Eight Ways Breastfeeding Supports Sustainable Development

August 03, 2016

If you've dined out at some of the region's best restaurants lately, you may have noticed many of them offer sustainable and locally sourced menu items, whenever possible. These restaurants support the local agriculture, ensure you're getting the freshest and healthiest products, and overall help lower their environmental impact.

If you’re a new or expecting parent, you don't have to wait until your child is past the chicken-nuggets-and-pizza-only stage to introduce him to this latest trend.  It can start the minute your child is born when you choose to breastfeed*.

This week is World Breastfeeding Week, and this year the campaign is focused on informing people about the Sustainable Development Goals set forth by the United Nations at a summit in 2015, and how these goals relate to breastfeeding. These goals are aimed at ending poverty, fighting inequality and injustice, and tackling climate change by 2030. Breastfeeding plays a crucial role in achievement of these goals.

(From www.worldbreastfeedingweek.org)


  1. No Poverty. Breastfeeding is a natural and low-cost way of feeding babies and children. It is affordable for everyone and does not burden household budgets, compared to artificial feeding. Breastfeeding contributes to poverty reduction. 
  2. Zero Hunger. Exclusive breastfeeding and continued breastfeeding for two years and beyond provide high quality nutrients and adequate energy and can help prevent hunger, malnutrition and obesity. Breastfeeding also means food security for infants. 
  3. Good Health and Wellbeing. Breastfeeding significantly improves the health, development and survival of infants and children. It also contributes to improved health and wellbeing of mothers, both in the short and long term. 
  4. Quality Education. Breastfeeding and adequate complementary feeding are fundamentals for readiness to learn. Breastfeeding and good quality complementary foods significantly contribute to mental and cognitive development and thus promote learning. 
  5. Clean Water and Sanitation. Breastfeeding on demand provides all the water a baby needs, even in hot weather. On the other hand, formula feeding requires access to clean water, hygiene and sanitation. 
  6. Affordable and Clean Energy. Breastfeeding entails less energy when compared to formula production industries. It also reduces the need for water, firewood and fossil fuels in the home. 
  7. Responsible Consumption and Production. Breastfeeding provides a healthy, viable, non-polluting, non-resource intensive, sustainable and natural source of nutrition and sustenance. 
  8. Decent Work and Economic Growth. Breastfeeding women who are supported by their employers are more productive and loyal. Maternity protection and other workplace policies can enable women to combine breastfeeding and their other work or employment. Decent jobs should cater to the needs of breastfeeding women, especially. 


To learn more about World Breastfeeding Week, visit www.worldbreastfeedingweek.org

*At Shore Medical Center, we believe breast milk is the optimal mode of nutrition for our babies. However, we fully support the feeding preferences of all new mothers. To learn more, visit http://shoremedicalcenter.org/centers/maternity_pediatrics/care_center/resources.