The theme for World Breastfeeding Week 2020 (WBW2020) was “Support Breastfeeding For A Healthier Planet”, and it highlighted the need for individuals, communities, government leaders and policymakers to make breastfeeding a priority and credible way of combating climate change.
Breastfeeding in itself creates zero waste and zero carbon and water footprint if one doesn’t consider what a mother consumes as part of a healthy diet, and even then, the carbon and water footprint is negligible.
However, the carbon footprint, energy and water waste created in the production of breastmilk substitutes such as powdered infant formula (PIF) is significant and cause for concern. According to a study in 2019, producing 1kg of powdered infant formula creates 11-14kgs carbon dioxide equivalent of greenhouse gases and 4,700 litres of water. Therefore, the more investment made in supporting breastfeeding, the less unnecessary use there will be for powdered infant formula.
If families receive adequate information and access to skilled breastfeeding counselling during pregnancy and after birth, then PIFs will only be used as and when required rather than as an equivalent alternative to breastmilk, which they are not. The reduction in the use of PIFs would, in turn, lead to a decrease in their production and thus a reduction in the carbon footprint, energy and water waste directly related to their manufacture, distribution and use.
On August 1st 2020, the beginning of #WBW2020, the Career Mothers For Exclusively Breastfeeding (CAMFEB) organisation hosted a webinar to discuss how to best support breastfeeding in Kenya, to meet the goals of this year’s theme.
Here is a recording of the discussion and the insights that the panelist shared.
#TheKenyaBigLatchOn #SupportBreastfeedingForAHealthierPlanet #BreastfeedingTakesAVillage #CAMFEB #KAB