Supporting Breastfeeding

La Leche League Canada

Earth Day and Breastfeeding

on April 21, 2014


Question:  What is the one thing ONLY mothers can do to help reduce landfill waste, preserve valued energy, and help prevent deforestation?

Answer:  Produce breast milk to feed their children.

As people from around the globe commemorate “Earth Day” on April 22nd, human milk remains the ultimate natural renewable resource and perhaps the most overlooked way of helping to create a healthier planet.

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Human milk requires no resources for packaging, shipping or disposal. The production and disposal of artificial baby milk (infant formula) products adds to our environmental problems by consuming energy and producing waste.

Breastfeeding preserves valued energy. No energy is wasted producing human milk the way it is wasted when producing artificial baby milk. No precious fuel is used to transport the ingredients to make the product or to deliver to the consumer the artificial baby milk products themselves. No energy is used for sterilization or refrigeration unless pumped milk is being stored for later feedings.


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In “Mother Nature Loves Breastmilk”, by Dia Michels she says: “If every child in America were bottle-fed, almost 86,000 tons of tin would be needed to produce 550 million cans for one year’s worth of formula.  If every mother in the Great Britain breastfed, 3,000 tons of paper (used for formula labels) would be saved in a year.  But the formula is not the only problem. Bottles and nipples require plastic, glass, rubber, and silicon; production of these materials can be resource-intensive and often leads to end-products that are not recyclable. All these products use natural resources, cause pollution in their manufacture and distribution, and create trash in their packaging, promotion, and disposal. ”

The environment also pays a price for growing soybeans or raising dairy cattle to produce the artificial baby milk. Clearing land for pasture results in deforestation, which then results in land depletion and soil erosion. Growing soybeans commercially requires fertilization, pesticides and irrigation.

Exclusive breastfeeding is a natural child spacer. The contraceptive effect of exclusive and unrestricted breastfeeding offers 98% protection against another pregnancy in the first six months. In many women, continued breastfeeding will postpone return of fertility for a year or longer. Delayed return of menstruation also decreases the amount of feminine hygiene products that end up in landfill sites.



Although we live in a polluted world, scientists agree that human milk is still the very best food to nourish our babies. Breastmilk’s support of the immune system may even protect babies from some of the effects of pollution.

While breastfeeding is generally thought of first as a food source and secondly as an act of nurturing between a mother and child, it also has an enormous impact on the global ecosystem. Breastfeeding not only grows a healthy mother and child but also helps to sustain a healthier planet for everyone.

Celebrate Earth Day by breastfeeding your baby or thanking a breastfeeding mother for taking care of the planet!


By Fiona, La Leche League Canada Leader



If you need more information or have a breastfeeding problem or concern, you are encouraged to talk directly to a La Leche League Leader.  In Canada, Leaders can be located by clicking or Internationally






One response to “Earth Day and Breastfeeding

  1. […] Visit link: Earth Day and Breastfeeding | Supporting Breastfeeding […]

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