Most everyone knows that breast is best for babies because of building their immune systems, bonding, cost savings, PLUS it's great to help mom loose those pregnancy pounds. But here's something less people probably think about.
Breastfeeding is eco-friendly. Formula, both the use and the production, make a huge negative impact on the environment. You have to consider all the resources (animals, paper, inks, metals, crops, fuel, water, fertilizers, etc.) required to produce the formula. On top of that you have to remember that feeding a baby formula costs upward of 2000 per year. Not to mention the impact of fossil fuels from transporting the formula starting at the manufacturer all the way thru to the landfill. With breastfeeding, mom is right there and there are no additional resources wasted as a result plus its free.
And then there is the bigger humanitarian issue: a few years back Nestle aggressively marketed its formula's to 3rd world countries attempting to convince nursing mothers to switch to formula and as a result there are an estimated 15 deaths per year from mixing formula with contaminated water. I cant help but see the wrong on so many levels! Not only the fact that breast milk is best but also that it disgust me that a company would try to profit off of the poor when they should be able to use their money for basic needs...one that does not include formula.
Also, what's with the "goodie bags" at the hospital? I have no problem with the freebies, don't get me wrong, but when a mother says she is going to breastfeed her child WHY IN THE WORLD would you give them a cheap diaper bag full of formula? It seems quite oximoronical too that all of the literature states that breast milk is best while pushing their formulas.
Now, I want to end this by saying that I have nothing against those who choose formula or that have a need to use formula for whatever reason. Only, I want to encourage you to consider at least trying to breastfeed. Contact your local La Leche League for assistance and support. Take a class; even if your not a first time mom they can help give you tips and most importantly, support and encouragement. I have a 5 month old (my second child)that is breastfed and I credit my success to a course from All the Best of Columbia, SC that I took while pregnant.
Let go of the myths that it gives you sagging breasts or hurts...plus, and I speak from experience on this, pumping IS an option. I pumped for 13 months with my first born because she had trouble latching. It was that important to me. If you do find a need for formula, please consider the brand you choose to purchase. There are many wonderful organic brands out there that are healthier for baby and that are trying to make a lesser impact on the environment (Natures One, Earth's Best, Vermont Organics) and if these are not available near you Similac and Parent's Choice both have an organic option.
In the end, please encourage education on breastfeeding. Attempt to breastfeed. Don't forget the environmental impacts formula has. And if you still choose formula, think about the planet (and your baby) and go organic!