The Ecological Costs of Formula Feeding

The Realities of Breastfeeding

It’s world Breastfeeding week!  Breastfeeding is a topic near and dear to my heart.  I have struggled to breastfeed my 3 children.  It wasn’t easy at all.  I had almost given up multiple times.  When I read about breastfeeding online, people come off as rude, condescending, blaming, and often place guilt on mothers for not doing it.  I’m not going to do any of these things.  Breastfeeding is often painted as roses and butterflies – and it’s not that way for many many many women.  It wasn’t that way for me.

This week, I’m going to talk the realities of breastfeeding – and some ways I have dealt with them (often through sheer stubbornness) to create a healthy extended breastfeeding relationships.

I think the benefits of breastfeeding are well-known – so I am not going to replay the same old thing.  Rather, I was hoping to look into the ecological benefits of breastfeeding over formula feeding .  I wanted to answer the following questions…

  • How does breastfeeding save energy?
  • How does it save our natural resources?
  • How is breastfeeding good for our planet?

A.  It is well-known that women who breastfeed consume less waste. There is no need to buy tin cans filled with formula- that are then thrown out and sit in landfills, or toted off in trucks to be recycled.  Breastfeeding is completely sustainable – producing little waste.  The materials needed for a successful breastfeeding relationship (that I can think of and have experienced) is as follows…

  1. An electric pump.  It uses energy to run the pump.  If Mom is working – the pump is used more.
  2. The energy and resources it takes to make pump accessories, bottles, etc.
  3. Water usage that it takes to clean bottles, pump accessories, etc.

There are definite ways to cut down on this waste.

  1. Stay away from the plastic bag storage system.  Only use bottles designed for the pump.  They are washable – so you are not throwing away excess plastic.
  2. Buy a good double electric pump in the beginning.  Just do it.  It’s tax-deductible.  The pump will be good for multiple children.  No need to buy another pump – ever.  Stay away from those over the counter manual pumps.  You will just end up spending more money and consuming more materials when you have to buy more.
  3. Take care and store your accessories properly.  Make sure your tubing, shields, valves, etc are properly cleaned and stored.  This way, another baby comes along, you can just use the same equipment.
  4. Hire a good lactation consultant who will help you get a good start on your journey.  LC fees are covered by a lot of insurance companies.  It just makes sense.  While breastfeeding is natural, it’s difficult.  Both Mom and Baby need to learn (or relearn if mom has fed multiple babies).

B.  Exclusive breastfeeding (reliable for the first 6 months) reduces unwanted repeat pregnancies.  In Africa, breastfeeding is more effective than other birth control methods (http://www.infactcanada.ca/ren_res.htm).

C.  The production of infant formula increases the need for lactating cows – and thus more land.

D.  Not only are more animals and more space needed to produce formulas, but also more energy – to create bottles, to create formula cans, to make the formula and additives.

 

From an ecological standpoint, breastfeeding is more gentle on the earth.

Can you think of any other ways that breastfeeding might be more gentle on the earth than formula?  I would love to hear!

Lisa
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Ruby Bums

 
About Lisa

Hey! Thank you so much for stopping by. I'm Lisa - a homeschool mom of 3 (2 boys and 1 girl). I care about the strength of the family in America, and often blog about babies/kids, natural parenting, homeschool, and marriage. Before you leave, please sign up for my monthly newsletter (on the top right). If you do, you will be well rewarded with notification of all giveaways and sales - which will not be announced on the blog. Google+ Profile

Comments

  1. My hospital provided a breast feeding coach who showed me positions and told me all the stuff they don’t always have online. I would’ve been lost without her. The hospital policy can be a huge factor in breast feeding, some hospitals really push fot breast feeding, while others can’t wait to stick a bottle in those babies mouths. I picked my hospital because they have a good reputation for encouraging bf moms and provide lactose consultants. I know that you don’t always get to choose your hospital, but if its an option, I’d recommend expecting new moms to research where to have their baby, if they know bf is something they know they want to do.
    Amy mayen recently posted…Bitty Twin Boy OutfitMy Profile

  2. Lisa I like your point of view for today’s topic. Purchasing with future babies in mind will definitely save in the long run. Its also a good idea to stay away from companies that make products other then breastfeeding items. This is to ensure that they truly have one agenda, establishing a nursing bond between baby and mom.
    Tati recently posted…Bouts of Breastfeeding ChallengesMy Profile

  3. What a great article! We have touched on this benefit of breastfeeding recently in my M.O.M.S. (Mothers of Milk Support) Group. This is not one of the benefits people hear of as often so it’s great to see someone post on it. :)
    Kristin Whitehead recently posted…Money-makin’ Monday: Instant Cash SweepstakesMy Profile

  4. I love the angle of your post. Mother’s are judged enough that we don’t need to judge as well. I ended up pumping for my kids for 17 months and I’m so happy that I was able. I was the third owner of my Medela double breasted electric pump and I ended up donating it to my hospital when I was done. I loved it!Thanks for linking up to my weekly BlogLovin Hop. Hope to see you this Thursday. Besos, SarahBlogger at Journeys of The Zoo
    Sarah De Diego (Journeys of The Zoo) recently posted…All-Inclusive Weekly #Giveaway Linky up to August 13My Profile

    • Yes, you are right Sarah. There is wayyyy too much judgement. Wayyy to much I’m better than you are.

      Sick of it.

      It’s time to support each other – no matter the choices we make.

      WOW, you are a rock star – pumping 17 months. The sight of my pump makes me sick to my stomach. I hate it! I look up to Moms who can pump – and get so much milk. I worked with my first, and I had to supplement, because I just couldn’t pump out enough. I would pump during lunch, then go home to feed him. I would pump multiple times a day. I would pump at night after feeding him, and I would get up in the middle of the night to pump. I tried and tried but couldn’t.

      Thank you so much for stopping by, Sarah. I love seeing you here. Have a wonderful week! i will also link up this week!
      Lisa recently posted…Happiness Can Set You FreeMy Profile

  5. I love this post Lisa! Breastfeeding is indeed gentler on the earth and I love your tips. I wish I’d had a better support system in place when I had my first. I thought it would be natural and easy and I really struggled. In the end I wasn’t able to breastfeed her and felt like a complete failure. You are so right about many breastfeeding sites placing guilt on mothers. With better support I was able to breastfeed my second child but it wasn’t always easy.
    Jody recently posted…DIY Homeschool: Pre-K Curriculum GuidelinesMy Profile

    • Yeah, that’s the big misconception about breastfeeding. Just because it’s natural, it will be easy.

      Not so.

      It’s not easy and woman need a huge support. Not fake support, but really 100% support. This is so true for me because I was the first in my family to breastfeed.

      Thank you so much for your comment!
      Lisa recently posted…Happiness Can Set You FreeMy Profile

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