It’s a joy for mothers to nurse their new bundles of joy. According to a recent Report by the British Medical Journal, breastfeeding not only nourishes the young ones , but also has multiple benefits to the environment.

Based on the evidence presented by the study, breastfeeding benefits all society since it does not require the utilisation of energy to produce formula. On the other hand, breastfeeding reduces carbon emissions as it does not create air pollution. Also, it’s a renewable source of energy :).

How Baby Formula Affects the Environment

Baby formula is produced through an industrial process that synthesizes various forms of milk. First, here are the most common types of baby formula;

Baby formula
Baby formula

Plant based Formula

These types of formulas are extracted from plants such as soy, which is used to make soy milk. They are vital as they do not present allergy potential to infants as cow based formula. However, in the changing environment, soybean allergies also exist.

Milk Based Formula

Milk based formula is derived from cows milk that has been altered to resemble human mother’s milk. The milk is then fortified to add more nutrients.

Non-Milk Based Formula (Protein hydrolysate formulas)

Hydrolysate formula is derived from extensively or partially hydrolysed proteins. They form an option for infants who are allergic to both soy and cow’s milk.

All these types of baby formula involve industrial processes that require massive energy to convert either milk , plant or protein into a consumable product.

There are over 300,000 children born globally per day. A significant percent of these children are unable to breast feed and have to rely on bottled milk or formula. A new born child is expected to consume about  1.5-3 ounces (45-90 milliliters)  of milk every 2-3 hours. The volume increases until the age of six months when they start to consume solid foods.

A healthy infant requires 150ml (5oz)-200 ml (7oz) of baby formula per kilogram. The volume of formula increases the child gains more weight. A child will consume 2-3 cans of baby formula a week.

Consuming baby formula not only adds to the greenhouse emissions but also the dumping of the containers.

How Does Breastfeeding save the Environment?

Sustainable Green Packaging

Unlike baby formula, Breast milk comes in a biodegradable packaging. Baby formula is packaged in tin and plastic containers. If  all the 300,000 children born everyday were to be fed by formula, thousands if not tons of metal and paper would be required to sustain the quenching demand.

Reduced Carbon Emissions

Milk based formula is derived from fresh cow’s milk. Therefore, millions of cows have to be raised to produce milk for both adults and infants. Animal contribute about 30 percent of greenhouse emissions. Additionally, it takes immense energy to rare animals, making formula a very high energy and carbon intensive meal.

Breast Milk is readily available and is provided by the mother at no extra cost to emissions

Environmental Conservation

A single cow requires about one hectare of land to live, feed and produce milk. Daisy farming has been identified as one of the major pollutants and resource intensive practises. 

Soy based formula also has its shortcomings. Soy farming requires heavy fertilisation and fumigation. The chemicals in the pesticides and fertilisers are harmful to the environment.

Both soy and dairy farming contribute to deforestation as farmers clear natural forests to make more room for the commercially viable farm practises.

Reduced Food Miles

Breastfeeding requires little or no transportation. It’s the true definition of consuming local goods. Infant formula requires an extensive process from transportation, processing  and distribution for thousands of kilometers. The whole process consumes large amounts of energy and contributes to emissions from the trucks.

Reduced Exposure to Toxins

Millions of infants and fetuses have been exposed to harmful toxins. Also , in light of the numerous scandals involving formula companies, it is evident that infants have been continuously adversely affected by formula and its production process. Due to this , babies have been exposed to harmful toxins.

Breast milk is contained in an eco friendly environment that serves to ensure the baby is healthy for the rest of its life.  Breast milk provides teh infant with the necessary antibodies to weed off dangerous diseases. Thus, the child falls sick less often and is not exposed to harmful antibiotics.

In light of the numerous campaigns that support breast feeding , the call to save the world is ringing. Answer it and campaign for the future of our generation. We understand that there are inevitable cases that cause babies to depend solely on baby formula, this is a call for these corporations to use more sustainable ways to give these infants a chance to see a greener world. #savetheplanet #savethechildren #savetheearth