Infant And Young Child Feeding – Health And Environmental Impacts

IBFAN emphasises that breastfeeding is the norm: it is the gold standard and protects the health of all infants everywhere, especially during this vulnerable stage of early child development. Artificial feeding using breastmilk substitutes and feeding bottles and teats (nipples) is a deviation from this norm. It can involve serious health risks and extra precautions should be taken when preparing, storing and handling feeds and selecting feeding utensils.

IBFAN works to provide information to product users so that they can make informed decisions in infant feeding, and to inform parents and caregivers about potential risks in artificial feeding.

IBFAN does not provide individual advice and counselling about methods of artificial feeding, nor do we ever recommend products. Parents should ensure that they take impartial advice from health care providers who are independent of the baby food industry.

Climate Emergency – Green Feeding for Climate Action

Four advocacy documents were prepared for groups and policy makers in time for the World Health Assembly in May 2019, for the European elections, and for related events in Canada. They  aim to provide information about Green Feeding to encourage all actors in the movement for climate action, the public, students, politicians, and decision-makers, to include Green Feeding in their priorities and integrate Green Feeding into their policies.

Green Feeding means taking action from birth to safeguard the health of humans and the environment, indeed of all life on our planet, Mother Earth.

Green Feeding means promoting, protecting and supporting optimal breastfeeding.  Breastfeeding is a valuable natural resource that leaves almost no carbon or water footprints, needs no packaging and creates no air pollution from manufacturing and transport.

Green Feeding means  introducing, after six months of age, complementary fods that are safe and nutritious, and produced using local products and sustainable agriculture.

Yet breastfeeding and sustainably produced complementary foods are under threat from the aggressive marketing of formula and breastmilk substitutes and of commercial complementary foods. These industrial products are over-processed, over-packaged and over-promoted. They require energy and water to manufacture, materials for packaging, fuel for transport and water, fuel and cleaning agents for daily use. And they generate Greenhouse Gases such as carbon dioxide and methane.

The United Kingdom and Ireland officiallydeclared an environment and climate emergencyin May 2019, followed by Canada declaring a national climate emergency in June 2019.

We are no longer talking about global warming but instead about global heating. We no longer refer to climate change, but instead to the climate emergency and the urgency to take action.

The following advocacy documents are increasingly relevant :


The document Key Messages is also available in French : Green Feeding Messages Clés 2019at

  • The document, References and Resources provides details of the 75 publications consulted. The numbered citations in the  European and Canadian documents refer to these sources.:

Two more detailed documents examine the specific contexts in Europe and Canada. According to the situation in each country, different issues can be selected for priority attention. Many of these issues are valid for countries all over the world.

See also:

  • For Canada, the paper builds on the priorities of the federal Green party, and Green initiatives in Ontario.
  1. Importance of Breastfeeding
  2. Tragedies of Infant Formula and Sub-optimal Breastfeeding, M Q-K Talukder, Nazneen Akhter Banu, Khurshid Talukder
  3. Risks of contamination
    1. Contaminants in baby foods 
    2. Chemical contamination of infant feeding products 
  4. Environmental impacts
    1. Climate Action
    2. Chemical Residues in Every Body