10 Reasons that Breastmilk is Green



I'm still nursing my 20-month-old.  I'm sure some will think this is a very long time (perhaps even too long), while others will think it is a drop in the bucket.  [Twenty months is a long time by U.S. standards, but not by world standards. The WHO recommends breastfeeding for "up to two years of age or beyond."]  At any rate, I've been thinking about all the ways that breastfeeding is green, even though this isn't why I breastfeed.  I'm sensitive to the fact that not everyone is able to breastfeed exclusively, but no matter how much or how little you breastfeed, breastfeeding helps you, your baby, and the earth!  If you are pregnant and thinking about breastfeeding, I encourage you to get all the support you need to make breastfeeding work for you and your baby.

Ten Ways Breastfeeding is Eco-friendly
  1. Local -- folks, it doesn't get any more local than this
  2. Produced using renewable resources
  3. No energy spent on shipping
  4. No energy used to store, refrigerate, preserve
  5. No packaging (no concerns about BPA-lined cans!)
  6. No need to buy a delivery system such as bottles and nipples (no worries about chemicals leaching from plastic into milk)
  7. Reduces need for menstrual supplies and birth control (yes, I just used the word menstrual - still with me?)
  8. Reduces need for health care for baby
  9. Reduces need for health care for mom
  10. Breastmilk poop washes easily out of cloth diapers

Click HERE or HERE to read all about the benefits of breastfeeding.

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photo credit: Caitlinator via photopincc

9 comments:

  1. Congrats on 20mths! That is a huge achievement. We are coming up on 21mths and am loving every second of it.

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  2. 20 months of breastfeeding is very impressive! Good for you and great for your baby!

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  3. I was actually researching a book about green choices for children and was totally shocked when the author advised AGAINST breastfeeding, saying that all the toxins in the mom's body made it an unsuitable 'green choice' and that organic formula was healthier. Needless to say, the second I read that the author lost credibility with me. All the green reasons you mentioned make so much more sense!

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  4. Thank you, ladies!

    Heather, I see that claim every now and then, and I think it just demonstrates a phenomenal arrogance about how well we understand what is in breastmilk and what baby needs. Michael Pollan uses formula as a great example of the hubris of science in thinking it understands food, which acts as a system not a bunch of nutrients. He talks about, first they just thought you needed carbs, protein and fat. Then they figured out there were these things called vitamins. Later they discovered the DHA and so on.

    And how ridiculous to imagine that you could get all the toxins out of formula! Formula involves the whole manufacturing (including creation of dextrose and other weird things) and packaging process -- hello, BPA! Hello, weird remnants of processed food (remember when they found that high fructose corn syrup was often contaminated with mercury?) I know I'm passing some toxins on to my children, which is a good reason to fight for better chemical and pollution regulation, but I'll take my own body over cows and the formula industry any day.

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  5. Thank you for this! I formula-fed my first and I'm so thankful that I'm at a good place that I can read this and be encouraged instead of being defensive about it. Thank you for using such kind words. I had issues and didn't breastfeed for very long (pumped for the first month) but I'm determined to breastfeed our next child, whenever that time may be.

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  6. Miranda, Thank you for your honest comment. While some folks never even consider breastfeeding, others want to very much and it doesn't work out for them, for any of a number of reasons. I have 3 close friends who all wanted to breastfeed exclusively (and tried everything under the sun to increase production), but weren't able to. Since breastfeeding is so psychosomatic, I hesitate to emphasize the problems. I think it's best to assume that you WILL be able to, and accepting of yourself if things don't work out as planned. But it's hard to walk that line for sure.

    I hope you get the support you need to make it work the next time around!

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  7. awesome post!!!! i was pregnant with my second child when the similac recall came out because it contained beetle larve in the powder. I told many people who were "on the fence" about bf that they wouldn't have to worry about a recall on their breast milk. it is all natural :0)

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