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CEL home > April 2008

 

Breastfeeding

The environmental impact of our eating habits can be kept low by breastfeeding our children and using mainly family foods during weaning. This makes a very big difference to the environment as well as to health. Formula feeding increases energy use and landfill waste, as infant formula requires dairy animals, transportation, factories and packaging, and the manufacture and disposal of bottles and related equipment.

The UK has the second lowest breastfeeding rate in Europe, with health consequences for mothers as well as babies. Formula feeding is associated with a wide range of infant illnesses and allergies, many affecting adult life, and with an increased risk of breast and other hormonal cancers in women. 70% of UK mothers start breastfeeding, but most give up well before the recommended minimum of six months, mostly because of preventable or treatable problems. There is little NHS or cultural/social support for women to continue. The lowest uptake of breastfeeding is among the poorest families, so health inequalities are evident here too.

Useful websites: www.breastfeedingmanifesto.org.uk/
Baby Milk Action - www.babymilkaction.org

baby-led weaning reduces reliance on commercial babyfoods and encourages weaning at around 6 months:
http://babyledweaning.com/

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