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.