Wednesday, February 16, 2011

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Breastfeeding better for mom, baby, and the planet

Along with eventually choosing cloth diapering for our family as a way to save money and be easy on the environment, I chose breastfeeding early on as the best thing for us – for many of the same reasons.

Most breastfeeding advocates tout the benefits of breastfeeding for the baby and the mother, but think of all the benefits for (like cloth diapers) the wallet and the planet. We saved untold amounts of money on formula while I nursed my son, not to mention the amount of time, energy and water we saved not having to constantly wash and prep bottles. Because breastmilk was always easy on my son's stomach, he rarely ever spit up or had terrible diapers, so we saved "loads" of time not having to change and wash itty bitty baby outfits, too. Plus, most of his infant clothes are still in great shape for use by another baby down the road.

Here are some of the ways we made breastfeeding an efficient, and green, process for our family:
  • I went back to work when my son was about 9 weeks old, but chose a day care close by so that I could walk over to nurse him just as easily as I could spend time expressing milk. This meant quality nursing time for both of us even while I was working, and less time pumping in a spare office crowded with dusty file cabinets. I also can't tell you how nice it was to get to see him every few hours throughout infanthood.
  • Cloth breast pads. I bought up some on clearance before my son was even born and washed them with his other laundry as I used them. I did tend to leak a little for the first several months so this saved lots of waste that I would have been creating had I used disposable pads, not to mention that I'm sure the cotton was easier on my skin.
  • Reusable bottles. I bought several bottles that screwed directly onto my pump so that when I did have to use it, I didn't have to keep purchasing bags that were only good for one use.
Of all the choices I had to make becoming a mom for the first time, hands down, breastfeeding gets my vote for the most environmentally-friendly and cost-effective one, not to mention the special bond and all the other benefits it gave both me and my son.

Jessica is a working mom of one toddler and recently started blogging about her juggle with going green at tangledupingreen.blogspot.com.

11 comments:

julie said...

i am a huge fan of breast feeding. i have a really hard time accepting another animals milk in powdered form. these boobs were made for a reason (or a couple of reasons!)

Brenda said...

I really want to breastfeed, I'm 26w1d and plan on breastfeeding my baby.

Erica said...

I just want to say "AMEN" to that! I feel so lucky (and a little proud) of my (eventual) breastfeeding success. It wasn't always an easy road, but it was so worth it! My entire family could not believe how our little one never seemed to spit up or vomit - my mom was sure I would need oodles of newborn outfits and sheets and pjs but with the combo of non-exploding cloth diapers and a tummy settled and happy with breast milk, we did very few clothing or sheet changes in a day (or night!) Not to mention no bottle prep and or washing at all hours!

Cassie said...

That's awesome. I was able to come home and nurse my son on my lunch break and I think it would be wise of more companies to accommodate this (on site daycares or flexible breaks when possible). Less stress for the mom about pumping enough ounces...

For moms going back to work, Kellymom.com has great pumping advice and I learned a lot, such as babies need about 1 oz. per hour that they are gone from mom (many daycares pressure moms to send bigger and bigger bottles the older the baby gets but it's not needed).

Nicole Renee said...

I formula fed my first son and now I am breastfeeding my newborn, I can say that breastfeeding is easier and so much better for my family. We have already saved so much money by using cotton breast pads and not buying formula. Not to mention how great it makes me feel to know I am the one making his food, I have complete control over what I eat, therefore I have control over what he eats.

Elizabeth K said...

You must be very thankful--what a blessing to be able to leave work to nurse your baby! Thanks for a sharing a glimpse of your life with the rest of the world. There are many benefits to breastfeeding, but for many women it is a challenge. Parenting is very humbling and it is amazing how God uses it for own spiritual growth.

Auntie Aimee said...

i love BFing my little guy. I always knew it would be the choice for us and i was so happy that we both took to it so easily!

Lara + Chris said...

I'm so excited to BF our LO and it's one of the areas I put a lot of pressure on myself...I get so nervous about whether I'll be able to do it or not! I hope that with a lot of support we won't have any issues. Thanks for this article!

Nicci said...

Breast is best! I think it really says something about the mother. I always have a lot more respect for moms who BF compared to those who use formula. (or, I guess I should say those who CAN BF. I know there are some situations in which one could not)

Maria said...

I agree with this, breastfeeding is great!!

jessw said...

To Lara ... don't think of it as pressure on yourself, but do be persistent - it is so worth it!