• The Ecology of Breastfeeding 19 May 2015 | View comments

  • Spring is well and truly here, and we are all, doubtless, getting out and about in nature, basking in the sun, and smelling the roses, but you are probably doing more for the natural world than you know by simply breastfeeding your children?

    For all of us who decided to breastfeed and found that we could, we, in the west, are very lucky, considering the many obstacles that often present themselves inbetween us and a successful breastfeeding relationship.
    So, a huge round of applause to those who made it, and let's spare a thought for those who lacked support and help when needed.

    How about a few moments to think about how we are optimising our health and that of the next generation?
    When we feed our children, for every day that they receive breastmilk they receive priceless benefits - the nutritional, the immunological, the psychological, the physical, and many more...
    We give our children a perfectly tailored nutritional fix at any given feed, give them oxytocin, wonderful bonding compounds that ensure psychological health, along with long-lasting assurance, confidence, and security. We aid palatal and dental development, and guard against obesity and diabetes and other health issues of the modern age.
    Our children learn portion control, and a special humanity bestowed by the unique bond that is the nursing dyad.

    When we forego alternative feeding methods we ensure that our families do not contribute to environmental
    pollution  - manufacturing processes, packaging, generated waste, the impact and cost of resultant ill-health and resultant lifestyle, all are issues associated with artificial feeding methods.
    Breastfeeding generates zero waste, needs no energy for heating and sterilising, and neither does it buy into multinational corporations that seek to dominate markets and look to exploit mothers and children with aggressive marketing.
    When we breastfeed we turn our backs on all of the above, and in doing so are building a better future for the next generation.
    A long term strategy for ecology and health is a wonderfully empowering and positive thing to give to our children.
    By safeguarding our own health, too, as well as that of our children, we ensure that we can pose less of a burden on health systems, guard against pharmaceuticals, and have a maximum healthy input in our lifetime.

    Choosing human milk can also be kinder to the rest of the earth's inhabitants, because when children have access to breastfeeding for however long they need, they have no need of milk from other species or modified alternatives derived from other species.

    In addition, we are ticking the box of sisterhood, because empowering yourself through your ability to feed your children without recourse to external food sources, and being visible doing so, means that we empower ourselves and other women, as well as children around about, who see that this is possible and normal.

    Breastfeeding is most definitely the greener way to nurture your children; so, with zero waste, great resource savings, in both the short and long-term, and with a positive effect upon the animal kingdom, we can definitely applaud ourselves on a worthwhile job.

    There is much more to breastfeeding that meets the eye.

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