Protecting Health and the Environment #EarthDay2022!

Mother holding infant

Earth Day 2022! A day “to celebrate the Earth, learn about the environment, and promote conservation.”

How does chest/breastfeeding support Earth Day? 

As the norm for infant feeding, chest/breastfeeding provides optimal health and development for infants and children and has long-term, lasting benefits for both members of the nursing couple. One benefit not celebrated as often is the positive impact of chest/breastfeeding on the environment. 

Chest/breastfeeding is an important way to protect the health of our families and our planet. It provides a food source that is ready to eat and just the right temperature, no need to heat or refrigerate. Human milk is locally produced, sustainable, and renewable. And in this time of ever-increasing climate-related and human-caused emergencies, chest/breastfeeding helps to ensure food security for infants and young children. Human milk does not require fuel, water, or electricity. It is always clean and does not need to be packaged, stored, or transported. Chest/breastfeeding saves lives and protects the environment.

Earth Day is a great day to increase our awareness of the climate-friendly benefits of chest/breastfeeding. It also is a time to highlight the importance of creating communities that support families to continue to breastfeed or chestfeed their children. In the U.S., more than 80% of parents initiate breastfeeding in the hospital; however, many will stop within a few days or weeks due to social, economic, or community pressures. In addition, inappropriate and aggressive marketing of breast-milk substitutes undermines a family’s efforts to continue nursing for the recommended 1 to 2 years and beyond and a community’s efforts to support the family. 

In 2020, the World Breastfeeding Week theme, Supporting breastfeeding for a healthier planet, focused on “the impact of infant feeding on the environment/climate change and the imperative to protect, promote and support breastfeeding for the health of the planet and its people.” That message remains important today.

Thank You to our Orange County Communities!

Chest/breastfeeding has a place in our Earth Day 2022 celebrations! On Earth Day and everyday, we send a thank you to our Orange County communities, to our Towns that have proclaimed their commitment to Breastfeeding Family Friendly Communities – Carrboro, Chapel Hill, and Hillsborough – and to our healthcare providers, childcare providers, businesses, and community partners for their support of the environment and families.

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