Along with other organizations and many families in Canada, Best Start by Health Nexus celebrated World Breastfeeding week in October. This year’s theme was: Support breastfeeding for a healthier planet.
Breastmilk is a natural, renewable food that is environmentally safe because it is produced and delivered to the baby without pollution, packaging or waste.
Infant formula requires farming, storage, pasteurization, processing, packaging, shipping and recycling. Also, the dairy industry is a large contributor to methane emissions. Feeding infant formula leaves a major environmental footprint that contributes to the depletion of natural resources, environmental degradation and greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming and climate change.
Raising awareness about the environmental impact of how an infant is fed is crucial for our planet. Protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding safeguards the environment. The more families that breastfeed, the greater the impact on human and environmental health!
But, not all mothers can or want to breastfeed…
The Baby-Friendly Initiative recognizes that there are medical and personal reasons for the use of infant formula. Families that make an informed decision to formula feed deserve individual guidance and support. Formula feeding is linked with increased health risks and parents need to learn how to lessen these risks as much as possible.
How long should a baby breastfeed or receive breastmilk?
Global, national and provincial experts recommend:
- The early initiation of breastfeeding within 1 hour of birth.
- Exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life.
- Continued breastfeeding up to 2 years of age or beyond, with introduction of nutritionally adequate and safe complementary (solid) foods at 6 months.
Written by Marg LaSalle, Lead Assessor, BFI Ontario.
For more information about the Baby-Friendly Initiative, visit www.bfiontario.ca.