Breastfeeding and Climate Change Group - Yorkshire and Humber

sally goodwin-mills's picture

Who are we?

We are a new, friendly and welcoming group of Infant Feeding leads working in a variety of settings who are passionate about supporting breastfeeding and increasing the number of women who choose to start and continue to breastfed their baby.

This year the World Breastfeeding Week theme was ‘Support Breastfeeding for a Healthier Planet’ and in the spirit of collaborative working a Yorkshire and Humber Breastfeeding and Climate Change group was set up.

Our aims are:

  • To increase breastfeeding rates 
  • To raise awareness and inform the public and local and national leaders how breastfeeding positively impacts climate change

About breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is a key factor in ensuring that all babies have the best start in life. The Department of Health recommends that all babies are exclusively breastfed for six months with ongoing breastfeeding for at least a year alongside the introduction of appropriate solid foods.

In both the short and long-term, breastfeeding protects mothers and babies against both acute and chronic diseases. Breastfeeding reduces the risk of babies developing many illnesses, provides protection against later childhood diseases, has a positive effect upon infant and maternal health and wellbeing, and promotes bonding between mother and baby. No other health behaviour has such a broad-spectrum and long-lasting impact on public health.  

How does breastfeeding impact climate change?

Breastfeeding contributes to healthier mothers and babies and improves public health. But it is far less known that breastfeeding also contributes to a healthier planet: it is environmentally friendly! Breastfeeding does not waste scarce resources or create pollution and has a negligible water footprint. Breast milk is a naturally-renewable resource that requires no packaging, shipping, or disposal thus reducing waste and the overall impact on the environment.

Breastfeeding is a free and safe resource uniquely suitable for human babies which helps to minimise environmental impact, as well as any effects of environmental exposure on both mother and baby. As a renewable natural food resource, breastmilk contributes to local food security. From a climate perspective breastfeeding is an opportunity for families to build climate resilience by protecting a safe and secure food source.

If you have any suggestions or would like more information please contact sally.goodwinmills@leeds.gov.uk

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