Happy Earth Week! How Breastfeeding Benefits the Planet

April 25, 2014
Happy Earth Week! How Breastfeeding Benefits the Planet

You already know that breastfeeding provides many benefits to your baby (and to you and your family, too!). But one often-overlooked benefit is breastfeeding’s impact – or lack thereof – on the environment.

It’s no mystery as to why breastfeeding is the most natural and ecological way to feed your baby. There are no preservatives or risk of contaminants in breastmilk and it’s generally not processed in any way. Breastfeeding also saves energy – when baby is able to feed directly from the breast, there is no need to warm the milk. Mom’s body prepares all the right ingredients at just the right temperature. You could say that breastmilk is a renewable resource!

Feeding at the breast is also plastic-free, which ultimately reduces waste – from production to feeding, no products are needed, just mom and baby’s bodies. Bottles and packaging take energy to manufacture, promote, and recycle. So, whenever and for however long as possible, feeding directly from the breast is most efficient in terms of reducing waste and saving energy.

And, although using a breastpump to express breastmilk requires additional gear, accessories, and storage products, it’s still much more earth-friendly than formula feeding. First and foremost, the majority of these products are reusable. And, when you take into account the waste created by formula manufacturing and packaging, feeding breastmilk generates less waste and uses fewer natural resources – whether from bottle or breast.

Breastfeeding moms do their share in protecting the environment every day, and so do we. Medela is committed to reducing its carbon footprint and has participated in the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) WasteWise program since 2009. As a result, Medela established new waste prevention practices and improved recycling efforts. After all, it’s more than just protecting the environment for our generation – it’s about preserving it for our children (and our children’s children) to enjoy.

Was reducing your impact on the environment a factor in your decision to breastfeed?

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