City Hippy

The diary of our struggle to live a green and fair life.

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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

NEWS: Breastfeeding rate grows

There's no debate about the fact that breastfeeding is one of the greenest things you can do as a new mother. Recent articles in the Ecologist (April 2006) and The Green Parent (June/July 2006) have highlighted the environmental consequences of bottle feeding. As the Ecologist so eloquently summarises:-

There can be no food more locally produced, more sustainable or more environmentally friendly than a mother’s breastmilk, the only food required by an infant for the first six months of life. It is a naturally renewable resource, which requires no packaging or transport, results in no wastage and is free.”

Early findings from the Department of Health's National Infant Feeding Survey released last week have found a dramatic increase in breastfeeding across the UK. This is great news and I hope this relates to the improved education and support available from health professionals. As someone who breastfed, I know how tough the first month or so can be, even with the right assistance. After the initial period, breastfeeding can be incredibly rewarding and a special experience for mother and baby.

Last week the NHS and various charitable organisations (see links below) were promoting the use of 'mother's milk' or 'llaeth mam' in aid of Breastfeeding Awareness Week. I attended a Welsh National Assembly organised event which launched the National Breastfeeding Welcome Scheme. The scheme encourages local businesses and public buildings to provide a safe and welcoming place for breastfeeding mothers. I was keen to hear how the assembly had employed a PR firm to encourage public perception of breastfeeding in the media. However it has been left for mothers and health professionals themselves to approach establishments and ask them to participate in the scheme and display the welcome sticker (pictured). The scheme states that the mother should be able to breastfeed in all public areas and shouldn't be asked to move or stop feeding. The assembly wants to hear about mother's experiences of promoting the scheme. I would like to think that companies will take this on without the need for coercion!


Breastfeeding Links: Unicef UK Baby Friendly Initiative (Gill Rapley from Unicef has done some incredible research about baby-led weaning, which involves letting a baby eat family food from six months).
Breastfeeding Network
Baby Milk Action
La Leche League
Association of Breastfeeding Mothers
National Childbirth Trust

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