Archive for Monday, August 31, 2009


Breast-feeding is not only smart, it’s green

August 31, 2009


As an expecting or new parent, breast-feeding your baby is one of the smartest, and greenest, decisions you can make. Here are six reasons to give bottles the boot:

1. It saves energy

Breast milk is ready to go straight from the tap, and it’s already the perfect temperature for your baby — no heating required. Breast-feeding saves the energy needed to mass produce and distribute baby bottles and formula, and even recycling the bottles consumes energy. Breast milk, however, has its own convenient storage facility. While many parents make a few bottles of formula at once and store them in the fridge, breasts don’t need to be kept on ice.

2. It’s plastic-free

Most baby bottles on the market contain various forms of plastic. Plastic, usually made with oil, is one of the world’s worst environmental scorns. There are no hard-and-fast numbers about just how much petroleum is used to make plastic, but most studies estimate that it accounts for about 8 percent of the world’s yearly oil consumption. Besides draining fuel resources, plastics produce harmful and toxic wastes such as carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide and more, all of which are taking a toll on the air, water and soil, not to mention our health. Lastly, as much as people love to talk about recycling, many plastic bottles never even make it to the recycling plant, and even when they do, they aren’t typically recycled into new bottles. Plastics are not part of a closed-loop recycling plan. Instead plastics are downcycled into other products, a process that may not be energy- or cost-efficient.

3. It’s biodegradable

Baby bottles are a very specific product. While you may be able to repurpose some for other household applications (think paint dispensers and marble jars) they’re really only useful for one task — feeding your baby. You can buy plastic, glass or even Earth-friendly bottles, but in the end, you’ve got a product on your hands with limited usefulness and a limited lifespan. You can recycle some bottles, sure, but even with recyclable ones, not all parts are recyclable (such as the nipples and liners), and that contributes to our overstuffed landfill issue. We’re not ancient Greeks, but like them, our baby bottles do not biodegrade.

4. It reduces waste

Bottles and formula present a costly and excessive packaging problem. Boxes, paper and plastics that take energy both to manufacture and recycle are used to package bottles, bottle accessories and formula. Meanwhile, a mother’s milk is waste-free.

5. It reduces gasoline use

Breast-feeding stops those late-night trips to the grocery store for formula, and breast-feeding reduces the need for gasoline used to ship bottles and formula.

6. It reduces exposure to chemicals

Many brands of baby bottles in recent years have been shown to leach dangerous chemicals such as bisphenol-A (BPA) and phthalates both into babies’ milk and into the air, soil and water. You can choose lead-free glass baby bottles over traditional plastic ones, but these pose their own breakage and recycling issues. You can also buy nontoxic baby bottles, although these can be expensive. If you’re concerned about toxins in breast milk, research suggests you shouldn’t worry. While breast milk can contain low levels of toxins, formula presents much larger ecological problems. The most economical, nontoxic choice for your baby and the planet is breast-feeding.


lounger 8 years ago

Very Cool article. Smart, current and bold.

Leslie Swearingen 8 years ago

Very stupid article. Stupid, stone age, and lame. Humans are not cows. Buy bottles and formula for the love of God! I am not one of those who are going to do something just because someone wants to label it "green". Do I look like I give a damn?

spiff 8 years ago

"Humans are not cows."

Are humans mammals?

Eric Neuteboom 8 years ago

You're flat out wrong Irish. You shouldn't do it because someone calls it "green," you should do it because it's good for your baby.

madman 8 years ago

Just because you wouldn't want to do it, doesn't make it lame,stupid, or stone age. There is nothing wrong with the decision to breast-feed your baby. Do you know how much formula costs?

That being said, it is a decision that each mom has to make and I do disagree with people that make it sound like your are being an horrible mom if you don't breast-feed (I don't think this article is doing that at all though).

jonas_opines 8 years ago

"Humans are not cows."

You know, I've heard from a few at least semi-reliable sources that other types of animals give milk too. Wouldn't know myself, but I figure as long as we're not sticking machines onto women's breasts to harvest and sell milk wholesale (despite PETA) then there's not really that much of a comparison.

littleindia15c 8 years ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

denak 8 years ago

If at all possible, feeding your baby breast milk is the best option. However, it isn't always possible and mothers shouldn't be judge simply because they chose not to breastfeed. My son was 7 weeks premature and could not breastfeed. For the first 6 weeks of his life, he was given breast milk but after I went back to work, I had to switch to formula. He is 17 1/2 now and fine. No long term damage.

Also, I think it is important to acknowledge that just because one breastfeeds, does not mean that the parents do not use bottles. I know quite a few parents who store breastmilk in bottles so Dad can get up at night or whenever and feed his kid. Personally, I think this is more important than being green. It is a great opportunity for father and child to bond plus mom gets some down time.

So, yeah, it is good to breast feed but it isn't strictly a woman's domain/choice and whatever choice the parents make, as long as the child is healthy and loved, a mom isn't a bad mom simply because she chooses to..or not to..breastfeed.


Richard Heckler 8 years ago

Breast milk is the healthiest by far and builds a strong immune system. Which is a green $ point = healthy babies have less illness = less crying.

keepingthelighton 8 years ago

I remember when "smart" was associated with sarcasm such as: "smart alec", "smarty pants", etc. How did it become a term for agrandizement? Why can't green just be my favorite color? Since when did humans become a part of the animal kingdom (mammals)? We have the ability to process information and make choices ie. do I choose to breast feed my baby. It's a personal choice, not an environmental responsibility. Let's not get sucked into this.

Phil Minkin 8 years ago

keepingthelighton (Anonymous) says…

.... Let's not get sucked into this. Nice word choice.

Another plus about breast milk is it come comes in such cute containers

jonas_opines 8 years ago

"Since when did humans become a part of the animal kingdom (mammals)?"*Np2brGu9UIylJjfipO16QH3jzaKNznp5kfXoUejsrSrCNH/MASSIVEFacepalm.jpg?width=737&height=544

frank mcguinness 8 years ago

Irish, You are not only mean but ignorant. For once I wish Obama infact had a death panel so old ladys like you could get counseling.

It's not "green" to breastfeed, It's natural. Although you probably wouldn't know since I sincerely doubt anyone would ever want to procreate with you.

Why on earth would god create women with the ability to produce milk? So they can go to the store and buy cows milk?

I for one am sooo glad you are at the end of your lifecycle.

yoornotmee 8 years ago

Wow, Irish. Your ignorance is showing.

Bottles and formula - really? They're inconvenient (breastmilk is always ready), they're expensive ($60 a week for formula! Free to breastfeed), and most importantly - formula is nutritionally a poor substitute for a mother's milk. I give my daughter the best, and when it comes to food, breastmilk is the superior food.

burck1918 8 years ago

I wanted to breastfeed my baby, but unfortunately I was only able to pump a very, very small amount each time. My body only allowed me to feed my baby for 6 weeks, and even then, most of the nourishment my baby got was from formula. There are a lot of great reasons for breastfeeding, and it is best for baby, but sometimes it just is not humanly possible for some of us, no matter how hard we try.

beatrice 8 years ago

If it is green, then something is wrong with mom.

Katara 8 years ago

Irish (Irish Swearingen) says… Very stupid article. Stupid, stone age, and lame. Humans are not cows. Buy bottles and formula for the love of God! I am not one of those who are going to do something just because someone wants to label it “green”. Do I look like I give a damn? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I'll bet if Barack or Michelle Obama said it was the best thing, you'd be lining up to be the oldest mother in the book so you could breastfeed.

Just like you tried a 5 Guys cheeseburger (even though you claim to be a vegetarian) and you bought clothes just like Michelle Obama's (even though you claim you are too poor for fashion). ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Another plus to never have to worry about any product recalls with it. ;)

akuna 8 years ago

Irish, though you undoubtedly don't give a damn, your statement at 11:14 is very misguided.

Breast milk is far superior to formula. Maybe not for being green, but for the health of a child it is. Anyone who is interested in learning the differences between breast milk and formula this article is clear and concise.

rbwaa 8 years ago

Irish (Irish Swearingen) says…

Very stupid article. Stupid, stone age, and lame. Humans are not cows. Buy bottles and formula for the love of God! I am not one of those who are going to do something just because someone wants to label it “green”. Do I look like I give a damn?

======================== no, you don't look like you give a damn BUT you seem to express this ignorant and demeaning opinion over and over [see recent WIC article].

oh, by the way, "for the love of god," jesus was breastfed. how 'stupid' was that?!

jonas_opines 8 years ago

"oh, by the way, “for the love of god,” jesus was breastfed. how 'stupid' was that?!"

There's no Doctrine of Immaculate Consumption? That's too bad.

/chuckle, I'm kind of proud of that one

rbwaa 8 years ago

Immaculate Consumption --- good one!

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