Breastmilk: Mother’s Best Gift to Baby and Nature

Quezon City. Citizens’ groups celebrate World Breastfeeding Week (1-7 August 2009) by taking great pride in the huge health and ecological benefits of breastmilk.

In a joint statement, breastfeeding crusader Arugaan and waste and pollution watchdog EcoWaste Coalition assert the supremacy of breastmilk as the most complete and “ first Zero Waste food” readily available for babies.

Ines Fernandez of Arugaan, an affiliate of the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) and the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) extolled breastfeeding as the nature’s way of nurturing humanity.

“It is a natural and renewable resource produced by breasts and containing all the essential nutrients that a baby needs to grow and develop. Unlike commercial infant formulas, breastmilk does not create pollution,” Fernandez said.

“You do not need to clear forest for pasture. You do not have to cut trees for the milk labels, cartons and promotional gimmicks. You do not need to mine mountains to produce tin cans. You do not need bottles and nipples, waste water and fuel, and cause landfill build-up from discarded packaging and feeding gadgets,” she pointed out.

“As trees turn to the sun, babies turn to their mothers’ breasts. Such is the nature’s way,” stated Fernandez, who breastfed her daughter in 1975 and has been an active champion of breastfeeding since 1981.

The EcoWaste Coalition fully agrees with Arugaan as the pro-environment network describes breastmilk as the “first Zero Waste food.”

“As the first Zero Waste food for humans, breastmilk has capably lessened the environmental and climate impacts caused by the production, distribution, marketing, consumption and disposal of so-called breastmilk substitutes and other products linked with their use,” Gigie Cruz of the EcoWaste Coalition and the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA).

Cruz, who also breastfed her daughter, stressed that the packaging of infant formula consumes huge amounts of tin, paper, plastic and other resources that is unnecessary if only the numerous benefits of breastfeeding are duly recognized and protected.

Arugaan and the EcoWaste Coalition also cited breastfeeding as a necessary strategy to cut the use and the volume of menstrual pads, tampons and diapers being thrown to the bins and onto the country’s teeming dumpsites.

“The tremendous health, ecological, economic and psycho-social benefits of breastfeeding should unite us all in supporting, protecting and promoting our culture of breastfeeding, and in defending it from deceptive advertising and chemical pollution,” the groups said.