Thirty to forty years ago, the only baby bottles available to parents were the ones made of glass, which were not only heavy, but also breakable. Years later, through technology and innovation came bottles that were made of plastic, which offered the benefits of being both lighter and unbreakable, making the glass baby bottle a thing of the past. Plastic baby bottles were created long before it was discovered that a certain type of plastic used in baby bottles can actually harm a developing baby. This news sparked the debate of which bottle is safer for babies, glass or plastic. So what is the best choice for parents looking for safe baby bottles? The following information regarding both glass and plastic baby bottles is intended to assist you in deciding for yourself which type of bottle is best for your baby.
Glass Baby Bottles:
· Glass baby bottles are sturdy and are now available with silicon sleeves that protect against breakage when dropped.
· Glass bottles don’t contain harmful chemicals that might end up in the baby’s formula.
· Glass bottles are heavy and somewhat more awkward than plastic ones.
· Glass bottles present the hazard of being dropped and having shattered glass on the floor to clean up.
Plastic Baby Bottles:
· Lighter weight makes plastic bottles easier to handle.
· Plastic bottles will not shatter when dropped like some glass baby bottles.
· The FDA has issued statements that it believes the amounts of BPA (bisphenol A) that ends up in food or bottles made from plastic containing are too low to cause any real health effects in humans.
· Some plastic bottles are made from plastics that contain bisphenol A (BPA), which has been linked to increased risk of various forms of cancer in lab rats that were exposed to the chemical.
· Plastic bottles made of polycarbonate are the ones that contain BPA, and can cause BPA to leak into the contents of the baby bottles (something you don’t want your baby drinking).
· The FDA continues to investigate the issues surrounding BPA containing plastic food and drink containers and the associated risks, which for now still remains unresolved.
Choosing a Bottle for Your Baby
There are basically three different types of bottles for baby: glass, plastic, and plastic with plastic with plastic liners. Although there hasn’t been entirely conclusive evidence regarding the risks of BPA, if you wish to avoid exposing your baby to BPA, you should avoid buying plastic food/drink containers that display the either the #7 recycling symbol or the “PC” symbol on the bottom. These logos are general indicators that the item is likely to contain BPA, but not definite proof. Many plastic bottles will clearly state that their product does not contain BPA.
Even if you would like to continue using plastic bottles, you can still use ones that are made of non-polycarbonate plastics, which don’t contain BPA. Some examples of non-polycarbonate plastics are polyethylene (#1, #2, or #4 recycling symbols) or polypropylene (#5 recycling symbol). When your child is ready to use a sippy cup, there are non-polycarbonate plastics versions available.
Another option for ensuring that your baby isn’t exposed to BPA is using plastic baby bottles with disposable liners that don’t contain BPA, which will clearly say BPA-free on the label. This option does carry a higher cost due to the liners needing to be swapped out after each feeding.
If you decide that you do want to give glass baby bottles a try, but are worried about breakage and safety, there are silicon sleeves that are available that can be slipped over glass bottles to prevent breakage if the bottle is dropped.
Cleaning and Maintaining Your Baby’s Bottle
You can reduce the risk of exposing your child to BPA by following these precautions:
- Don’t store breast milk or formula in plastic baby bottles. Place breast milk and formulas into bottles just before feeding and be sure to throw out any unused portion.
- Avoid exposing plastic bottles to heat and wear. Both heat and excessive wear degrade the plastic containing BPA and can increase the speed of the BPA leaking from a plastic bottle.
- Be sure to throw out polycarbonate bottles that show signs of wear such as cracks, chips, or scratches.
- Only use warm water and gentle cleansers on polycarbonate bottles and be sure not to use hot water or harsh cleansers which can cause the plastic to breakdown and release BPA.
- BPA can also be found in the lining of formula cans, so opting for powdered formulas will allow you to reduce the levels of BPA present in the formula.