The Dangers of Plastic Baby Bottles & Why Sterling Silver is the Best Choice
We’ve all heard the expression “to be born with a silver spoon in your mouth” as a way of referring to the upper classes (particularly in Britain) … But are there benefits to sterling silver baby gifts that go beyond the class divide?
These days, the idea of feeding anyone, much less a baby, with a silver spoon sounds like a very extravagant choice. However, the natural antimicrobial and antibacterial properties of this metal make it an excellent option for ensuring your baby is as safe and cared for as possible. In fact, sterling silver utensils are perfect for babies and don’t even need to be sterilized like plastic bottles or utensils.
What’s more, despite being a popular choice, there are all sorts of risks associated with plastic baby bottles that you might not be aware of. When we make every effort to ensure everything we buy our little ones is chemical and danger-free, why take the risk when it comes to feeding time?
In this article, we’re going to look at the risks associated with plastic baby bottles, so you can make an informed choice on what’s best for your little one.
The dangers of plastic baby bottles
Plastic baby bottles are everywhere. And yes, there’s a good reason for this! The lightweight material is easy for tiny fingers to grasp, and the durability of plastic means you don’t need to worry about replacing it every time a baby (or sleepy parents) drops it.
Plus, plastic baby bottles are cheap! All parents know how expensive raising a child is, so a cheap and convenient option for feeding is appealing!
But while plastic certainly has its positive points, there are downsides to using this cheap material, particularly when it comes to food preparation… For you and your baby.
BPA vs polypropylene
All over the world, baby product safety is taken incredibly seriously, and you’ve probably noticed the number of plastic products that are now labeled BPA-free.
For those who don’t know, BPA is a type of chemical used to harden plastic. It was banned in 2011/2012 as evidence arose that BPAs can affect puberty, fertility, body fat, and the nervous and immune systems.
These days, you’re unlikely to find any BPA products for sale (unless you’re shopping very second-hand). Instead, manufacturers tend to use plastic polypropylene for baby bottles, sippy cups, and a whole range of other plastic products.
Although fewer studies on the health effects of polypropylene have been undertaken, those that have found this plastic sheds millions of microscopic plastic particles during its “life.” This is particularly important when using plastic to contain liquid or food, as the microplastics will leach into the liquid/food… Meaning baby formula in a polypropylene bottle is going to be filled with microplastics your baby will be drinking!
This gets worse when you warm or shake the liquid/plastic bottle. Frustratingly, warming and shaking a bottle is essential for preparing almost all baby formulas.
If you’re worried about using an old baby bottle containing BPAs, look for the number “7” in a triangle on the base. If you spot this label, dispose of the bottle immediately… But don’t panic! Some experts suggest your baby would need to drink more than 4x the usual number of bottles before they consumed a harmful amount of BPA. So, chances are, your little one will be safe.
These days, we’re all well aware of the effect our overreliance on plastic is having on the environment. And baby bottles aren’t an exception to this! Even if your baby bottle has been made with “responsible” plastics, they are still a nightmare for the planet.
Microplastics and toxic chemicals in plastic don’t just leach into our food/drinks. They can also shed into the environment around us… Particularly into water streams and soil. This can cause huge problems for our natural world and the animals we share it with.
If an animal eats microplastic, these particles can block the gastrointestinal tracts or trick the animal into thinking it doesn’t need to eat… Leading to starvation. Toxic chemicals in plastic can also expose animals and even plants to high concentrations of toxins that they can’t deal with.
All of this is clearly bad news for the planet… And we’ve not even talked about the general problem of landfills, or the toxins released by burning plastics!
Types of plastic chemicals in baby products
Although the famously toxic component of plastic – BPA – is now banned, there are other aspects of plastic and chemicals in baby products that are worthy of concern:
These chemicals serve to soften plastic to make items flexible, durable, and/or transparent. However, because they’re not tightly bound to other plastic molecules, they often “migrate” and make their way into our bodies. Like BPAs and other chemicals in baby products, phthalates have been linked to reproductive malformations, reduced fertility, developmental disorders, asthma, and increased allergic reactions. There’s also evidence to suggest phthalates can affect brain development in babies.
You might be unlikely to think of PVC as a child-friendly material, but you can find them in a wide range of products from toys to clothing and even perfumes! PVCs are concerning as they release toxic chemicals including dioxins, phthalates, ethylene dichloride, vinyl chloride, cadmium, lead, and others into whatever is being stored in the PVC container.
Vinyl is made from the same materials as PVC, with the addition of phthalates to soften it. You’ll often find vinyl plastics in crib mattress covers, bibs, baby bottles, and other waterproof items. Chemicals released by vinyl have been linked to birth defects, cancer, and other serious chronic diseases. There’s also no safe way to manufacture, use, or dispose of vinyl.
If microplastics aren’t enough to be concerned about, plastic baby products like bottles and sippy cups can also be difficult to clean.
Although plastic products are difficult to break, they are relatively easy to scratch. These dips and scratches become spaces bacteria can grow and are incredibly difficult to clean thoroughly.
Because scratches allow bacteria to breed without being properly cleaned out, they can also cause smells to build up. Plastic is notorious for absorbing odors anyway, let alone with extra bacteria to worry about!
This means that in order to keep plastic baby bottles clean, you’ll need to sanitize and deodorize your baby bottles more frequently. But this comes with risks, too! Plastic will melt if you heat it too high. Plus, high temperatures make leaching microplastics even more of a problem.
Sterling silver: a healthy solution
Today, many responsible parents are steering away from plastics for feeding children and babies, and are looking for more environmentally-friendly, long-lasting, and healthier options for preparing baby’s food. Glass is a common alternative, but this also comes with risks and the heavier weight makes it more likely for babies or young children to drop and break the container.
One option for baby products is silver. Although this traditional material has been used for centuries for christening gifts, silver has become less used in recent years. However, silver gifts for babies are more than a status symbol. In many ways, silver is the best option for feeding young children for so many reasons:
1. No need for sterilization
Silver doesn’t need to be sterilized in the same way plastic or glass baby products do. This is because silver is naturally antimicrobial and antibacterial… Meaning it kills bacteria, fungi, and multiple viruses.
In fact, silver has a long history of use in medical and personal care and can even be used to sterilize water. Many water purifiers still use silver to this day because of its cleaning properties!
If you do want to sterilize silver baby products, all it takes is some hot water. Simply place your silver baby gifts into a bowl of hot water and let them soak for a few minutes. Dry them off, and you’re good to go!
2. Quick to warm up
Silver is also a fantastic conductor of electricity. This means that the contents of a silver baby bottle can be warmed up in moments, instead of the 7-10 minutes it generally takes to heat the contents of a plastic baby bottle.
Not only does this mean your little one can get fed more quickly, but it also allows grown-ups to exercise more control over the temperature of the food/milk, as you can heat the bottle in tiny increments until it’s just right.
3. No worrying about plastic leaching into food
Obviously, one of the biggest concerns when it comes to plastic baby bottles is the harm microplastics can cause when they’re ingested. With silver baby gifts, baby product safety is guaranteed, as there’s no chance of this!
With our sterling silver baby bottles, plastic never meets the contents of the bottle, so there’s no fear of your baby injecting harmful chemicals or toxic ingredients. Heat or shake the bottle to your heart’s content!
4. Silver Christening gifts are a tradition worth continuing
Finally, there’s been a long-standing tradition of giving silver christening gifts. Not only does silver offer a range of health benefits, but it also makes for a beautiful christening gift for any child.
Silver gifts are always well appreciated. They’re stunning items and last a lifetime with minimal care. In fact, many silver gifts become heirlooms over time, and plenty of families pass silver baby gifts down through the generations.
What could be a better way of welcoming a newborn into the world than with a beautiful gift that will last a lifetime and can actually benefit the baby while it’s small? Many traditions seem silly after a time, but silver christening gifts are worth continuing. Yes, for the beauty, but also for the antibacterial properties that will keep your baby safe for years to come. Silver has grown up to 500% in the last 20 years and up to 73% in the last 5 years (silverprice.org). It will be a great investment as your child grows.
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