Benefits to the Environment of Breastfeeding

The benefits of breastfeeding to the mother and the baby are well-known. However, the benefits extend much further than this. Breastfeeding also has many environmental benefits and this makes it the more green choice for mothers who have environmental concerns and take green living seriously, as well as benefiting the wider society. Here are some of the environmental benefits of breastfeeding.

Reduction of waste

To bottle feed a baby you need to buy formula milk. Formula milk is packaged in containers that need to be disposed of. If a parent opts to breastfeed their baby then they will have no packaging to dispose of. Furthermore, what happens to the baby bottles when you have finished using them? These too are thrown away. Again, breastfeeding reduces this wastage.


As there is no waste from breastfeeding, there are no non-biodegradable products being thrown in the refuse. Many of the items used in bottle feeding are made from products that are non-biodegradable. These items are usually not recyclable meaning that they have a limited life.

Less exposure to chemicals

Some brands of baby bottles have been shown to leak chemicals into the baby’s milk. This does not happen with breastfeeding. There are non-toxic bottles and glass alternatives available, but these can be significantly more expensive than the regular plastic bottles.

Saves energy

Breastfeeding requires only the energy of the mother and the baby. In comparison, bottle feeding uses a lot of energy in the manufacture of the equipment and the formula milk. Further energy is used in making up the bottles, storing them appropriately and heating them at home.

Uses less fuel

There are two reasons why breastfeeding a baby reduces the amount of fuel that you will use. First of all, breastfeeding reduces trips to the shop to buy baby milk, a task that is often undertaken separately to the main shop when you run out of formula milk. Secondly, as a breastfed baby is likely to be healthier, it stands to reason that you will visit the doctors less over the first few years of your child’s life.


Most of the equipment that is used for bottle feeding is made form plastic. The manufacture of plastic raises several environmental problems. Firstly, the creation of these products causes an increase of emissions of potentially harmful substances into the environment. Secondly, it is responsible for a large amount of consumption of oil. Finally, dependent upon the type of plastic that the bottles are made from, it is possible that you will not be able to recycle that particular type. Even if the plastic is recyclable, very few parents actually take the time to dispose of the bottles in such a way that they can be recycled.