Is Breastfeeding Zero Waste?

The beginning of September marks a week focusing on reducing our waste in the UK and what better time is there to think more about how infant feeding habits might be adapted to reduce waste.

In May 2019, the UK declared a climate emergency. Many in power are focusing on the big things, but what about the small things parents can do, and make a difference within in every house hold?

The International Baby Food Action explain their idea of Green Feeding;

it means promoting, protecting and supporting optimal breastfeeding.  Breastfeeding is a valuable natural resource that leaves almost no carbon or water footprints, needs no packaging and creates no air pollution from manufacturing and transport.

There is a common misconception, that breastfeeding is free. This assumption leans to another, that it’s environmentally friendly, or Zero waste, but this simply is not true. Here are some common things that go along with the modern UK feeding experience and what you can do to lessen the impact.

Maternity/Nursing Clothes

Buy secondhand?

Growing bodies usually necessitate a set of larger clothes for a time, but do they need to be new?
Many maternity and nursing friendly clothes are lightly worn and could be passed on to a friend, or sold to another family.

The top pictured, a snazy going out top has been through many owners before me and I didn’t pay a penny for it ๐Ÿ™‚

Beyond Babyhood, many parents find themselves wearing normal clothes and lifting up / pulling down clothes to feed/pump – nothing special needed!

Consider..
Asking friends for their unused items
Second hand clothes groups – Can I breastfeed in it

Cloth Breastpads

I cant think of many other things in new parentdom that are covered in more excessive plastic. There is another way..

There are ones made from cotton, silk, bamboo, hemp, wool even. Some people make their own and others buy second hand. All wash and last longer than you really need them for breastfeeding journey.

They are reused in this house on bums and faces and much more ๐Ÿ˜…

Consider..
Reusable cloth breast pads

Milk Storage

Another ‘must have’ item that generates much waste, are the single use milk storage bags. Whilst they do offer a level of convience, do they to be disposable for the healthy baby?

Many patents are using multiple use items, some even recycling food jars for short term storage.


Consider..
reusing plastic storage bottles
switching to glass jars for storage (not in the freezer!)

Bottles

With 100’s of thousands of babies born every year, imagen how many ‘just in case’ purchases are made before birth.

See the size of the new baby’s stomach, then look at the size of the bottles above, and the ore made bottles with formula in them..

Cup feeding is safe and a green feeding alternative to bottles. Many babies over 6 months can go straight to using spouted cups & skip bottles all together.

Stomach sizes

If you do need them, often there are loved ones just waiting to do something to help you out, use them!

Consider..
Not buying before you need them

Not changing that sizes

Cup feeding

Breastfeeded Beyond Babyhood

Continuing to breastfeed along side the introduction of home foods, locally grown and made can reduce the carbon footprint of infant feeding even more.

First steps nutrition have lots of resources on eating well for little ones, with breastfeeding alongside of course ๐Ÿ™‚

Scientific research by Katherine A. Dettwyler, PhD shows that 2.5 to 7.0 years of nursing is what our children have been designed to expect (Dettwyler 1995).

Kelly Mom

In the second year (12-23 months), 448 mL of breastmilk provides:
29% of energy requirements
43% of protein requirements
36% of calcium requirements
75% of vitamin A requirements
76% of folate requirements
94% of vitamin B12 requirements
60% of vitamin C requirements
โ€” Dewey 2001

Consider

Breastfeeding beyond babyhood

So is breastfeeding Zero waste?

Not quite.. But maybe now you have some ideas about how to move closer towards it ๐Ÿ™‚

What will you change? Let us know on Facebook and Instagram.


Ps.. Did you know about…

Sunday Sessions

These are a new way of offering feeding & parenting support in High Wycombe, run by me a Breastfeeding Specialist and Paediatric nurse. 

There are two parts, a drop-in Breastfeeding Support Session
& an Antenatal Breastfeeding Workshop

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s