Thursday, July 15, 2010

Save the Planet: Nurse in Public

Why is it that every time nursing in public comes up, someone suggests the mom could easily pump and bottle feed as an alternative? I’d bet money that you could find a comment in every recent news story on the topic with this helpful hint.

Well, of course we could do that, but ask any breastfeeding advocate and she’ll give you a laundry list of reasons why this is less convenient and less healthy than just nursing baby. But have you ever stopped to consider that nursing in public is the greenest way to feed your baby on the go?

Let’s consider the process of pumping and bottle-feeding:

1. Wash and sterilize bottles and nipples.
2. Use electricity or battery power to pump milk.
3. Store milk in disposable bags.
4. Refrigerate or freeze the milk.
5. Use water and soap to wash pump pieces.
6. Optional: Sterilize parts by using microwave energy or boiling water.
7. Freeze ice pack to transport milk safely while out.
8. Use warm water to defrost or bring milk up to temp for consumption.
9. Put milk in bottle and throw away disposable bag.
10. Feed child.
11. Wash bottle and nipple using either a sink of heated water or dishwasher.

Compare that to:

1. Sit down or sling child.
2. Feed child.

Sure, a mom could plan ahead and expend all that extra energy to feed her child by bottle, but why would she, especially considering how much energy and resources it consumes? Feeding by bottle for a nursing mom wastes water, uses electricity, and creates waste.

Nursing in public isn’t only best for baby, it’s the best choice for our planet!


Jennifer Albin was on her way to a PhD in Literature and Women's Studies when she took a detour into motherhood.  Using her academic and teaching background, Jennifer advocates for breastfeeding, attachment parenting, and natural birth - all from the comfort of her living room with children at her feet.  She is the founder and editor of Connected Mom, a website that encourages natural mothering.


This is an excellent point that isn't often said. Nursing is the most Green thing you can do! More so even than cloth diapers (with all the washing). It is literally waste-free!

The natural way is always the greenest! I've almost stopped being surprised by the unthinking reactions of those opposed to NIP.

Comments like: "just pump and feed them a bottle" or "stay home until they're weaned" show such a profound ignorance that it's hard to know where to start.

And as with most ignorance, it is rarely looking for truth to fill it :-(


Very well said! I agree completely!

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