Let me start by saying that this years Breastfeeding week, is all about decreasing our "carbon footprint" and doing better for our planet. I get that, its important every. single. human does their part to protect our planet.
But let me clarify one thing, yes feeding a baby directly from your breast does all these things to decrease waste and help the planet BUT its also public/government responsibility to help out our planet and do better for the planet. You know what else is a public/government responsibility? Having affordable access to lactation and breastfeeding services for families.
Breastfeeding is an essential service, sure it helps the planet but it helps the future of human kind! Every woman that chooses to breastfeed her baby is giving her child's microbiome the absolute best start to life. No formula or form of milk other than human milk can do this! If she continues to breastfeed, the ingredients in her milk decreased her baby's risk of getting many childhood illnesses you see today (otitis media, strept-throat, asthma, allergies). All these health conditions cost money. Healthcare costs. They cost energy. They weaken our planet.
I haven't even began to explain that a mother who chooses to breastfeed is also helping her own health by decreasing her need for insulin (if shes diabetic), decreasing her risk of heart disease, breast cancer, and some autoimmune diseases. This is all benefiting the world and energy in some way. Every bit counts. If the government promoted, supported, funded and recognized all the good that breastfeeding has to offer not only for public health but in turn the planet, they would see it is literally the most natural, selfless task there is and it literally starts the moment a new baby is born.
Access to education about breastfeeding by Lactation Specialist like IBCLC's everywhere like medical offices, hospitals should be mandatory, and offering affordable prenatal education so parents know ALL the benefits and see the change they are making in their child's growth and development but also for the world. Access to quality support DIRECTLY after your baby is born should be a mandatory. Access to quality support anytime in the post-partum period to ensure woman are safe and taken care of and supported is essential.
When these factors are not meant, that is us failing the change for our world. If the support was there and it was accurately provided by professionals trained in lactation and breastfeeding then our world would turn into a healthier, cleaner, safer place.
Decreasing out carbon footprint is great and all, and yes breastfeeding does definitely do all these things but we need to PROMOTE this and stop allowing formula marketing to go AGAINST the WHO codes by selling their products. Yes, formula NEEDS to be available for medically necessary interventions but breastfeeding needs to be considered the most normal and better way of feeding. This is only going to happen if the government starts to recognize this and ban formula marketing, and instead target families to educate them on the benefits of breastfeeding. Not only for the health of human kind, but for the health of our planet. Enough with the "fed is best" movement, obviously a baby needs fed it doesn't take a scientist to figure that one out. But at the end of the day breastmilk scientifically makes for a healthier human, it realistically lowers the waste in the landfills, it obviously costs nothing to do. So lets instead "support is best" and educate is best. Lets make the government really start doing things to better the world and have them start with what we consume in our bodies.
So, World Breastfeeding Week 2020 I have done my part in many ways by breastfeeding both my children, growing my own veggies, only doing laundry at night and turning the lights off when I'm not in the room. Now it's everyone else's turn to better the planet. One feed at at time.
Claire Dolmage IBCLC