Kindle for Breastfeeding Mothers: Is it Green?

Anyone own a Kindle? This wireless reading device costs over $350, but at 10.2 ounces, it weighs less than a paperback book-and weighs much less than the 1,500 books you can store on it. Some claim that a Kindle is cheaper than buying books. As a library devotee, there’s just no way this device would ever pay for itself in my situation. However, the Kindle intrigues me for two reasons: 1. I’ve heard it’s perfect for breastfeeding mothers because it can be held with one hand. Turn the page with just a flick of a button. 2. I’ve read arguments that a Kindle is greener than plain old paper books.

I read a lot while nursing in Audrey’s first few months and don’t remember having any problems turning the pages of regular books. A breastfeeding pillow or even a regular pillow allow for a “hands-free” nursing experience. So I can’t comment on how superior a Kindle would be in this situation.

The green argument got me thinking. Is a battery-operated gizmo eco-friendlier than its paper counterpart? Let’s say someone buys fifty books a year and keeps them all. After ten years, this person has five hundred books, which amounts to reams of paper and a few bookshelves–not to mention floor space. The Kindle could save paper, but does use up energy. Also, I’m not sure of its lifespan, but eventually it will break and need to be tossed or recycled. Real books, on the other hand, can be handed down or sold for years. At the end of their lives, books can be recycled–and they’re biodegradable!

So what do you think? Is a Kindle the newest green gadget for new mothers? Or will you stick to old-fashioned books?


  1. I really really want a kindle, but I don’t think it is a greener or cheaper. I am also a library user and a used book buyer. It is so easy to buy used and trade in what you don’t want that I can’t imagine a kindle being an eco-friendly choice…for me anyways.

    If I bought new hardcovers all the time, it would be a different story.

  2. definitely keeping with old fashioned paper books. there’s just something about the smell and texture that brings you in more than a small screen, no matter how nifty it is.

  3. I just got a Kindle about 1 month ago. I love it and it is handy for reading while brestfeeding. I don’t know that it is greener than books although I do have a ton of space devoted to books in my house. It is handy to be able to read more than 1 book at a time with 1 device and with the wireless off it can go about 2 week between charges (depending on how much you read). You can get a lot of older books on it for free or next to nothing. ($.99). The bestsellers are usually 9.99 so if you like the latest books they are cheaper and I hate holding hardbacks, so that is another plus. It’s hard to nurse while holding a hardback. The page turn buttons are handy with one hand (on either side). You’d have to read a lot of books for it to be the green/economical choice. It’s really more about the cool factor and also the ability to get new books without leaving. It really does download new books quickly. Also it is handy for travel so you don’t have to carry as many books along. Given the electronics/battery inside it is probably not so good for recycling.

  4. I don’t need something to make breastfeeding easier as my baby feeding days are over now, however, I love books and I really can’t imagine replacing them with a screen. There is something so tactile about them that would be lost with a white electronic gadget. I buy most of my books secondhand and pass on what I don’t want to keep to family or charity or if its something popular I will sell it on so nothing goes to waste and they all find their way to new homes. Nothing will convince me to give up my books and if I’m going to pay for a book I want to actually hold the real thing in my hand.

  5. i think if you have an iphone anyway and can get the kindle for iphone application then you’re good to go. if you’re actually buying the kindle device though you have to plan to read a lot of books on it (paperbacks are way more reusable and recyclable than consumer electronics) and each book for it is expensive (no library books).

  6. I’m a fan of getting back to the basics. The good ol’ days, when people had smaller carbon footprints. They didn’t have Kindles back then, they had regular old books.
    This is the era of the machine, and everything is becoming more impersonal, and coincidentally, this is the era of waste, too. It’s quite the coincidence (or is it?), and I don’t think the Kindle is going to get us to a more self-sufficient, eco-friendly lifestyle, so I’ll be sticking with my used paperbacks.
    It’s great in theory, though! 🙂

  7. I love the Kindle for iPhone application, but I’ve only bought one book for it. Like some of the other commenters, I adore the feel of real books.

  8. Ebooks are definitely greener. It’s much more than saving trees. Returns from the bookstores – most – never even reaching the shelves – fill up landfills – with ebooks that’s not the case. Also with ebooks you don’t have transportation or the pollution involved with mass produced paperback or hardback books. If you want to stay with print but be greener – pod (print on demand) books are much greener than mass production books for the same reasons I stated above.

  9. VeggieMomma says

    My question is whether or not it is so healthy for our eyes to be staring at any more screens all day. There are so many lit screens and it is known that staring at computers too long is hard on your eyes. Although I’d like to have one of these for trips where I don’t want to bring a lot of books with me, but I’d much rather hold a book in my hands and feel the paper pages, then have this. I would think used books would be greener in the end then having another piece of machinery that will need to be recycled eventually.

  10. I agree that it’s not necessarily greener. I think a lot of libraries allow downloads of e-books but not necessarily for the kindle format.

    I think that using your library and sharing books with friends is probably greener. I don’t know. There is something about the lack of permanence of the digital format that makes me wonder if a whole generation’s worth of history might be lost if it is all digital. What will the archaeologists a thousand years from now be able to do with it? I guess that shouldnt’ be a concern, but there is something weird about no hardcopies.

  11. I’d buy one if the price ever dropped to around $200, but otherwise I definitely prefer the real thing.

  12. I read the last installment of Harry Potter while nursing my son. I thought the huge tome would surely crush him!

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