Trying to decide which type of bottle you should be using to feed your baby? It’s been a topic of debate amongst parents for a while now, with many unsure which is actually better. At one time, baby bottles were simply made from glass – there were no alternatives. Now, there’s a range of plastic and glass varieties available, so how do you know which is better?
Here, you’ll discover everything you need to know about both plastic and glass bottles to help you make the best decision.
Plastic Vs Glass Bottles – The Pros And Cons
As with any type of product, there’s pros and cons associated with both plastic and glass baby bottles.
Glass bottles are sturdy, but they’re also heavy and potentially breakable. They’ve been used for decades, but they’re definitely not as popular now as they once were. This is largely because, compared to plastic, glass bottles just aren’t as convenient to carry around.
Plastic bottles, on the other hand, are lighter and won’t break easily. This makes them easier to take with you when you’re out and about. However, they do have one major potential problem – they can contain BPA.
Understanding The Dangers Of BPA
BPA (Bisphenol A), is a chemical that’s been widely used over the years to make polycarbonate plastic products harder and resistant to rust. It’s also good for keeping bacteria out of food, making it popular for use in the lining of food cans. It was also used for a long time in plastic baby bottles until it was discovered to be potentially unsafe for humans.
In 2009, six of the biggest baby bottle manufacturers stopped using BPA and in 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration banned the use of the chemical in all sippy cups and baby bottles. While there’s no real evidence BPA is damaging to humans, it has been shown to be harmful in animal studies.
The main concern is that BPA could be linked to certain types of cancer. It can also trigger early puberty and cause changes within the reproduction system, as well as the brain. So, does this mean you should avoid plastic bottles completely? The good news is, all plastic baby bottles manufactured today do not contain BPA. There’s also different types of plastic which don’t pose the same risks.
How Does BPA Get from The Bottle Into Baby’s Food?
If a baby bottle or sippy cup does contain BPA, the chemical can seep through into the liquid. Whilst only a small amount of BPA will typically seep through, it’s enough to cause potential problems for baby; especially as they have an underdeveloped immune system.
Generally speaking, the higher the temperature of the bottle, the more BPA will be released. So, if it’s placed in the microwave, for example, this would cause more BPA to seep out into the milk.
Is BPA The Only Chemical You Need To Worry About?
Health and environmental experts have recognized that BPA isn’t the only potentially harmful chemical which can be found in plastic products.
A study carried out in 2011 and published in the Environmental Health Perspectives, looked at 500 different plastic food-storing products. It discovered some products which were advertised as being BPA free, contained other chemicals which were potentially more harmful than BPA.
There’s anything from 5-30 different chemicals in a piece of plastic. So, when you take baby bottles, which have numerous different parts, there could be as many as 100 different chemicals. Most are considered safe, but when you’re a parent, it can be shocking to discover your baby could be exposed to any type of chemicals when you feed them.
Choosing The Best Baby Bottle For Your Little One
As newer plastic baby bottles are safe from BPA, there’s no need for parents to avoid plastic bottles altogether. However, caution should still be followed when it comes to choosing the best bottle to feed your little one.
If you do want the lightweight convenience of plastic, there’s certain types considered to be safer than others. Polypropylene plastic bottles aren’t linked to issues with BPA for example, so bottles made from this material would be a better option than the polycarbonate bottles. You can see which type of plastic the bottle is made from by reading the label. Different types of plastic are represented by different numbers. The potentially harmful polycarbonate baby bottles will typically have #7 or PC on their label.
Glass bottles are also worth considering. While they are a little heavier, modern variations are more lightweight than they used to be. They provide you with total peace of mind, as no glass baby bottles have ever contained BPA and there’s no risk of chemical exposure. If you’re worried they might break, there are silicone sleeves available which fit over glass baby bottles.
When making your final decision on which baby bottle you should invest in, don’t forget to take into account your own preferences too. A couple of tips to help you ensure the bottle is good for you and baby to include:
- Choose one with as few parts as possible
- Pay attention to the nipple
The more parts a bottle has, the more difficult it’s going to be to clean. It also makes it more difficult to use, which isn’t something you want. However, sadly a lot of the better bottles do have a lot of parts and that’s because they’re designed with internal vents to prevent babies from developing colic. So, a good idea would be to start out with a non-vented bottle with few parts, then upgrade once you’ve got the hang of how to use it.
You’ll also want to pay attention to the nipple of the bottle. They actually come in a wide range of shapes and sizes. You’ll find some bottles feature either a latex or silicone nipple. The latex varieties do tend to be a little cheaper, but they also break down a lot easier. So, it’s worth investing a little more into the silicone varieties.
Overall, newer plastic bottles are typically safer than older varieties. However, if you want a complete piece of mind, glass bottles are considered the safest option when it comes to potentially harmful chemicals. Although, as long as you choose to buy from a reliable supplier and avoid polycarbonate bottles, you won’t need to worry about the dangers of BPA.