BPA stands for Bisphenol A, a chemical compound used to make poly-carbonate plastic products. BPA is also found in certain pipes, inside many food and beverage cans (including infant formula) and in thermal paper which is used for sales receipts. BPA is an estrogen mimicker, which has been linked in studies to various types of cancer, birth defects and reproductive problems. The body makes its own estrogen and uses it for everything, including bone development, ovulation in women, body temperature regulation and heart function. When there is too much estrogen present, especially in fetuses and small children, this can change brain and organ development. This can change who your children are supposed to be. It can cause disease and other disorders.
BPA has been a hot topic in the news over the past two or three years and thus has been studied extensively. A study which took place in California in 2013 found BPA present in the umbilical cord blood of 100% if the 85 women who participated in the study. 35% of those samples had BPA levels higher than the threshold levels which caused behavior and neurological problems in animal studies. These findings suggest “universal fetal exposure”, as the study states.
And this is even before the baby is born. Frightening.
In July of 2012, the United States Food and Drug Administration banned BPA from baby bottles and sippy cups. Nearly every children’s plastic product is now labeled with “BPA Free” and many parents won’t purchase a product without that label. But what about the plastics they are using instead of BPA?
Common replacements to BPA containing plastics include acrylic, polyester and tritan. Studies are now showing that these products leach high levels of estrogen-mimicking chemicals, similar to or even worse than BPA. Although many of the samples needed to be heated before the chemicals were released, some had levels present without any exposure to heat or UV rays. This means that the heated up plastic bottles and sippy cups your kids are drinking from are leaching hormone disrupting chemicals into your children’s developing bodies.
I am having a Susan Powter “Stop the insanity!” moment.
Ok, I’m back.
My son was born with Posterior Urethral Valves, which I was told by my doctors was just a fluke. In my opinion, nature is perfect and we are not designed to produce babies with flaws that nearly kill them. While I never found an exact cause as to why he was born with that condition (it was probably a combination of several things rather than just one) I found that estrogen mimickers can cause deformities in fetuses, particularly in the reproductive organs. This is what led me to purchase glass baby bottles for my second child.
After doing a lot of research on what type of bottle is the safest, I found that uncoated glass was the only option which would not leach anything into the milk. Even stainless steel can leach nickel and chromium into food or drinks. Glass is the only material I felt comfortable heating for my son. I chose these Dr. Brown bottles. The inner valves are plastic, however they are made of BPA-free polypropylene (a polymer) which is 30% glass fiber and has a high heat resistance. I was happy to see the results of this study showed that the polymers tested had no leaching of synthetic estrogen. Dr. Brown’s bottles are famous for preventing colic by reducing the amount of air the baby will swallow and so we felt this brand was the best for our baby.
We bought six of the 8 ounce bottles and four of the 4 ounce bottles, which has worked out well. I broke two of the smaller ones – one by knocking it over when it was hooked up to my pump and another by dipping it into scalding water (instead of pouring the water on top of the bottle, more on that in a minute). My son broke one of the larger ones by knocking it on the floor from his high chair when it had no slip cover on it. (Brilliant idea on my part.)
Here are some tips so that you can learn from my mistakes and feel more comfortable about the idea of glass bottles.
- Never dip the bottle into hot water, instead put the bottle in a bowl or large mug and pour the hot water near the top of the glass and down the side of the bottle. It will crack if you dip it into hot water, but I have never had one crack pouring the water onto the bottle. We use our electric tea kettle to do this. It takes just a minute or two to heat up, its quick and easy!
- Buy the silicone covers. You will need them once baby begins to hold the bottle himself/ herself! My son has dropped the bottle a million times and when the cover is on it has been fine. We bought two for the eight ounce bottles and it has worked just fine.
- Washing them is really annoying! We don’t have a dishwasher. Make sure you use a good bottle brush which can fit inside the bottle easily, like this one. The Dr. Brown’s bottle brush fell apart right away so I always stuck with the Munchkin brand. Also make sure you use a lot of soap to get any grease from the milk fat off the nipple. Otherwise they will be cloudy. Gross!
There are countless toxins and chemicals that our children are exposed to everyday. Anytime I can reduce those exposures by making a simple decision, I will always do it. The glass bottles have served us well, and I hope they will for you as well!
Did you have a favorite brand of baby bottle? Please share in the comments below!