Saturday, February 28, 2009

the most renewable source of food for babies

These days most young mothers try really hard to breastfeed despite the fact that it isn't often easy or pleasurable!

But, being one of those women for whom it was actually a source of incredible pain and illness, I thought it was worth a post on one of the many secondary reasons why we should persevere beyond it all to continue breastfeeding. (Naturally, the primary reasons are the optimal health of our baby and our bonding with it).

Breastfeeding actually reduces our carbon footprint.

That's because breastmilk is the most sustainable human food source around, and has the least impact on our environment.

Infact Canada, Canada's breastfeeding advocate, points out that infant milk formula requires deforested land for cow pastures (and alternatively soybean crops), fuel, electricity, transport and processing, antibiotics and hormones, water, cleaning agents, labels, bottles, and rubber nipples, not to mention extra health care and medication for those babies for whom formula isn't suitable (I can attest to this - I was a formula baby, and suffered continually from chronic indigestion - or colic - for the first year of my life).

The same source calculated that to replace breastmilk, it would take 135 million lactating cows to make the artificial milk required to feed the babies of India alone. That's a lot of hormone and antibiotic-fed, methane-producing animals! Meanwhile, a lactating woman would only need a few hundred extra calories a day - easily met by wholegrains and locally-grown vegetables and fruits - to feed her child.

And that if half of Canadian babies were bottlefed for six months, that would send more than 15 million tin cans to landfill.

All good reasons.

It's a worry that breastmilk has been found to have concentrated amounts of environmental toxins. But it's still best for babies on every count of health. Moreover, concentrated infant formula is also likely to be contaminated with similar toxins.

No comments:

Post a Comment