Benefits of Breastfeeding and Climate Change

About breastfeeding

Breastfeeding has long been recognised as having lasting health benefits to both mothers and babies by reducing the risk of illnesses including diabetes, obesity and asthma. In both the short and long-term, breastfeeding reduces the risk of infant, child and adult diseases as well as having a positive effect upon infant and maternal mental health and wellbeing.


That’s why we want to support new mums in Leeds to feel confident and comfortable to start breastfeeding and continue for as long as they choose.

How does breastfeeding impact climate change?

As well as contributing to healthier mothers and babies, breastfeeding provides a safe and secure food source and contributes to a healthier planet. Breast milk is a free and safe naturally-renewable resource that requires no packaging, shipping, or disposal thus reducing waste and the overall impact on the environment.

As well as having a much lower carbon footprint, breastfeeding also saves significant amounts of water, energy and waste compared to formula milk. In the UK, it is estimated that boiling kettles to safely prepare formula milk uses the same energy as charging almost 200 million smartphones.


Most powdered formula milks are made from cow’s milk, a major source of greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. By supporting UK mums to breastfeed, research suggests that we could save as much carbon as taking 50,000 cars off the road.


How can I help with breastfeeding?

Just being positive about breastfeeding is really helpful. Be Breastfeeding Friendly – be supportive and encouraging about breastfeeding. Praising and encouraging a breastfeeding mum can help to build her confidence.


You could offer mum some practical support – make her a cup of tea, some food or pop to the shops for her. Let her know that help is available if she is finding breastfeeding challenging… And finally…

Share a picture of a breastfeeding friendly environment or a breastfeeding selfie during Leeds Baby Week 2021.

Support for breastfeeding mums

We want to make sure you are supported to breastfeed for as long as you want to. Find out what support is available for breastfeeding mums on our website.