You already know that breastfeeding brings so many benefits to you and your baby, but did you know that by breastfeeding, you are also saving the environment? It’s estimated that moms who breastfeed save at least 4,700L of water, reduce energy consumption that can charge 200 million smartphones, and save tons of metal and paper that are usually added to landfills every day! Know more about the ways you are totally saving the world right now, mama!
When you decide to breastfeed, you help lessen the demand for the alternative breast milk that is dairy. Did you know that growing a single cow on average releases 70 to 120 kilograms of methane per year? Methane is a greenhouse gas that is 23 times higher than the effect of carbon dioxide! So when you decide to breastfeed, you help lessen the demand for dairy. According to the U.K Research and Innovation Future Leaders program, when moms breastfeed for at least six months, they save roughly 95 to 153 kilograms of carbon emissions. So, go on, momma! Keep on pumping!
The water footprint of milk powder has been estimated at 4,700 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of powder. Additionally, infant formula is not sterile and can only be made safely with water heated to 70°C, making this an estimate of 1.5 million kilograms of carbon dioxide on a baby’s first year of life!
As mentioned, infant formula can only be made safely with water heated to 70°C so it’s no secret that uses up electricity to produce! But did you know that this amount of energy can be compared to charging 200 million smartphones in a year? Can you imagine?
For a mother who chooses to breastfeed, you will only be needing a working milk supply. While nursing your baby is generally more eco-friendly, there are other things to consider: maternity clothes, cloth breast pads, pumping supplies, and/or milk storage. Still, breastfeeding usually does not require packaging, shipping, or disposal. In 2009, research shows that in the USA alone, 550 million infant formula cans, 86,000 tons of metal, and 364,000 tons of paper are added to landfills every day–and this doubled since then! Think about the waste you’re avoiding by giving your baby breast milk!
Breastfeeding acts as natural birth control. This means that when you feed your baby breast milk, your body naturally stops ovulating and you’ll temporarily stop getting your period. Breastfeeding saves up on sanitary hygiene products that generate a total carbon footprint of 15 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually! Don’t forget about the packaging–they may contain non-biodegradable plastic and other synthetic materials, making a package of conventional sanitary pads equivalent of about four plastic bags.
Now you know that while giving the beneficial nutrients to your baby, you’re also giving Mother Earth some love!
- How Breastfeeding Contributes to A Healthy Environment, January 2015
- Benefits of Breastfeeding for the Environment and Society, June 2016
- Pippa Neill, Breastfeeding could help tackle climate change, October 2019
- Breastfeeding can help tackle climate crisis but it’s on governments, not mums to save the world, October 2019
- Dominique Mosbergen, 5 Ways to Make Your Period Better for The Environment, February 2019
- Breastfeeding May Help Save The Environment, October 2019
- Tessa Clark, Is Breastfeeding Zero Waste?, February 2019