned accomplishments, there are still barriers to success in the U.S. There is a socio-economic, cultural and racial divide when it comes to breastfeeding as many lower-income and minority communities lack the support they need to successfully breastfeed.  And they may be the very ones who would benefit from breastfeeding the most.

Many moms are misinformed about breastfeeding from the start when hospital staff do not promote breastfeeding but rather offer simpler alternatives as a quick fix.

Plus, until breastfeeding rates are close to 100%, there will always be work to do for this important health cause.

These are all opportunities for improvement in the U.S.

A Global Breastfeeding Perspective

observations from world breastfeeding weekIn other countries the focus of World Breastfeeding Week is overcoming some of the same challenges as the U.S., but the majority are still working to rise to the level of societal acceptance that most Americans have. Breastfeeding in public is one of the biggest issues at the global level. Case in point: according to The Times of India, breastfeeding in public “is a worry and a fear in India.” In Colombia, mothers joined together for a public breastfeeding event to stand up for the cause.

In China, breastfeeding rates are rising but still lower than many countries. A recent controversial photo of mothers breastfeeding on the subway sparked a heated online discussion of public breastfeeding intolerance and demonstrated the sentiments of many Chinese citizens. However, perhaps it was all for a good cause because during World Breastfeeding Week the Chinese government “pledged to set up more nursing rooms in public spaces and encouraged companies to follow suit,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

Another experience in Poland provoked governmental involvement too. A woman who was asked to nurse her baby in a bathroom at a restaurant was outraged and went public with her story. The health minster then made this statement: “Breastfeeding is not only a natural act, but an act which actually deserves the widest support possible. Stigmatizing women for breastfeeding in public is not acceptable.”  The instigating incident was unfortunate but as a result it brought national attention to the issue in Poland.

At the local level, similar to the U.S., certain areas have lower breastfeeding rates, perhaps based on lack of support. Communities are getting creative to try to improve conditions. For example, per the website BelfastLive, Belfast has the lowest breastfeeding-from-birth rate among England, Scotland and Wales and their numbers significantly drop by six weeks and six months. As a solution, 400 businesses, facilities and attractions signed on to an initiative to support breastfeeding at their locations, complete with signage and staff training.

Another stride in support of breastfeeding was made in Thailand this World Breastfeeding Week.  The Ministry of Health will take a bill to the National Legislative Assembly that forbids advertising or marketing formula or other food products to infants and young children including offering coupons and free samples. It also binds healthcare professionals to promote breastfeeding as the healthiest option for babies. This is a major step forward for breastfeeding in Thailand.

Although breastfeeding is a 24/7, 365 days of the year issue, World Breastfeeding Week magnifies the cause on the global stage. Each country faces challenges and World Breastfeeding Week is a great opportunity to focus on these issues in order to make improvements. The U.S. has come so far, yet there is still much work to do to ensure every baby is given the gift of health through breastfeeding.

Gemma’s Story: Battling Lupus, Conceiving & Breastfeeding Successfully

Gemma's Story: Battling Lupus, Conceiving & Breastfeeding Successfully“One year after my son was born, 2013, I was diagnosed with Lupus Nephritis stage 4. I was told that I would never be able to have another baby. I was on 18 pills a day. Through medication, exercise and diet change (low sodium and no processed foods), I went into remission and convinced the doctors to switch my meds and allow us to try for a baby.

One year later we had the green light and 2 months later I was pregnant with Emily.

I was told that I probably wouldn’t be able to breastfeed due to supply issues and the constant fatigue from lupus. Lupus forced me to wean my son cold turkey three days shy of his first year birthday. I would not let this control my life or my daughters.

Gemma's Story: Battling Lupus, Conceiving & Breastfeeding SuccessfullyShe was born healthy on her due date and we have breastfed from day 1 with zero supplementing. She fought me on bottles when I went back to work but in the end she would take 1 bottle of pumped milk a day at daycare. I work as an instructor full time at Springfield College teaching Biology to freshman. I was able to nurse her on my breaks at the daycare.

She is now 15 months on Friday and I can hardly believe that this journey is still going strong. She still nurses 4-5 times throughout the day and what’s amazing is that she is keeping me in remission. The hormones that are associated with breastfeeding keep my lupus quiet. I don’t know when this journey will end but I am sure glad to be apart of it.”

Gemma, Manchester/Bolton, CT, La Leche League

 

An IBCLC’s Story of Experiencing Breastfeeding Firsthand

An IBCLC's Story of Experiencing Breastfeeding Firsthand“I delivered a healthy 8lb, 8oz baby boy in January.  He would not latch and I was devastated.  The nurses at the hospital worked continuously with me and we finally got him to nurse with a nipple shield.

About two weeks after delivery he started screaming about 30 minutes after nursing.  The doctors said he had reflux and colic.  I kept feeling guilty thinking it was something I was doing wrong or something I was eating to make him like this.  I have cut out dairy from my diet and it seems to be helping.

Even though I am a registered nurse and an IBCLC [International Board Certified Lactation Consultant] and teach and inform other moms about breastfeeding and coach them through nursing problems every day, I never realized just how hard it is.  You are sleep deprived and will do anything for your new baby.  When problems start happening you automatically think its something you yourself is doing wrong.

I would never have been able to continue exclusively breastfeeding without my family’s support and the support of my nursing friends and our peer helper at the WIC clinic I work in.  I am proud to say my baby just turned 6 months old, is exclusively breastfed and we have actually weaned completely off the nipple shield.  He comes to work with me every day too!”

Ashley, Director of WIC – Jefferson County, OH

An IBCLC's Story of Experiencing Breastfeeding Firsthand An IBCLC's Story of Experiencing Breastfeeding Firsthand An IBCLC's Story of Experiencing Breastfeeding Firsthand

World Breastfeeding Week: Breastfeeding and Healthy Eating for a Lifetime

World Breastfeeding Week: Breastfeeding and Healthy Eating for a LifetimeWe believe World Breastfeeding Week is the best time of year because the whole world focuses on our favorite topic: breastfeeding.  This year’s theme, Breastfeeding, a key to sustainable development, reminds us that breastfeeding is about setting the stage and paving the path to a healthy future for our children.  This week we’ve already talked about how breastfeeding promotes health and well-being for babies and mothers, is good for the environment, helps personal and global economies, and is sustainable even for mothers who return to work.  Today we’re looking at breastfeeding and healthy eating for a lifetime.

Healthy eating habits may be one of the best preventative healthcare measures you can instill in your children, and it all starts with breastfeeding.  Obesity is a major epidemic in the U.S. with estimates of up to 70% of the population being overweight or obese.  Childhood obesity has doubled in the past 30 years.  While we’re sure most parents would put their child’s health at the top of their wish list, clearly healthy eating is not a priority for most families.

Interestingly, studies show that breastfeeding positively influences healthy eating well beyond infancy in several ways.  Researchers from Monell Chemical Senses Center discovered babies who are exposed to a variety of flavors in utero and through breast milk are predisposed to enjoying diverse flavors later in life.  This means that mothers who eat a range of wholesome foods during pregnancy and while breastfeeding are passing along healthy eating habits inherently.  This method seems a lot better than arguing with a 4-year-old to eat broccoli.

Furthermore, the Monell study concluded that the food a baby eats makes an emotional impression as well.  So those exposed to healthy flavors will be more emotionally inclined to make healthier selections as they age.  The study also showed that a child’s taste preferences are solidified in toddlerhood and changing these likes and dislikes is very difficult throughout childhood.  Therefore the window of time to instill healthful eating is narrow.

A report from the CDC has more great news about breastfeeding and healthy eating habits for your child’s future.  In their study, children who were breastfed for at least six months were more likely to make healthy food choices at age six including eating more fruits and vegetables, drinking more water and consuming less sugary drinks.

Yet another study from the NIH found breastfeeding helps form self-regulatory indicators for satiety that remain with a baby for their entire lives.  Being able to self-regulate and stop eating when the body feels full is a crucial skill to avoid obesity.  This research supports breastfeeding’s impact on metabolic imprinting.

Once babies reach six months of age, complimentary feeding of solids can begin.  While this may not be your child’s first experience with flavor, it is his first direct experience with food.  Starting your baby on healthy complimentary foods while continuing to breastfeed for at least one year is essential for establishing and maintaining a healthy diet for a lifetime.  And chances are, if you want your child to truly absorb and adopt healthy eating habits, you need to model them yourself.  Initiating a family-wide wholesome diet when your baby starts solids is a great way for the entire family to join together for the health of your baby.

Early introduction of a healthy diet shapes healthy eating habits for the future.  You have the opportunity to be your child’s role model in many ways.  Let healthy eating be one of them, starting with breastfeeding!

Sources:  The New York Times, National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) and ABC News

A Peer Counselor’s Personal Story of Breastfeeding

A Peer Counselor's Personal Story of Breastfeeding“My name is Faith and I have always acknowledged the benefits of breastfeeding.

Growing up with a lactation consultant for a mother will do that to you, but never in my wildest dreams did I expect to witness them firsthand like I did.

Twenty weeks into my pregnancy, an ultrasound revealed a hole in my baby son’s stomach.

Things began to happen very fast. We were lost in a sea of doctor’s appointments, surgeon interviews, and NICU tours, all the while trying to come to grips that a “normal” birth just was no longer in the cards for us. The plan was for him to be taken early, via C-section, to prevent damage to his exposed intestine. He would be rushed to the NICU and operated on just hours after birth.

Calvin was born on May 15th, eight weeks premature, with his small and large intestine and stomach exposed.

While I was stuck in bed waiting for the okay from the nurses to visit my baby, I was given what every mother in my situation craves — the opportunity to help her baby in a way no surgeon could.A Peer Counselor's Personal Story of Breastfeeding I was given a breast pump. I couldn’t hold Calvin, I couldn’t even see him yet, but I could ensure that he had the nutrition he needed!  Within four hours after birth, I had collected over 36 mls of colostrum!

Due to his two surgeries and waiting for his gut to wake up, it was a full two weeks on intravenous nutrition before we could introduce some of my milk. Just two mls at first, but after a few initial setbacks, the volume increased and the Total Parenteral Nutrition (TPN) decreased. Calvin’s tiny body began to heal. He astounded the neonatologists and the nurses at how well he tolerated his feeds. I’ll never forget when he was up to two ounce feedings; I tentatively asked when I could breastfeed. The nurse just looked at me and said “Now.” The nurse started walking away to find a nipple shield when suddenly Calvin popped himself on perfectly and started nursing away no problem. The staff was astounded yet again.

A Peer Counselor's Personal Story of BreastfeedingAfter 35 days in the NICU, Calvin left the NICU without a drop of formula. After I got him home, I visited Debbie Vargas at my WIC clinic in Georgetown. She gave me a lot of encouragement.  I was not only able to feed Calvin, I had so much extra milk I donated it to other moms and babies who needed it.

Calvin is a healthy, happy little boy today and I owe so much of that to my commitment to breastfeed despite our initial challenges.”

Faith, Breastfeeding Peer Counselor at Williamson County and Citiies Health District, Georgetown

World Breastfeeding Week: Breastfeeding and the Working Mom

World Breastfeeding Week is in full swing and we’re proud to support this amazing cause every year.  When it comes to a mother’s choice to breastfeed and her desire to provide the very best nutrition for her baby, sometimes there are barriers to success, especially when mothers work outside the home and spend time away from their babies.  Breastfeeding after returning to work can be challenging but is completely possible with the proper support.  Today were taking a look at breastfeeding and the working mom.

World Breastfeeding Week:  Breastfeeding and the Working MomBreastfeeding and the workplace are a critical component of the theme of World Breastfeeding Week 2016 – Breastfeeding, a key to sustainable development.  Women make up nearly half of the labor force in the U.S. and almost 75% of these women work full-time.  As such a substantial part of the country’s workforce and as a vital element to the family unit’s income, women are a valuable asset in the workplace for businesses and families.  Therefore, supporting mothers as they start families and make responsible feeding choices for their babies should be crucial to businesses.

Unfortunately, many moms do not feel their employers value their decision to have babies and breastfeed.  Despite the many strides in overcoming gender inequities in the workplace, childbearing and breastfeeding continues to be an issue that holds women back in their careers.

When it comes to breastfeeding and the working mom, there are a few eye-opening insights that prevent mothers from achieving their breastfeeding goals.  Studies indicate women who return to work full-time are half as likely to be breastfeeding their babies by 6 months.  Also, women who have shorter maternity leaves terminate breastfeeding earlier than those with longer maternity leaves.

The obvious barrier to breastfeeding success for mothers who work full-time is separation from their babies.  Allowing mothers to be productive at work and continue breastfeeding, requires three critical elements from employers:  a substantial maternity leave, a flexible schedule, and the ability to pump.

First, an adequate maternity leave helps moms solidify a breastfeeding relationship with their babies.  This not only allows mother’s time to recover from childbirth and adjust to life with a new baby, it also gives moms a chance to nurture their milk supply by breastfeeding their babies as often as necessary.  When moms and babies have the opportunity and time to learn to breastfeed, they have a greater likelihood of success.  Maternity leaves of two or more months can help families establish a healthy breastfeeding routine before moms return to work.

When the time comes for mom to go back to work, flexibility can make the transition much easier.  Flexibility can come in various forms including adjusting her work schedule, job sharing, changing roles for less time-sensitive assignments, and requiring less travel, to name a few.  Offering flexibility also boosts a new mom’s morale and increases job satisfaction.  Employees feel more valued and are happier when their employers are willing to work with their needs to ensure a healthy work-life balance.

Of course when mothers work full-time and are separated from their babies, they must pump to maintain their milk supply and have breast milk to provide their babies during their absence.  Pumping requires time, space and tolerance from management and peers. Although pumping breaks are not required by law, many employers are open to helping new moms.  Before returning to work, new moms are encouraged to discuss their desire to pump with their supervisor.  For the space, a mother can request a clean room that locks with a chair and an outlet for the breast pump.  She’ll also need to pump several times a day without feeling she is not fulfilling her duties, being shamed or sabotaging her career.

Although many employers may not see it this way, ultimately allowing mothers the opportunity for breastfeeding success benefits everyone.  Breastfed babies are sick less often, which means mothers are present at work more often.  Breastfeeding is also great for a mother’s health.  This combination of health benefits is less taxing on the business’ health insurance too.  Mothers will also enjoy their jobs more and feel dedicated to their work if they are allowed to achieve these personal goals alongside maintaining their careers.

With strategic planning and commitment, mothers can be successful in meeting their breastfeeding goals when returning to work.

 

Clinging to Breastfeeding

Clinging to Breastfeeding“I did not get the birth I wanted so I clung to being able to breastfeed. We struggled…a lot. So much. He was not latching. It would take him 30-45 min for him to latch sometimes!

And then I had been in excruciating pain for two-and-a-half months before I realized he had a tongue and lip tie. (A previous LC told me he was not tied. So I thought the pain was normal.) Well we finally got it corrected and it was going well until it reattached 🙁

I went to multiple doctors and they all told me they couldn’t do the second revision and that I should just quit breastfeeding. I was definitely not quitting! I had worked so hard already! So we traveled to Chattanooga to get his ties revised. Bam! The doctor did it! It was amazing afterwards and we haven’t looked back!

Almost 11 months strong and no end in sight!”

Kimberly, Portland, TN – La Leche League

World Breastfeeding Week: How Breastfeeding Saves Money

This week we’re talking about the plethora of amazing benefits of breastfeeding in honor of World Breastfeeding Week 2016.  The theme this year is Breastfeeding, a key to sustainable development.  This concept encompasses many aspects of breastfeeding including the economic impact on families and the community at large.  There are many economic advantages of breastfeeding because, simply put, breastfeeding saves money.  Here’s how…

World Breastfeeding Week:  How Breastfeeding Saves MoneyMost moms would agree that breastfeeding is “priceless” and it is virtually costless too.  All that is truly necessary are willing and dedicated moms and babies.  At the family level, breastfeeding is less expensive than formula because there’s no purchase necessary.  In most cases, mothers can produce enough breast milk to sustain their babies for the recommended 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding and at least one entire year of breastfeeding.

Of course we would argue that nursing bras are great assets to help make breastfeeding easier and some mothers find breastfeeding more comfortable with nursing pillows, breast pads and nipple cream.  Some moms may need to visit a lactation consultant or purchase a breast pump, both of which can be pricey at first glance but may actually be free.  We’ll get to that in a minute.

On the flip side, it is estimated that formula costs between $800 and $3,000 a year, depending on the brand and specific needs of a baby.  Plus, there are added costs of bottles, bottle and formula accessories (cleaning supplies, nipples, caps, water, drying racks, measuring utensils, etc…) and the energy cost of getting formula from a store.

Those are all obvious cost savings, but there are many more ways that breastfeeding saves money.

Since the Affordable Care Act breastfeeding expenses are often tax deductable and some are covered by insurance companies.  Many insurance policies cover the rental or purchase of breast pumps as part of preventative healthcare initiatives.  They may also reimburse for lactation consultations.  If your insurance company does not cover these items, don’t be deterred by the sticker price.  Breast pumps and other breastfeeding necessities are tax deductable and can be purchased with pre-tax healthcare flex spending accounts.

All of this is fabulous news for your wallet, yet there are even more economic advantages of breastfeeding for you, your community and the nation.

As we all know, breastfeeding is the healthiest food on the planet for babies.  It is so healthy, it can save lives.  With its immune boosting capabilities, breast milk prevents many illnesses and diseases.  Analysts estimate that if 90% of moms exclusively breastfeed for at least 6 months, the U.S. would save around $13 million in healthcare costs.  Some of that would be savings for your own pocket, some for your employer and some for the country as a whole.  These healthcare savings include doctors’ visits, medications, hospital stays, surgical procedures and much more.  And they aren’t only for babies.  Because breastfeeding has health benefits for mothers too, moms are also included in these medical cost-savings. Plus, mothers have to miss less work when they or their children are not sick as often, which can increase earning potential.

The economic advantages of breastfeeding are quite astounding when you think beyond just the immediate impact of breastfeeding vs. formula.  Breastfeeding truly saves money on many levels.  Happy World Breastfeed Week!

Sources:  KellyMom.com and SavingsAdvice

La Leche League Leader Thanks Brave Breastfeeders

La Leche League Leader Thanks Brave Breastfeeders

When I first found out I would be having my oldest child I knew I’d breastfeed. My mother and sister had both breastfed their children so it was normal. Even with that pre-made decision I found myself stocking up on bottles ahead of his birth, because it was the culturally expected thing to do.  Who doesn’t need bottles?   I have memories of my mother breastfeeding her youngest and my sister nursing a wiggly baby.  But I never saw any one else breastfeed in the community.  Bottles were the feeding implement of choice, so I stocked up expecting to need them.  I didn’t think breastfeeding would fail, but it felt like bottles were required with having a baby.

Until my son arrived I had no idea how much that affected me.  I found myself pumping my breasts to allow family to bottle feed, which led to oversupply and mastitis.  Within weeks of birth I was getting questions about when I’d be weaning.  He wasn’t even out of his newborn clothes before the questions began. My husband’s family called regularly to ask, and well meaning friends and family would provide “facts” about when the breastfeeding benefits would run out. My own father was horrified that I breastfed in public without a cover.  I found breastfeeding impossible with one. I knew no one else breastfeeding at the time, and I was beginning to feel like a foreigner in my hometown.

It was after my second child was born that I found my support network at La Leche League meetings and the community. I ultimately decided my calling was to help others. For 10 years I’ve worked with many families to help them find support and, hopefully provide a tiny bit of a network for them while they cultivate their own. Awareness campaigns like World Breastfeeding Week are important in so many ways that it is hard to list them all. The one most important to me is visibility.  Because this week is when others, that may not be so visible the rest of the year, come out and bond over a shared interest to create that support network.

I owe my success in breastfeeding to those who came before me and instilled the desire to nurture my children through breastfeeding. Families who are willing to brave the world by breastfeeding their children in stores, cars, libraries, with or without covers all provide what we all need: a culture that views breastfeeding as normal.

For these reasons I want to say to these families:

You helped me feel comfortable enough to meet my goals, because I knew you had been there.

You helped me see that breastfeeding didn’t mean never leaving my home or always being the one hiding in the back room at get togethers.

You helped me, even if we didn’t speak. You helped me by being visible.

 

Cathy Heinz – La Leche League USA Council Member and Leader, IBCLC

World Breastfeeding Week: Breastfeeding and your Ecological Footprint

World Breastfeeding Week: Breastfeeding and your Ecological FootprintIt’s World Breastfeeding Week and we are excited to be celebrating with you.  Breastfeeding is about as natural as it gets and we’re going to be talking about how breastfeeding affects nature today.  The ecological benefits of breastfeeding is a major aspect of this year’s World Breastfeeding Week theme, Breastfeeding, a key to sustainable development. From the air, to the land, to the sea, breastfeeding is baby-friendly and planet-friendly.  Today we’re getting earthy and examining the ways that breastfeeding reduces your ecological footprint to help sustain the environment.

Making the choice to breastfeed is invaluable to your baby’s health as well as your own.  It’s also important for the health of our planet.  Truthfully, what’s good for the earth is also good for you and your family – thus the entire story comes full circle.  The International Baby Food Action Network’s (IBFAN) resource paper Formula for Disaster Weighing the Impact of Formula Feeding Vs Breastfeeding sums up the environmental argument for breastfeeding beautifully:

“Human milk is not skimmed, processed, pasteurized, homogenized, packaged, stored, transported, repackaged, dried, reconstituted, sterilized or wasted. More important to many people nowadays, it is not genetically modified (GM). It requires no fuel for heating, no refrigeration, and is always ready to serve at the right temperature. In short, it is the most environmentally friendly food available.” (Francis and Mulford 2000)

IBFAN enumerates 6 “S’s” of breastfeeding including “Sovereignty.”  This means that families have complete control over the production, distribution and consumption of the phenomenal renewable resource of breast milk.  Without corporate or governmental influence over this most valuable source of food, families need not be concerned with contaminants in the food system or how their feeding choices for their babies negatively impact the environment.  That’s a pretty powerful scepter to hold.

Breastfeeding can give families of any economic background the choice to respect the environment because breastfeeding has no ecological footprint. Breastfeeding produces “zero waste” in every sense of the term:  The air and climate are sparred the impact of manufacturing, processing, distributing and consuming baby food alternatives; no fresh water is wasted or aquatic homes are polluted; and no discarded packaging or chemical byproducts destroy our land.

On the other hand, manufacturing formula produces a tremendous amount of greenhouse gasses including carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide.  These each have an impact on global warming and climate change.  Similarly, the acquisition of ingredients for formula can cause air pollution too.  Most formula products are based on cow’s milk.  Therefore, formula puts a burden on the farming industry.  Cow’s need feed, water and land to survive, all extra resources being consumed.  And one of the byproducts of cows is methane gas, another greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming.

But the ecological footprint of alternatives to breast milk go well beyond just producing formula itself.  Packaging, containers, labels and marketing of formula use up resources such as cardboard, paper, aluminum, steel and other metals. The distribution of formula throughout the world via planes, trains, trucks and even the consumer’s car to get to a store add considerable toxic emissions into the air.  And then there’s looking beyond formula to bottles and bottle accessories that require even more manufacturing, disseminating and marketing, all of which adds to carbon outputs.  And each of these steps also contribute to toxic waste.

Of course there is also the energy cost of each of these aspects of formula too.  From operating a food manufacturing plant that produces formula or makes bottles, to transporting, storing and selling formula in stores, an exorbitant amount of energy is wasted in the formula industry.  Perhaps if there were no viable alternatives, the environmental impact wouldn’t be so offensive.  However that is simply not the case when breastfeeding can eliminate this tremendous toll on our environment.

There are many reasons to breastfeed and respecting the environment to reduce your ecological footprint is a huge consideration.  Breastfeeding is a powerful choice for you, your baby and the environment.  World Breastfeeding Week spreads awareness for the many benefits of breastfeeding as a means to sustainable development.  This certainly includes our most precious planet earth.

Source:  IBFAN.org