Thursday, June 05, 2008

World Environment Day: Infant feeding and climate change

Today is World Environment Day.

Colleagues in the Malta Breastfeeding Foundation have producted a power point show on infant feeding and the environment. You can download it (about 1 MByte) by clicking:

It looks at the resources used to produce formula compared to breastfeeding. Though it contains some figures on methane production from dairy cows, the rest of the production chain has not yet been quantified. Baby Milk Action has been trying to raise money to do this. We suggested in the Baby Feeding Law Group report submitted to the UK government consultation on its formula marketing regulations that it try to calculate the environmental benefit and cost savings of its proposed weak regulations in comparison with implementing the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and subsequent, relevant World Health Assembly Resolutions (we were able to provide in our submission information on health benefits and associated savings from those). The government did not do so.

Brazil's implementation of the Code and Resolutions and promotion and support of breastfeeding has seen the median breastfeeding duration increase from less than 3 months to 10 months. That is a significant amount of formula and bottled not produced and transported and feeds made up. If other countries followed Brazil's example, the impact may be significant. We would like to commission someone to do the calculations. If you are interesed in helping to fund this or have the expertise, please let me know.

I would also be interested in feedback on the power point show. It is addressed to mothers, rather than policy makers. What do you think of this approach?

1 comment:

Sarah Cutajar said...

as many mothers are now aware of their responsibility towards the environment it is a good idea to target them in this way. one only hope/wishes that those powers that be who are also concerned with the environment realise that breastfeeding can make a difference, and that they do their utmost to encourage it.