Thursday, June 15, 2006

Global warming and breastfeeding

In Al Gore's book from the 1980s, he highlights breastfeeding as one way to serve the earth's ecology.

We found this intriguing when first read years ago, so we wrote up the concept in an article for a conference on Breastfeeding as a Women's Issue held at Georgetown University in the early 1990s.

Here's the jist of it:

Breastfeeding causes no plastic or pharmaceutical waste production.

Breastfeeding causes no dairy pollution, including methane and waste run off.

Breastfeeding demands no fossil fuel for its preparation.

Breastfeeding helps space births, especially if the Lactational Amenorrhea Method is used, which lets the mom know when other birth control is needed to ensure adequate spacing.

Also, while not in the article,

Lack of breastfeeding causes excess illness, demanding excess use of antibiotics, not always used properly, contributing to development of resistant strains.

AND

Lack of breastfeeding also causes excess mortality globally, and, yes, here in the United States. Somehow, excess mortality does not seem like a good thing, ecologically, or any other way.

Finally, to end on a lighter note, non-breastfed babies produce smellier, more copious stools.

So, for the environment of the earth (and for the environment of those who live with the baby) breastfeeding is the way to go.

Now, if only our social systems would support it...

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